Surely, you have heard about the paradisiacal beaches of Sri Lanka. What you may not know is that Sri Lanka is known as the Country of a Thousand Names. Lanka, Taprobane or Ceylon are some of them. However, there is one that I particularly like: Serendib. It is the origin of my favorite word, serendipity, which means “valuable finding that occurs accidentally or by chance”. That is exactly what happened to me with this wonderful country. I arrived unexpectedly, and it was without a doubt a priceless revelation to discover the beaches of Sri Lanka.
Ignored for years as a tourist destination, mainly due to its political instability, Sri Lanka has awakened, and today, fully recovered from its recent civil war, it has become a really interesting corner.
The country, considered a jewel in the middle of the Indian Ocean, practices a very respectful modernity with its ancestral traditions, offering the visitor all the comforts, but in a legendary and charming environment.
Sri Lanka offers endless options to the traveler, and none of them will leave you indifferent. Its endless beaches of fine sand and exceptional waves for surfing, its exquisite corners, where practicing yoga is not a pleasure but a privilege, or its exotic and wild fauna, together with its mix of cultures, make this destination a more than attractive choice.
If you decide to visit this combination of wonders, the best time to travel to Sri Lanka is from December to April, especially if you visit the south of the country, as it coincides with the dry season, and the temperature is perfect to discover all the hidden treasures that the region hides.
Surf at Mirissa: the best beaches in Sri Lanka
Washed by the Indian Ocean and with about 1,500 km of coastline, Sri Lanka has become, in recent years, a very popular destination for surfers. It has several spots very appreciated by the lovers of this sport, since we can find in them world-class waves and prices are cheaper than in other typical surfing destinations.
The east coast is one of the most visited areas, but in the monsoon-free season is usually quite crowded, so I recommend the south of the island, where the waves are also of high quality, but the influx of tourism is less.
THE SOUTH COAST. MIRISSA MIRISSA
Among my favorite spots, Mirissa in South Sri Lanka, has not only good waves, but also a very interesting tourist offer, where you can taste its rich and spicy gastronomy. In this area you can also visit ancient temples, or go on boat trips to see different cetaceans, not far from the coast and other animals such as elephants or monkeys in the interior.
Mirissa beach, on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, receives constant waves all year round. However, the best surfing conditions occur when the southwest swell is combined with northerly winds. It is a reef break, so it is more appropriate if you have some experience. The best wave is the right that starts from a corner of the bay.
But don’t worry, if you are a beginner you will find other beaches in the south of Sri Lanka, such as Weligama or Hikkaduwa, with sandy bottoms, where you can get to know the heavy but gentle waves of the Indian Ocean. These ideal spots to learn, are located near Mirissa and you can reach them by tuk-tuk or train in a very short time.
Another advantage of this extraordinary area of Mirissa is that it has a busy nightlife. Many restaurants, cafes and bars, where we can relax after a good surfing session. You can listen to music, charge batteries with a succulent dinner of fresh fish or the daily seafood or enjoy the wonderful sunsets, cocktail in hand, in beach bars that extend the party until dawn.
Yoga and meditation, the spiritual side of Sri Lanka
Yoga, originally from India, arrived in Sri Lanka, straight from there, hundreds of years ago. Over time, it became a common practice among the locals. So much so that the Muruga temple in Katirgama, in the south of the country, is considered the cradle of Babaji’s Kriya Yoga, a synthesis of Classical Yoga.
Currently Sri Lanka is one of the most popular destinations for lovers of this ancient discipline, not only because of the spirituality that is felt in most of its corners, or in its many temples, but also because the country offers unique natural settings, which provide the tranquility and the perfect environment for the practice of yoga and meditation.
Whether you are an expert yogi or a beginner, in Sri Lanka you can learn and develop this practice, with experienced instructors and in paradisaical places, such as a silent and perfect beach, the green valley at the foot of a mountain, in the middle of a tropical jungle or enjoying a magical sunset, which will help you connect your body and mind.
In the southern area of Sri Lanka, near the beach of Mirissa, there are numerous centers that allow you to combine surfing and yoga, or devote yourself only to the second, in one of those perfect corners, but without having to give up the other activities offered by the region.
There are not only beaches in Sri Lanka
Although surfing and yoga are the main reasons why many of us travel to Sri Lanka, the country has a million interesting activities to do. Therefore, I recommend that you reserve some time on your trip for some of them. You will surely find more than one interesting, and there is something for everyone.
TEMPLES AND AYURVEDIC TREATMENTS IN SRI LANKA
If the main reason for your trip to Sri Lanka is yoga, I have no doubt that you will also appreciate the visits to its many temples, and perhaps you can experiment with an Ayurvedic treatment. This traditional Indian medicine, which prevents disease by treating the body and mind, is widespread throughout the country. There are numerous centers where you will have the chance to be initiated into its teachings and try one of its relaxing and therapeutic treatments.
OTHER OCEAN ACTIVITIES
However, if the sea is your thing, and surfing has brought you to these beautiful shores, you will surely want to enjoy the other wonders that the Indian Ocean has reserved for you. With a simple snorkeling equipment and without going too deep, the wonderful reefs will seduce your sense of sight, offering you really beautiful images. Not to mention the turtles, which live in the area and go out to feed during the day. Or the hundreds of different fish that you will be able to observe, each one more beautiful than the last.
Also in the sea, and in this case from the port of Mirissa, boats depart for the sighting of different species. The most spectacular is undoubtedly the blue whale, for its colossal dimensions. Obviously whether you see them or not depends on luck, but we start with a chance of success of 85%, so it is not usually difficult to enjoy this breathtaking natural spectacle.
THE WILD NATURE OF THE INLAND
f we leave the sea aside and go inland, Yala National Park, also in the south of the island, is the place in the world where the largest number of leopards are concentrated. However, it isn’t the only wild animal that you’ll find in this exceptional park: crocodiles, elephants, jackals, deer, monkeys or wild pigs, among others, can be observed easily from a 4×4, but you must keep your eyes wide open, your mouth tight shut and your camera ready.
Finally, if you like hiking, and enjoy the wildest and purest nature, you can not miss a visit to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and a Biosphere Reserve since 1978. This jungle, much more inaccessible than other Natural Parks in Sri Lanka, is only accessible on foot, but the experience is definitely worth the effort.