Unawatuna in Sri Lanka is one of the most famous areas in the country. It’s very common that tourists want to spend their vacation in the south of Sri Lanka since it offers the country’s most beautiful beaches. The palm lined beaches, turquoise water with lots of sea turtles, snorkeling and surfing, yoga in the jungle and a good selection of guesthouses and beach shacks is what made us fall in love with Unawatuna.
We stayed in Unawatuna for 9 days which we thought were perfect because then we had time to see everything we wanted since there’s so much activities and things to see nearby. The town is a perfect stay for at least a week in my opinion. Here’s some of the things I really enjoyed in and near the area of Unawatuna!
Surfing at Weligama Beach
Surfing is something you’re able to do anywhere in the south. The south has great beaches for surfing, for example Unawatuna, Dalawella or Weligama beach. I surfed at Weligama beach which is a very good beach for surfing. The whole town of Weligama is famous for its many many surf schools and good waves.
Which was very noticable, you do understand that you’re in Weligama when 99% of the signs on both sides of the road are titled “Surf School”. Literally everyone, from beginners to more skilled surfers enjoy surfing here so either way I really recommend this beach if you’re planning to surf while being in Sri Lanka. We had a super fun day in Weligama nearly surfing for two hours.
Yoga in the jungle at Sri Yoga Shala
We lived around a 10 minutes walk from a popular Yoga retreat with the name Sri Yoga Shala. It is located in the middle of the jungle and also offers accommodation for those who are truly interested in yoga and want to spend their days in the whole essence of yoga.
At 7.30 every morning people gather outside of the Shala (the place where you practice yoga) to attend the morning flow class. The smell of incense and the sound of the jungle in the background is what makes this class such a harmonic start of the day. Monkeys where jumping in the trees just outside and my whole body felt woken up and filled with energy for the day once we had finished our meditation and chamomile tea.
Visiting turtle hatcheries
There’s at least 3 turtle hatcheries in Unawatuna. We visited one of them and got a bit of a tour from their guide. He told us about the different turtle species and about the turtles they had there. The hatcheries you’ll find in Sri Lanka are caring and only doing what’s truly best for the turtles. When locals find a injured one they bring them to the hatcheries and the staff later provide with medicine and give them time to rest before releasing them back to the ocean. They only release them when being certain that the turtles are ready to survive on their own. I’m thinking of doing a separate post all about the hatcheries and when we released baby turtles to the sea. Stay tuned for that one!
The level of cuteness here!! <33 Baby turtles must be the most adorable creature on earth.
Relaxing at Wijaya beach
Wijaya beach was the first proper beach we went to after arriving in Sri Lanka, if you don’t count with the one in Negombo where we wasn’t allowed to swim.
We spent our very first day in Unawatuna at Wijaya beach which is a smaller beach just besides Dalawella beach with the famous palm tree swing. At Wijaya there’s good views, vibes and pizzas. And if your lucky they’ll have a small market with jewelry, bikinis and beach bags. At our first day we swam with approximately 10 sea turtles!! They are so close to the beach and since the water is super clear, you won’t even need a snorkel.
Wijaya beach is beautiful and pretty famous, you might have seen similar photos of this rock and the bent palm tree..?
Support locals and their business
There’s lots of different fun activities that you’ll easily find on Airbnb or TripAdvisor. At least in this area lots of locals start their own type of business with fun activities for mostly tourists.
We went home to a family where the oldest brother was super talented in woodcarving and made a lot of wood elephants. We paid for watching him make elephants for us and then we went inside with our wood elephants and painted them. While the paint was drying we went on a walk and the family introduced us to a couple of their neighbors who were also doing a lot of woodcarving.
I found it very interesting to come closer to the locals daily life and especially to get some perspective. I always find it important to connect with people, in that way you won’t only be a tourist but a traveler with stories to tell. And you’ll always learn so much from having conversations with people who live a very different life compared to yourself. Next time you travel, have a goal to speak to some local people. It nearly always makes them smile when they realize that you’re interested in them and you’ll maybe even end up making some really great friends, who knows?
(I of course asked for permission to photograph the people in the pictures)
I hoped you enjoyed reading about the things I did while staying in Unawatuna. If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, don’t miss out on this part of the country. You won’t regret visiting!