Situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is a wide curving bay protected by reef, located 5kms from the city of Galle, a former Dutch fort. Popular with travelers from all over the world, it is calmer than the more bohemian resort of Hikkaduwa, and the picturesque sweep of beach is dotted with pretty cottages, restaurants and bars and other small places to stay.
It can get quite busy during the season, which is from December to April. Snorkeling and diving is excellent, and the reef makes swimming here a very safe pleasure. Legend say that Unwatuna was created from a piece of earth from Himalaya, that had fallen from Hanuman in the Ramayanaya epic.
There’s lots of adventure in the water at Unawatuna. You can hire diving and snorkeling equipment from some of the beachfront places and explore the reef, and several interesting wrecks in the area. You can also take diving lessons with PADI qualified professionals. There is some surfing to be had here, but Arugam Bay further east, is generally held to be the best place.
The beach is wonderful to walk along, especially during dusk – it’s simply stunning. There are several walks you can take over the rocky outcrop called Rumassala (known for its medicinal herbs, which are protected) at the west end of the beach, or up the nearby hill. A small temple on the promontory is walking to, and you can catch a great view of the sunset from the rocky outcrop just there. Jungle beach is on the other side, and worth a visit.