The beach of Hikkaduwa is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka. This fun coastal town, 14 km away from Galle was the first (1960’s) of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. Snorkelling and diving in the clear waters are a major past-time along this stretch and is the most environmentally friendly way to see the colourful fish that dart around. The coral sanctuary found along the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow body of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals, and is home to countless numbers of vibrantly coloured fish. Off the beach there is a collection of small islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations. Many species of fish and large turtles are found here. There are more than four different shipwrecks for diving enthusiasts to explore along with dive shops offering PADI courses and equipment.
You can always rent the necessary equipment needed for snorkelling and surfing from a number of places Hikkaduwa is an established tourist destination and the surfing there is quite well known.
The area is not overcrowded but there are many tourists and locals during the peak season. Since its a coral reef, it is always advisable for travellers to be safe than sorry. Do not feel intimidated by the locals although there might be instances that you are hassled. There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and etc. along with several Buddhist temples, all which add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.
The reef of lime stones protects the corals from high tide. The coral type found mostly here is the type locally called “Gampara”. These corals are found in various forms, shapes and colours. They are a very fascinating sight especially when there is bright sunlight which gives a very clear view of the corals. You see some corals in the shape of a cabbage leaf; some are shaped like a lady’s fan. Since there is no silt, corals can grow in their natural form and colour.