Skip to Content

7 Best Things To Do In Unawatuna

There’s so much more than just tanning and cocktails to be found in this sun kissed Sri Lankan town.

Located in the Galle district of southern Sri Lanka, Unawatuna is a popular coastal town that attracts plenty of tourists.

It is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs that are home to an abundance of marine life. Furthermore if, like us, you’re a fan of sea turtles, then Unawatuna is the place to visit.

So here are our top 7 things to do in Unawatuna.

1. Dalawella Rope Swing

Famous for its rope swing and low bending palm trees, Dalawella Beach is a beautiful strip of sand just down the road from Unawatuna.

It has a few picture perfect spots and with water that’s perfect for swimming, we highly recommend a stroll along one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka.

The famous Sri Lanka rope swing is one of the top things to do in Unawatuna and can be found directly in front of Dreams Cabana guesthouse.

In the last couple of years the insta-famous swing has become a huge tourist attraction!

The owners of the guesthouse charge 500 rupees to access it, although they are more than happy to climb up and untie the swing if you purchase of a bottle of water or two.

Dalawella Beach Swing Unawatuna Things To Do In Unawatuna
Lauren having fun of the Dalawella rope swing in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

2. Stilt Fisherman

The traditional fisherman of Sri Lanka are definitely a ‘must-see’.

Their method of fishing is unique to the island and is believed to have started during World War II. Food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots gave rise to local people adapting to this difficult situation and starting this new way of fishing.

The stilt fishermen sit for hours on nothing but a large stick, with a line and pole. Images of the stilt fishermen have been seen around the world and have become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka.

These skills have been passed on to at least two generations of fishermen living along the southern shores between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

Sadly, after a tsunami devastated and changed the Sri Lankan shoreline this way of fishing has become less an less productive.

So that now, it sometimes makes more financial sense for fisherman to rent their stilts to people to pose as fishermen for tourists.

However, seeing this unusual sight is still one of the best things to do in Unawatuna.

If you scooter along the coastline in the morning they’re pretty hard to miss, and a must on your Sri Lanka bucket list!

Stilt Fishermen Sri Lanka Unawatuna Stilt Fishermen Best Things To Do In Unawatuna
Blending in the with the local stilt fisherman in Unawatuna

3. Koggala Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery

One of the most amazing experiences of our lives, let alone Sri Lanka! In our opinion the best of the things to do in Unawatuna!

Releasing baby turtles into the ocean was extremely high on Lauren’s bucket list and we finally were able to tick it off thanks to Koggala Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery.

Koggala Turtle Hatchery Sri Lanka is a sanctuary that works on increasing the rate of survival of baby turtles on the island.

The guys here are doing an amazing job of rescuing and rehabilitating injured turtles. As well as buying local eggs from poachers and nurturing them until they hatch.

Koggala Turtle Hatchery Sri Lanka Turtle Sanctuary Sri Lanka
Lauren’s dream finally came true thanks to Koggala Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery

4. Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is Unawatuna’s beach haven.

This small beach, hidden in the Jungle just a few kilometres from Unawatuna, was once a hidden gem. However, word has got out and quite a few tourists head there in the good weather.

There are no traditional water beach activities here, such as bananas and jet skis, but there are sun beds to rent and a shower and toilet.

With its crystal blue waters, this is a great place to snorkel as the bay here is well protected from waves by a coral reef.

Jungle Beach is definitely somewhere you can fully switch off and listen to the sound of the sea or, if you’re lucky, the sound of a local playing the guitar!

5. Day Trip To Galle

Just like Mirissa & Weligama, Unawatuna & Galle come hand in hand.

A 15 minute tuk tuk up the road drops you directly in the middle of the famous Galle Fort. A historic Dutch landmark that has been transformed into a beautiful European like town.

If you’re really into Dutch history it might be worth staying over but we recommend renting a scooter for the day and exploring the fort and old town all in an afternoon.

Galle Fort is full of chic shops, and beautiful cafes, and is definitely worth a day of our Sri Lanka itinerary.

Most famous for all keen photographers, is the Galle Lighthouse, built by the British just before WWII.

The Lighthouse is a must capture postcard shot, which you will have to take home and remember Galle Fort by.

There is a also a small bathing spot beside the lighthouse, almost like a natural safe swimming pool.

For those wishing take visit on a day trip from Colombo, we can recommend the Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo.

Galle Fort Sri Lanka Itinerary
Galle Fort is a definite must visit!

6. Shopping

There’s always the shopping option!

When you arrive in Unawatuna there is one-way in and one-way out and the street in-between is packed full of shops.

Some of the more famous shops to visit are, Sea Horse Divers for paddle boards, New World Craft Shop for jewellery and Made in Ceylon, a renowned gift shop.

In addition, the street market has a colourful and tempting variety of clothes, jewellery, souvenirs and trinkets on offer.

From hand-picked Ceylon tea to unique hand crafted ornaments, you’ll find everything you need to take a little piece of Sri Lanka home with you.

Sri Lankan Tuk Tuk Things To Do In Unawatuna
Ready for a ride in a Sri Lankan tuk tuk

7. Eat Local

Jinas

A vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a variety of tasty dishes.

This family run business was not as busy as some of the restaurants but the food was delicious, especially the falafels.

Nautilus

A popular and cosy eatery that offers fresh seafood.

You pick what you want to eat from the fresh fish and other seafood at the front of the restaurant.

Where To Stay In Unawatuna

Luxury

Cocobay Unawatuna

Cocobay Unawatuna is a boutique-style beachfront resort that features a beachfront restaurant, and an outdoor pool.

Offering access to 200 yards of sandy beach with views of Galle Fort, the resort is located in a fishing village.

Cocobay Unawatuna is just a 5-minute walk to Unawatuna Bus Station.

Furnished with artworks and wood flooring, each air-conditioned room and suite comes with a flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and safe. Private bathroom has a spa bath, rain shower, bathrobes and slippers.

Guests can expect a fruit basket upon arrival, pillow menu and free Wi-Fi.

Mid-Budget

Beach Grove Villas

A 10-minute walk from the beautiful Unawatuna Beach, Beach Grove Villas is a 4-star property with an outdoor pool, private barbecue pits and massage treatments.

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. Airport transfers are available at a charge, while parking is free.

The air-conditioned rooms all come with a living room and a TV. The en suite bathroom has either a bathtub or shower.

Budget

Unawatuna Hostel Honey Packers

Set in Unawatuna, 1.8 miles from Japanese Peace Pagoda, Unawatuna Hostel Honey Packers offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge.

Offering a garden, the property is located within 1.6 miles of Yatagala Temple.

The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and currency exchange for guests. At the hostel all rooms come with a private bathroom with a shower.

Guests at Unawatuna Hostel Honey Packers can enjoy a vegan breakfast.

For more places to stay in Unawatuna, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


Pin It For Later

7 Best Things To Do In Unawatuna

Sara

Sunday 24th of September 2017

These photos and advice are perfect! We're hoping to visit Unawatuna for a couple of days in November -short on time but Dalawella sounds like our kind of place! If we got going early one morning with a scooter would we see stilt fishermen and get chance to hang out there do you think?

Charlie Pauly

Sunday 24th of September 2017

Hey Sara! Thanks so much. You will love it!! Definitely...everybody says the stilt fisherman are only out in the morning but you can easily see them until midday!

etwasmitreisen

Thursday 14th of September 2017

Awesome :-) Unawatuna was on my list before, but having read your post, I'm even more exited to go there! And I will definitely meet the turtles, too! Thanks for you tips!

Charlie Pauly

Thursday 14th of September 2017

Ahhh it's a must! :) Hope you enjoy the turtles as much as we did and I'm glad we could be of help to your travels. Have an amazing time!