South West Coast
The Sri Lankan beach scene is palm-fringed and low-key, perfect for lazing a few days away. The south western coastline is home to the majority of beach retreats, particularly surrounding the Indian Ocean-washed shores of the historic city of Galle. Sweeping bays are interspersed with quiet fishing villages such as Mirissa and Tangalle boasting hidden hotel gems; boats bob on the horizon, turtles burrow into soft sand and stilted fisherman spend hours perfecting their craft.
During the migration season in December and April, large pods of Dolphins and Blue Whales can be seen just a few miles offshore from Mirissa. Mirissa Water Sports, based in the Mirissa Harbour offers boat excursions which can take upto three hours. Mirissa Water Sports is a charitable organisation helping to generate employment for the youth from the tsunami affected coastal areas.
For many centuries, Cinnamon has been a great attraction for traders visiting this island. Even today, Sri Lanka continues to be one of the world’s leading producers of Cinnamon with 80% of the crop grown in the west and south coast of the island. Visit a village or a factory where cinnamon is processed to learn of this most invaluable crop.
Yala’s scrub plains, lagoons and rocky mounds make it one of the best places to see a wide variety of Sri Lankan wildlife. The park boasts the world's densest leopard population. Be grateful if you do see one, though, as they are shy animals. Other frequently sighted animals include elephants, sloth bears, sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, monkeys and buffalos. Transport around the park is provided by jeep complete with driver and expert guide/tracker.
Where to stay on the South West Coast
Best time to visit the South West Coast
Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news and offers