Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a magical place of ancient Buddhist monuments, gorgeous beaches, lush green vegetation, clear blue skies, sunshine and friendly faces. The beach house at Hikkaduwa is a great place to unwind, sample the local surfing and diving opportunities, and from where you can then start to explore this stunningly beautiful island.
Hikkaduwa is located 100km south of the country's capital, Colombo. The area is well-known for its coral sanctuary and the proximity of wonderful scuba diving sites to explore. With its unique beach culture, Hikkaduwa has long been the most popular diving and surfing area in Sri Lanka. In the centre of Hikkaduwa, a lagoon also creates a beautiful and safe snorkelling area. Further south, where the currents are stronger, surfing is the dominant water activity. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is populated by exotic fish and sea turtles that come ashore on this beach to lay their eggs.
Hikkaduwa: Eating and Drinking
- Roman Beach: Just a short stroll up the beach from the beach house this classy restaurant sells delicious cusine - the seafood platters are particularly nice. Excellent value for better quality fare. Free Wi-fi is available.
- Lavanga Hotel: Further South but still walkable along the beach. Has a lovely open air bar on the roof with lovely seaviews and a happy hour.
- Asian Jewel: A few kilometres inland, overlooking the lagoon. Asian Jewel is British-owned and Dale and Tanya offer a selection of excellent Western and Eastern dishes which rarely disappoint. Ideal for a special treat or occasion.
- Thambili Cafe & Juice Bar: Left at the beachfront fence and just a few doors down from the beach house. Lovely vegan food and they do yoga classes some mornings.
- Top Secret / The Harmony: Good restaurant and chill out area on the beach in Narigama. During the season, occasional parties are held here. This is the place to come if you have children as it has a kids area and serves fabulous ice-cream. Also the focus of a lot of daytime surfer activity. Wi-fi available.
- Ranjith's: Great for surf watching and sunset beers. Serves cheap no frills but reliable food, the roast chicken is particularly good. Good meeting place and popular with ex-pats living in the area.
- Harbour: Very good restaurant on the beach in Narigama. Famous for its arrack chicken and Austrian-inspired dishes. Lively beach bar in the evenings.
- Roti No.1: A great place to sample rotis - a favourite local snack. Incredibly good value. Local style rice and curry and snacks (called 'short eats') are also available. There are 2 other roti shops opposite each other in Narigama, which are similar, but No.1 opposite Citrus Hotel is probably the best.
- Sam's Bar: Hikkaduwa's closest thing to a sports bar. The main bar is very smart and serves lager on tap and excellent pub grub. The burgers are a must-try and the steaks among the best in town! All the main sporting events can be watched here on wide-screen TVs. The older Roger's garage next door has a pool table and board games. Only open in the evenings and a good place to go when it rains. Wi-fi available.
- Spaghetti & Co: Old Italian-run favourite which serves traditional Italian food and large oven-baked Italian pizzas. The atmosphere is lovely and it is a great place for large groups of diners.
- Time & Tide: A great value alternative to Spaghetti & Co.
- The Nature Resort Floating Restaurant: Just a few kilometres inland from Hikkaduwa. Eat a freshly-caught crab meal as you enjoy a lakeside sunset or take a few drinks with you and go for a slow trip around the lake on a floating pontoon!
- The Refresh Restaurant: In town, on the beachside. It's a popular restaurant that serves a very wide variety of food. On the expensive side. Great drinks list including a wide variety of wines and cocktails/mocktails.
- Sunset Coffee Bar: Opposite the glass-bottomed boats. Serves good food and fairly-priced alcohol. This area is popular with the locals as it is the safest place to swim in Hikkaduwa.
- Vibrations: A really nicely laid out 'jungle-side' nightclub. Look out for Janaka and his band and their extremely talented drum playing! Friday is their big night. Doesn't really get going until late (11pm+)
- Mambos: A popular beachside bar, nightclub and restaurant. Saturday night is their party night with International and local DJs with music until sunrise. It is the focus of a lot of daytime surfer activity as it is directly opposite the main surf point. Wi-fi available.
- The Coffee Shop: Australian-run and extremely popular on the Galle Road. The place to go for a decent coffee and a quiet read of the papers.
Hikkaduwa: Surfing, Diving and Swimming
Warning: The sea currents directly in front of the beach house can be very strong and make swimming quite dangerous at times. Parents with young children should be particularly mindful of this. Better to just have a paddle or sit back and enjoy the impressive crashing waves at the beach house instead and, if you want to go swimming in the sea, take a trip to the Coral Sanctuary at Hikkaduwa or go down the coast to Unawatuna instead.
The diving at Hikkaduwa is diverse and there is an abundance of marine life and dive sites to suit all levels of experience. Big groupers, barracudas, moray eels, dogtooth tunas, manta rays, lobsters & turtles are often to be seen just off the coast at Hikkaduwa. A large number of wrecks have floundered off the coast in this area over the years, adding to the range of dive sites available. The main diving season in the south west runs from November to April and there are a number of well-established diving centres from which to choose with Blue Deep Diving (ask for Kalu) and Poseidon (ask for Menaka) being probably the best.
Hikkaduwa is a very well known surfing destination on the international circuit and annually attracts surfers from all over the world. There are plenty of good surfing points and although most of them are reef breaks, none of them is risky since they all have a flat deep bottom. The wave size ranges up to 3 metres during the season. The main point, known as the main reef has 'A-frame' shaped waves, which can be surfed in both directions.