If there’s one spot you cannot miss in Sri Lanka, it’s this little piece of heaven nestled on the south coast of the country, Hiriketiya Beach. It’s a surfer’s paradise, a yogi’s delight and the ultimate place to chill and relax.
About Hiriketiya Beach
Hiriketiya is an exquisite bay neighboring the southern town of Dickwella. Although it’s not quite the well-kept secret it used to be, it’s still unique and has that raw, untouched feel to it.
Palm trees line the beach, and rustic, local cafes serve cocktails right on the water’s edge. The relaxed atmosphere is hard to beat, so if it’s the laid-back life you’re looking for, head straight to Hiriketiya Beach in Sri Lanka.
Why Hiriketiya Beach?
I’d just arrived in Hiriketiya Beach from Sri Lanka’s hill country. After spending a week hiking Pidurangala in Sigiriya, Adam’s Peak in Dalhousie, and both Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock in Ella, I was very excited for some down time on the beach!
1) Surfing in Hiriketiya
If you want to up your surfing game, Hiriketiya is the place to go. There are waves for all grades of surfers including a more advanced reef break and a gentle, fun wave for beginners. Hiriketiya is the spot where I went from complete newbie to foamy riding surfer-gal in 5 days!
The highlight of my surfing experience in Hiriketiya was being in the water and meeting people from all over the world. We formed a cheerleading squad, encouraging our new “friends” to take that big wave, cheering if they stood up and laughing together if they wiped out. Families were attempting to take party waves with just about everyone spurring them on. The banter was great, and the vibe was awesome!
If you’re looking for other beaches in Sri Lanka, Trincomalee is right up there with some of the best. Whilst the beaches in Trinco aren’t great for surfing, I’d highly recommend you check them out if you have time.
The downside of surfing in Hiriketiya
Hiriketiya is a much smaller bay when compared to Arugam Bay and Weligama so expect lots of surfers all vying for the same wave. To avoid the crowds, head to the water just after sunrise or during lunchtime when it’s slightly quieter.
If you’re a serious surfer, you’re going to have to deal with the beginners at Hiriketiya Beach. Most people in the water have never been on a surfboard before so try not to ruin everyone’s mood by getting too hectic. If you’re one of the newbies, respect the locals and try to exercise good surfing etiquette.
Surfboards can be rented for just over $1 per hour and surf lessons in Hiriketiya start at $15.
2) The peaceful bay of Hiriketiya
One thing you’ll soon realize about the south coast of Sri Lanka is that the main highway literally runs alongside the coast! This means that your island paradise is often spoiled by the sounds of speeding buses and the infamous hooting of scooters and tuk-tuks.
However, Hiriketiya is an exception. The bay is about a 5-10 min drive from the main town of Dickwella where most buses pass through. This means you have the beach to yourself, with no disruption, no noise, and no chaos.
3) The yoga
After your morning surf, why not head to Dots Bay House or Jasper House for a yoga class. Both offer daily classes for around $7.
4) Talalla Beach
Talalla Beach is a long, white sandy beach just 20 minutes west of Dickwella. Whilst it’s only a stone’s throw away from Hiriketiya, the beaches could not be any more different and so I’d highly recommend you visit both if you have time.
Talalla Beach is a calm, relaxed oasis offering a longer stretch of shoreline when compared to Hiriketiya. The waves are smooth and virtually non-existent, making it the perfect spot for children or those who’d prefer to unwind on a Lilo in the middle of the ocean.
I spent a few hours enjoying the empty beach, lazing on a sunbed and sipping on fresh fruit juice before heading back to Hiriketiya for some sundowners.
To get to Talalla Beach, rent a scooter for the day or catch the local bus from Dickwella.
5) Hummanaya Blowhole – is it worth it?
Eager to see and do as much as possible near Dickwella, I hopped on my scooter and headed to the neighboring bay to check out the famous Hummanaya Blowhole. It’s the second biggest blowhole in the world, reaching an impressive 30m in height.
However, the best time to see the blowhole is during the monsoon season when the seas are rough. I clearly missed the brief on this! After I arrived at the entrance, I spoke to a group of people who warned me that the blowhole was completely underwhelming and not worth seeing because of the low water levels. So, I quickly turned around and headed straight back to Hiriketiya Beach for an afternoon surf session.
Entrance to the Hummanaya Blowhole is $1.5 but ask a local about the tides before you make a mission out there.
Hiriketiya Beach accommodation
- Peak House: This little gem is one that I can highly recommend if you’re on a tight budget but still looking for a clean and comfortable stay. Although it’s not right on the beach, the hospitality of the owners sure makes up for it. Staying at Peak House was the highlight of my time in Sri Lanka. Ask for the fish and prawn braai (barbeque) – you will not be disappointed! $25 for a double room.
- Dots Bay House: If you’re looking for a hip and happening spot, and have the budget to pay for it, then head to Dots Bay House. Not only is it a stone’s throw away from the beach, but they offer yoga classes as well as a trendy restaurant which often features live music. $55 for a double room.
- Jasper House: This spot oozes elegance and is the perfect location for honeymooners or those looking for a more luxurious stay. $100 for a double room.
- Roti Hut: You cannot miss this spot and it’s worth stopping here at least once a day, be it for breakfast, lunch or supper. Their rotis are not only cheap – less than $1 for one – but absolutely delicious.
- Garlic Cafe: Situated in a garden courtyard, the currys at Garlic Cafe are delicious and only come with a $3 price tag. The best time to visit is during the evening when the fairy lights are up, and the vibe is festive.
- Beach House, Hiriketiya: Need a break from curry? Head to Beach House for a delicious wood-fired pizza, literally on the beach.
Best time to visit Hiriketiya Beach
Sri Lanka is known for its 2 seasons. May to September brings with it the south-west monsoon season and November to March is the north-east monsoon season.
However, Hiriketiya seems to be an exception to this rule as the waves are great all year round. I visited Hiriketiya Beach in October and had perfect weather every single day, however, the beach was crowded with scores of surfers hitting the water throughout the day.
I had a friend who visited a few months earlier in June, which is supposed to be monsoon season. The beach was empty with fewer tourists yet still had great weather and waves.
It’s hard to believe that just a few days prior to visiting Hiriketiya Beach, I was in Nuwara Eliya where the weather was gloomy and cold, and I spent my days tucked under the blankets next to the fireplace.
How to get to Hiriketiya Beach
Hiriketiya Beach is on the south coast of Sri Lanka, next to Dickwella. Unfortunately, the trains don’t run here, but getting to Hiriketiya by bus is relatively easy.
The journey will take about 4 hours from Colombo to Dikwella and 1 hour from Mirissa to Dickwella. Hop off at the bus stop in Dikwella and catch a 5-minute tuk-tuk to Hiriketiya Beach.