Contact Us

The South West Coast - Bentota

The South West Coast - Bentota

Sri Lanka's Best Known Beach Resort

The South West Coast - Bentota



Sri Lanka’s most famous beach resort has a beautiful succession of gentle, curved bays backed by the large lagoon of the Bentota River. The finest beaches in Sri Lanka start from here and go southwards.


Some of the island’s most luxrious beach hotels are located at Bentota. The resort consists of 3 parts. The northern area (Beruwala) has a busy fisheries harbour. Alutgama in the middle has lovely reef protected beaches with shallow seas that are ideal for sea bathing. At the southern end, the exquisite lagoon of the Bentota River is the perfect setting for watersports. Bentota itself is the part to the south of the lagoon bridge and includes the famous Golden Mile Beach that lies on a sliver of land between the lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Further south is a stretch of natural beach vegetation and coconut groves that hide a myriad of Sri Lanka’s most exclusive boutique and villa hotels.


Induruwa, Kosgoda And Ahungalla

These are villages that lie to the south of Bentota. They are a good choice for a quiet relaxed holiday if you prefer to be away from the main resort area and want hassle free beaches. Induruwa is an extension of the southern end of Bentota’s Golden Mile beach. Kosgoda is very famous for its turtle nesting beaches (Jan-July) and Turtle Hatcheries. Ahungalla lies close to the surfing and snorkelling beaches of Hikkaduwa and the old Dutch town of Galle.


Quaity Of The Beach


The near shore Barberyn Reef (to the north of the mouth of the Bentota Lagoon) protects the beaches of Aluthgama to allow shallow seas and perfect conditions for wading and safe sea swimming especially for kids (Nov-April).


The Golden Mile Beach is a series of slightly curving bays with a gently shelving beach that allows for safe sea wading in some parts during the winter season (Nov-April).


Induruwa, Kosgoda And Ahungalla

These villages have quiet, sometimes nearly deserted beaches. The sea is beautiful but not that fantastic for sea bathing when compared to Bentota.


Watersports, Diving And Snorkelling

 For beginners to watersports, the tranquil waters of the Bentota River and lagoon offer an ideal environment. Water-skiing, Jet-skiing, Windsurfing, Sailing, Rowing and Canoeing are all very popular activities.


Club Intersports, a sports complex that is part of the Bentota Beach Hotel has a fine state-of-the-art watersports facility and an indoor sports centre facing the lagoon.


For experienced divers, there are 20 meter dive sites accessible by boat about 30 mins away from the shore.  


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, the sea becomes slightly rough. There may be some rainfall. Bentota however stays very popular as summer holidaymakers still flock here on account of its good hotels and family friendly atmosphere.


Getting To The Airport

Airport – Bentota: 2.5 Hours Via Southern Expressway
Airport – Kosgoda: 3 Hours Via Southern Expressway
Airport – Ahungalla: 3 Hours Via Southern Expressway

Top Tips For A Beach Stay At Bentota

1. If you want to go to a location with good sea bathing, the sea in front of Barberyn Reef (Aluthgama) is very safe during the season. You can wade into the sea here for 50-100 feet, often at waist height.


2. Bentota stays very popular during the summer holidays, even though it is actually the ‘off season’ for the South Western Coast. This is mainly because of the quality of its up-market hotels that attract lots of families from the UK especially during the summer school holidays.


3. As with many other resorts in Sri Lanka, the actual town centers of Beruwela and Bentota are not geared too much towards tourists, though things are slowly changing. Tourists tend to hang around the beaches, the lagoonside restaurants and the ‘National Holiday Resort’ area behind the Golden Mile beach.


4. So called ‘beach boys’ and beach vendors are the bane of beach tourism in Sri Lanka. These are young lads who live off tourists in one way or another. Some are quite enterprising. Others will just hassle you all day to arrange trips or try to sell you something. Many will give you hard luck stories to win your sympathy.


A firm ‘no’ followed by no response to their subsequent pleading usually does the trick in getting them off your back!


Excursions And Things To Do?

• The Bentota River provides plenty of opportunities for River Boat Trips that go far up-river through beautiful mangroves and idyllic scenery. If you have the time, opt for a long boat journey up-river where the river narrows considerably and you can watch rural life on the riverbanks.


• Beaches to the south of Bentota are famous for their turtle nesting beaches. The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery is a favourite destination for visitors and is highly recommended.


• 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.


• With another early start and you can travel to Kithulgala for Sri Lanka’s best White Water Rafting on the gushing Kelani River. The Grade 2 / 3 rafting is fine for beginners and there is the possibility of canyoning here too.


• A popular day excursion is to take a local taxi to Galle, perhaps taking a Glass Bottom Boat at Hikkaduwa en-route to see the multi coloured fish at the Coral Gardens Sanctuary. You can enjoy lunch among the atmospheric buildings inside the Galle Fort or on the beach at nearby Unawatuna.


  • Saman Villas

    Saman Villas

    One of the most romantically situated hotels in the world. There are a variety of suites, some with private pools jutting out of a rocky headland on the secluded southern end of Bentota beach. A great choice for honeymooners.

  • Vivanta by Taj

    Vivanta by Taj

    The premier resort of the famous Taj Hotels chain in Sri Lanka sprawls out over 8 acres of coconut palms. Everything expected of this quality international brand are here including amazing cuisine. Rooms on the higher floors have beautiful views over the Indian Ocean.

  • Heritance Ahungalla

    Heritance Ahungalla

    A 5 star resort hotel located at Ahungalla, about 10 miles from Bentota on a very quiet, secluded beach with endless coconut palms stretching into the distance. This hotel was Sri Lanka's first 5 star and still largely sets the standards for other resort hotels in Sri Lanka.

  • Centara Ceysands Resort and Spa

    Centara Ceysands Resort and Spa

    The flagship property of the luxury Centara brand in Sri Lanka has a highly picturesque approach by boat through the Bentota Lagoon. The hotel is located on a sliver of land with the Golden Mile Beach in front and the huge lagoon on the other side.

  • Eden Resort And Spa

    Eden Resort And Spa

    A large resort by Sri Lankan standards with 158 rooms and an extensive array of specialist restaurants. The hotel has its own marina and a large Herbal Spa. Safe sea bathing is possible on nearby beaches. An ideal family choice.

  • Avani Bentota

    Avani Bentota

    One of the more up-market hotels on the Golden Mile Beach. Originally designed by master architect Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel now has a cool, retro-chic look providing subtle, luxury accommodation under the famous Anantara brand.

  • The Surf

    The Surf

    The Surf is a good 3 / 4 star option at Bentota. Its great advantage is its location right on the main Golden Mile Beach. There is a beautiful stretch of sweeping sands on both sides of the hotel which is itself surrounded and shaded by many large and beautiful flowering trees.

  • The Palms

    The Palms

    A good 3 Star beach hotel with a lovely location in front of shallow water that is protected by a reef making it suitable for sea swimming and bathing during the season. Well managed with exceptional cuisine at its restaurants.

  • Villa Bentota

    Villa Bentota

    Originally the home of world famous architect Geoffrey Bawa, this intimate boutique hotel has been refurbished by the Paradise Road brand while keeping all of the master architects ambience intact. Superstars such as Sir Paul McCartney have stayed here through the years!

  • Club Villa

    Club Villa

    Immediately adjoining Villa Bentota is one of Sri Lanka's classic boutique properties, again designed by Geoffrey Bawa. The ambience and design has remained authentic and true to the master architect's vision through the years. A property that has aged beautifully.

  • Shinagawa Beach

    Shinagawa Beach

    A small luxury hotel located on a very private beach at Balapitiya, about 20 Km to the south of the Bentota resort area. A stay here is all about privacy as the beach in front is very secluded and there are no other large hotels or towns nearby.

  • Taru Villas

    Taru Villas - Rock Villa

    The ancestral property of famous interior designer Taru Fonseka. Gorgeous, authentic and inspirational are words that come to mind. With only 4 rooms you need to book 5 or 6 months ahead to have a realistic chance of a reservation! Highly recommended.

  • Cinnamon Bey

    Cinnamon Bey

    A large resort hotel by Sri Lankan standards with 200 rooms. The design style and concept shows a strong Turkish influence as the first Arab traders landed near here in the 10th Century. The hotel is located at Beruwala at the northern end of the Bentota resort area.


Map locator

View Locations On A Map Of Sri Lanka

How To Use The Wishlist.

As you browse our website you can add any Interior Destinations, Beach Resorts, Tour Activities, Tour Hotels or Beach Hotels to your Wishlist.

When you send us your completed Wishlist, our staff will put all your requirements into a holiday format and price it up for you in a reply e-mail.

The Travel Trade Gazette Gives Elephant Island A 90% Statisfaction Award!!!

C L I E N T   E X P E R I E N C E


Alison Head Family in Sri Lanka!

The Itinerary

The Hotels

"We have returned from an excellent holiday in Sri Lanka.

Elephant Island Tours is a truly customer focused organisation.Our first connect was with Justin in the London Office. He listened carefully to understand our particular needs and apparitions. We were most impressed by his speed of reply, helpful suggestions and advice. The tour fulfilled all our needs. You cannot overestimate the importance of the first contact - Thank you Justin.

The shop window of your organisation was our driver guide Mahendra. He proved to be very knowledgeable and a brilliant driver. He quickly became our friend. He was so helpful in all ways He never let us down. The car was more than adequate for our needs and always clean - Thank you Mahendra."

BY: Tony Powell

"I have just returned from a 2 week holiday in Sri Lanka where I booked a 6 day overland tour through Elephant Island.

Absolutely faultless. The detailed itinerary put together by Amanda at EI incorporated absolutely everything we wanted to do and gave us a fantastic overview of Sri Lanka, its culture, its wildlife and its history.

Our driver Rohan was exceptional. He drove us with care, explained everything in detail and offered us numerous additional stops for activities such as elephant rides, a look around Kandy market and a trip to Nuwara Eliya. I would make sure, next time I go to Sri Lanka, that I had Rohan driving me around.

If you're going to Sri Lanka you MUST book through EI! The whole process was so smooth and ensured that I had the most amazing time in what is surely one of the world's most beautiful countries."

Feedback Posted On Facebook, July 2014.

BY: William Tite

Contact Us