View of Unawatuna Beach through waving palm trees

Unawatuna – Wonderful Get-Away Beach in Sri Lanka

This post was last updated on July 8th, 2020 at 01:52 pm

Unawatuna, once a beautiful beach with golden sand, palm trees, and a coastline with turquoise water and great surfing opportunities, is quickly becoming the Kuta of Sri Lanka. The beautiful clear water is still there and if you look well enough you can find deserted bits of the beach but there is not much left of it.


Bulldozers have flattened much of the coast to build hotels and cafes. It may not be the most beautiful beach, but it is still a wonderful get-away from Galle. Unawatuna is only 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Galle and is still growing as a city.


Rent a scooter so you can discover the surrounding beaches.


It is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the country for both travelers and locals. And although the charm of the small village has given way to increased commercialization, it is still a pleasant place to stay.


Aerial view of tropical beach with many palm trees
Aerial view of the beautiful Unawatuna


Best Beaches in Unawatuna

Most people come to Unawatuna for its beautiful beach. It is a fairly busy beach with a lot of people trying to sell something. If you take the time to find a good spot, it is a great seaside resort. Of course, you can also rent a scooter and explore the surrounding beaches.


1. Main Beach

The name already betrays it a bit. This is the most famous beach of Unawatuna. You will find the most travelers, locals, and also the most bars and activities here. It is popular because it is close to the city center with good restaurants and bars nearby.


It is wonderful to relax on the main beach with its waving palm trees, brown golden sand, and a cozy atmosphere.


Gold sandy beach with waves from the ocean
What a great place to relax on the beach


2. Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is the second beach where many travelers go. You can find it on the other side of the town. The advantage is that it is a lot quieter here. This is mainly because the beach is more difficult to reach than Main Beach.


In addition, Jungle Beach is not really promoted a lot so many travelers skip this beach. A shame because it is really beautiful here!


TIP – The best way to explore Unawatuna and the surrounding area is with a scooter. You have a lot to see here in the area. You can rent a scooter for around $6 a day.


Crystal clear blue water near the beach
The water here is still very blue!


Fun Things to Do in Unawatuna

With its commercialization came a lot of fun activities ranging from surfing and diving to yoga and cooking classes. Unawatuna is increasingly competing with Hikkaduwa as the best party town in the country.


1. Relax in Unawatuna

Unawatuna is a good place to completely relax. Chill out on one of the beaches or get pampered at one of the city’s spas.


You can also take yoga classes in many places in the city. In short, Unawatuna is a city where you can completely relax from your journey.


2. Go For a Nice Walk

You can also take beautiful walks in the area. Although the center and the beaches are becoming more and more commercial, you can still find beautiful nature inland.


At your accommodation, you can ask for the different routes you can walk. They often have a map (or they draw one for you) so you can explore around Unawatuna.


TIP – Climb the “hill” on Yaddehimulla Rd. You will have a beautiful view of the beach and the town.


3. Learn to Surf

Unawatuna is a perfect place to learn to surf. In addition, the city also has good waves for the advanced surfer. Unawatuna is, therefore, an ideal spot for every type of surfer.


On the beach, you will find many surf schools where you can book lessons. You can also rent boards here if you already know how to surf.


TIP – Check out this website for an overview of good surfing schools.


Wave building up on the crystal blue water
There are some pretty good waves here!


4. Diving & Snorkeling

You have plenty of water sports here such as snorkeling and diving. There are a number of shipwrecks off the coast that are fun for divers. Renting diving gear costs you around $30 per day. A diving trip often costs the same. A PADI course costs around US$230.


TIP – Climb the “hill” on Yaddehimulla Rd. You will have a beautiful view of the beach and the town.



Unawatuna may have become a commercial center; the area is still beautiful. Where cafes, restaurants, and vendors dominate the beach, in the surrounding area of Unawatuna you can still find a blue sea flanked by hills full of palm trees.


If you travel further into the country you will find beautiful nature with countless tropical birds. And despite the crowds on the beach, you can dive well here with beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks that lie off the coast.


Aerial view of the Unawatuna Coast Line
Aerial view of the Unawatuna Coast Line


How to Get to Unawatuna

Unawatuna is just a 2-hour drive from Colombo. The easiest way to get to Unawatuna is via Galle. This city is only 10 minutes away from here. A bus from Galle costs you 20 Rupees (US$0.10) and takes 10 minutes.


A tuk-tuk from Galle will cost you around 400 to 500 Rupees (US$2.25 to $2.80), depending on the driver and your negotiating skills.


Unawatuna Hotels

With the emerging commercialization of Unawatuna, the number of accommodations in the city is also growing. You will, therefore, have no problems finding nice accommodation here because the choice is wide.


The city has numerous hotels and hostels both on the beach and in the city center. There are accommodations in every price range.


TIP – Book your hotel or hostel in Unawatuna here.


Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Unawatuna is from December to March. This applies to almost all places around the south coast such as Galle, Unawatuna, Mirissa, and Hikkaduwa. These are the driest months and, therefore, the busiest.


The prices for accommodations and activities are going up. October and November are often the wettest months in the area. Temperatures rise around April or May and at the same time bring more rain.


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