Unawatuna is a fishing village blessed with a beautiful sandy bay fringed with palm trees. Science-fiction author Arthur C Clarke was so enchanted by the “exquisite arc of beach,” that he once made it his second home. To many visitors, Unawatuna is simply Sri Lanka’s best, a view endorsed by the Discovery Channel, which has rated the beach one of the ten best in the world.
Unawatuna is protected by a double reef and is therefore one of the safest beaches in Sri Lanka for swimming. You can snorkel in the clear blue waters of the bay. It is a great place for surfing and diving. Or you can go fishing or snorkelling out to sea by using the traditional catamarans dotting the beach.
Many restaurants line the whole curve of beach with sun beds enticingly placed outside. Because there are no big hotel complexes here, and no busy road, it is a favourite of tourists staying a few months. With welcoming villagers and an unforgettable ambience, it is easy to see why.
A charming legend concerns Unawatuna and the prominence called Rumassala Kanda at the west end of the bay. In the epic Indian poem, the Ramayana, which is partly set in Sri Lanka, Hanuman, the monkey god, was sent to the Himalayas to find some special medicinal herbs. But Hanuman forgot which herbs he needed and in desperation took with him, twisted in his tail, a chunk of the mountains. On his way back he dropped a piece at Unawatuna forming this hillock. That’s why the village name means “fell down”.
Rumassala Kanda, well worth exploring, has a great variety of unusual vegetation and protected medicinal herbs not found anywhere else in the area, making this story seem mysteriously possible.
Unawatuna is the ideal place to relax and unwind. As importantly, however, it is well-placed to allow you to easily explore the surrounding area. For an alternative beach, for instance, try Dalawella, just 2.5km from Unawatuna, which is unspoilt – it’s narrow but great for bathing and safe for children.
At Kottawa Rainforest and Arboretum, only 45 minutes from Unawatuna, you can experience a rainforest environment. Most importantly, the remarkable Dutch fort of Galle - one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and considered the best-preserved fortifications in South Asia - is just 5km north of Unawatuna. And remember that if you are a cricket fan, Galle has an International Cricket Stadium where test matches are played.
Unawatuna Beach Resort is a cheery, modestly-sized hotel of enduring popularity. It is a haven for those who crave a beautiful beach and entertaining evenings. This small bay is graced with golden sands and a calm turquoise sea. Unawatuna Beach Resort nestles at the end of the bay underneath the shade of tropical palm trees.