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how to spend a day in unawatuna, sri lanka

spend a day in unawatuna sri lanka beach sand ocean

Unawatuna, a small beach town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, is a hidden gem for travelers seeking sun, sand, and adventure.

With its stunning beaches, vibrant marine life, and rich cultural history, Unawatuna offers something for everyone.

In this guide, I’ll share the best ways to spend a day in this tropical paradise.

Table of Contents

morning: sunrise and yoga on the beach

morning: sunrise and yoga on the beach

Start your day early by catching the breathtaking sunrise on Unawatuna Beach. The golden sands and gentle waves provide the perfect setting to watch the sun emerge from the horizon. After taking in the view, join a morning yoga class offered by several local yoga studios or hotels.

Practicing yoga by the beach will leave you feeling refreshed and energized for the day ahead.

breakfast: local delights and fresh fruit

breakfast: local delights and fresh fruit

For breakfast, indulge in the mouth-watering Sri Lankan cuisine. Some popular dishes include egg hoppers (bowl-shaped pancakes made with fermented rice flour and coconut milk, topped with an egg), pol roti (coconut flatbread), and fresh fruit.

Many local restaurants and hotels serve traditional Sri Lankan breakfasts, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

mid-morning: explore the jungle beach

mid-morning: explore the jungle beach

After breakfast, head to Jungle Beach, a secluded cove surrounded by lush greenery. The beach is accessible via a short hike through the jungle, making it a mini-adventure in itself.

Once there, you can relax on the golden sands, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or explore the vibrant marine life through snorkeling. Make sure to pack your snorkel gear and sunscreen!

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lunch: fresh seafood by the beach

lunch: fresh seafood by the beach

Unawatuna is known for its fresh seafood, so it’s only fitting to enjoy a delicious seafood lunch by the beach. Local restaurants offer a variety of seafood dishes, from grilled fish to succulent prawns and spicy crab curry.

Pair your meal with a refreshing coconut or a cold drink for the perfect beachside dining experience.

afternoon: visit the galle fort

afternoon: visit the galle fort

In the afternoon, take a short trip to the nearby Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This historic fort, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later fortified by the Dutch, offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding town.

Spend a few hours exploring the fort’s narrow streets, charming shops, and ancient architecture.

evening: relax and unwind

evening: relax and unwind

As the day comes to an end, head back to Unawatuna Beach to unwind. Treat yourself to a relaxing Ayurvedic massage offered by several local spas.

These traditional treatments use natural herbs and oils to soothe tired muscles and rejuvenate the mind and body.

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dinner: taste the flavors of sri lanka

dinner: taste the flavors of sri lanka

For dinner, explore more of the delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. Try popular dishes like kottu roti (chopped flatbread stir-fried with vegetables and meat), rice and curry, or lamprais (rice and curry wrapped in a banana leaf).

Many restaurants also offer vegetarian and vegan options, making it easy to find a meal that suits your preferences.

night: experience unawatuna’s nightlife

night: experience unawatuna’s nightlife

Round off your day in Unawatuna with a taste of its vibrant nightlife. The beach comes alive at night with lively bars and beach parties.

Grab a drink, dance to the music, and mingle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

check out these alternative options

check out these alternative options

Visit the Peace Pagoda

Add a touch of tranquility to your day by visiting the Japanese Peace Pagoda, located on Rumassala Hill. This serene white stupa offers a quiet space for reflection, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning ocean views.

The short hike to the pagoda is worth the effort, as you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Unawatuna and Galle.

Discover Local Wildlife at Koggala Sea Turtle Hatchery

Take a trip to the nearby Koggala Sea Turtle Hatchery to learn about Sri Lanka’s efforts to conserve its sea turtle population. The hatchery rescues injured turtles and protects their eggs, releasing the hatchlings back into the ocean once they’re strong enough.

Visitors can get up close with these beautiful creatures and even help release baby turtles into the sea, creating a truly memorable experience.

Embark on a River Safari

Experience the beauty of Sri Lanka’s inland waterways with a river safari along the Madu River, located just a short drive from Unawatuna. The boat tour will take you through lush mangroves and past small islands, offering glimpses of local wildlife such as monitor lizards, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species.

Some tours also include a visit to a cinnamon plantation, where you can learn about traditional cinnamon harvesting techniques.

Go Whale and Dolphin Watching

Sri Lanka’s southern coast is a prime location for whale and dolphin watching. Book a tour with a reputable operator and head out into the ocean for a chance to spot blue whales, sperm whales, and several dolphin species.

The best time for whale watching in this region is between November and April, so plan your visit accordingly.

And don’t forget your motion sickness meds if you’re prone to getting queasy on boats!

heading to unawatuna soon?

heading to unawatuna soon?

Unawatuna offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences for travelers seeking a memorable getaway.

From exploring hidden beaches and historic forts to savoring delicious Sri Lankan cuisine and connecting with local wildlife, there’s no shortage of activities to fill your day in this enchanting coastal town.

Happy travels!

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