Unawatuna Beach is one of the most popular and best-known tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The beach, with its golden sands, is backed by palm trees interspeersed with cafes and bars. The waters here are sheltered, clear and blue. Some say the beach is shaped like a banana, although most would probably call it a crescent.
On the west end of the beach, you can climb the wooded headland to see a pagoda Buddha statue at the top. Beyond here the coastline is rocky, although there are a few little coves to explore at low tide.
The beach was severely hit by the tsunami in 2004 and brekwaters added to protect the beach afterwards had the opposite effect, with large amounts of sand disappearing from the beach. With the rush to rebuild the resort hotel and restaurant owners built right on the sand which greatly impacted on the appeal of the beach. However, in recent years this issue has been addressed with many illegal structures cleared from the beachfront.
The small resort town is right behind the beach, and you will find a single street full of shops that sell clothing, jewelry, and snacks. There are also restaurants along the street where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
Unawatuna Beach is very popular, so be prepared for crowds and locals selling their wares to the tourists. You can find sun beds for rent on the beach, and the beach is popular with locals who head here in the afternoons with their families.
You will find plenty of hotels and a lot to explore, and you can always visit nearby places, including the historic city of Galle with its Fort that was built in 1588 by the Portuguese.
- Diving & snorkelling
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