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The Deep South - Unawatuna

The Deep South - Unawatuna

Legendary Beach For Independent Travellers

The Deep South - Unawatuna


A legendary curved bay with reef protected shallow water on the far side that offers safe sea swimming. Unawatuna is primarily a resort for budget and independent travellers with a long line of guesthouses cramming the beach. The main Beach Road has become a sort of ‘mini Goa’ with restaurants and shops that open into the night, and even the odd nightclub too!


With the opening of the new Southern Highway, Unawatuna has become the place where party-people and expats from Colombo come for a fun weekend.


Quality Of The Beach

Unawatuna has the best sea bathing beach in Sri Lanka. The beach at the far end near the ‘Wella Devale’’ Temple has shallow water throughout the year, even during the ‘off season’ from May to October. Kids can safely take in dip in the sea at this spot.


A lot of the beauty of Unawatuna has been blighted by restaurants and guest houses encroaching onto the once idyllic beach.


Watersports, Diving And Snorkelling

Snorkelling is possible at the Buena Vista Reef for more experienced divers. There are more species here than even the Great Barrier Reef!


Best Time To Go

Winter Season: November - April

The beaches are at their best at this time with fine weather and calm seas.


Summer Season: May – October

During the off season, Unawatuna becomes a lot quieter but is still popular especially at weekends with crowds from Colombo coming to spend the day here. A lot of the sand however gets washed away from the beach during the off season.


Getting To The Airport

This is where Unawatuna has a huge advantage over other beaches in the Deep South. The brand new Southern Expressway ends only a mile or so from Unawatuna, making it a mere 3 hours drive to Colombo Airport (and only 1 hour from Colombo).

Top Tips For A Beach Stay At Unawatuna

1. Guesthouses that are away from the main Galle Road and Wella Devale Road are a lot quieter for a good night’s sleep!


2. Take a boat trip to the deserted Jungle Beach – the closest Sri Lanka gets to the South Pacific!


3. There are no 4 and 5 star hotels at Unawatuna. If you want high end accommodation with easy access to Unawatuna, then stay in the lovely boutique hotels of Talpe (the Galle Riviera), just 10 minutes away by tuk-tuk.


4. It’s a long, long journey to get to Unawatuna from Dambulla, Kandy or the Western Hill Country. Think of a stopover night somewhere on the way.


Local Excursions

• The historic town of Galle is the focal point of the Deep South. Inside the ramparts of the old fort, chic boutiques, shops and restaurants cater to an interesting mix of expats, travellers and a large local Moorish population that stil lives inside the Old Fort.


• If you are able to get up really early in the morning (4 am!) you can travel to the amazing Sinharaja Rainforest – one of the world’s great biodiversity hot-spots. Trails through the forest let you observe giant ferns, carnivorous plants and enormous creepers ending up at viewing points where you get vistas of the seemingly endless forest canopy.


• Beach hopping is a favourite past-time for people who stay at Unawatuna. You can easily hire a local taxi and head east on the beautiful South Coast Road to explore other lovely beaches at Weligama and Mirissa further along the coast.


• The best kept secret about Unawatuna is a totally brilliant beach that few holidaymakers know about, except for the expat crowd that actually live and work in Sri Lanka. Wijeya Beach, lies on the Matara Road but is still close enough to be considered as part of the resort. This most amazing and idyllic beach has a very shallow stretch of clear blue water where even small kids can swim about in complete safety since the near shore reef breaks the waves in front. There is a famous restaurant and budget hotel called Wijeya Beach right in the middle. The highly recommended Sri Gemunu Beach Resort is also located here.


  • CoCo Bay Resort

    CoCo Bay Resort

    A small luxury hotel on the Galle side of the Unawatuna headland with superb views of the Galle Fort and Harbour in the distance. The hotel has an exquisite little private beach with the amazing Jungle Beach also nearby. Easily the best luxury hotel at Unawatuna.
  • Thaproban Pavilion Resort and Spa

    Thaproban Pavilion Resort and Spa

    A somewhat upmarket hotel with a unique design theme and architecture that you will either love or hate! The hotel is located about 5-10 minutes from the main beach on a rocky headland. Gorgeous sunset views over the Galle Bay and waves crashing over the rocks!
  • The Flower Garden Hotel

    The Flower Garden Hotel

    A superb hotel providing an unexpectedly high level of comfort at Unawatuna. Flower Garden is located on a quiet road and is only 5 minutes from the main beach. The hotel has a beautifully kept garden with flowing shrubs and trees. Highly recommended.
  • Sri Gemunu Beach Resort

    Sri Gemunu Beach Resort

    A highly recommended hotel that caters towards the budget end of the market is located right next to Wijeya Beach, to the east of Unawatuna. A small property with friendly service and great food combined with easy access to the safest, most idyllic beach at Galle.
  • Thaproban Beach House

    Thaproban Beach House

    A guest-house hotel that is literally just steps away from the golden sands of Unawatuna Beach. The Deluxe Rooms offer an upstairs location with privacy and sweeping views of the Unawatuna Bay. Locted in the middle of the bar and restaurant strip.
  • Levels by Cantaloupe

    Levels by Cantaloupe

    Located near the top slope of the Rumassala headland that divides Unawatuna Beach and Galle Harbour, this is a small luxury hotel with chic, designer interiors and delightful harbour views. The amazing Jungle Beach is a 10 minute walk down from the property.
  • Villa Thawthisa

    Villa Thawthisa

    A small luxury hotel on the Unawatuna headland with superb 200 degree views of the Indian Ocean from a high elevation. There are a variety of room options including some with plunge pools. A great option for honeymooners.

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