Jungle beach near Unawatuna

The Ultimate Guide To Unawatuna in Sri Lanka

Unawatuna is a stunning coastal town located in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, in the Galle district. It’s a popular tourist destination and it’s not hard to see why. Unawatuna is home to beautiful beaches, many palm trees and delicious food. 

Before going here, I was a bit hesitant as I had heard that this is the most touristic destination in the whole of Sri Lanka. However, I quickly learnt that although Unawatuna sees a lot of tourists, it’s definitely still a place worth visiting!

Read on to find out how to spend your time in Unawatuna in Sri Lanka. 

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Unawatuna bike

How to get to Unawatuna?

Luckily, here are many ways to reach Unawatuna in Sri Lanka. There is no airport in Unawatuna. However, Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), the main airport in Sri Lanka, nearby underrated Negombo is only 2 to 3 hours away by car or bus. 

You can also take a scenic train from Fort Station in Colombo to Galle, which is located 5 kms away from Unawatuna. The train ride takes around 2 to 2.5 hours.

Do check the timetables, as the train only goes twice daily. From Galle, you can take a short tuktuk ride or a bus to Unawatuna. 

It’s also possible to get a private taxi driver to get you to Unawatuna from your previous destination.

We personally took a private taxi from the surf town Hiriketiya to the Unawatuna area, which took around 1 hour and fifteen minutes. 

How many days in Unawatuna?

I would suggest spending around 3 days in Unawatuna. There is enough to do here to keep you occupied for 3 full days. It’s also very easy to visit nearby towns from Unawatuna.

Streets Sri Lanka

Where to stay?

There are many accommodation options in Unawatuna. However, I highly recommend staying at one of the following places:  

JJ JungleJoy Villa: for a serene jungle apartment

This beautiful place is located in between Jungle Beach and Unawatuna Beach (10-15 minutes away by foot). Here you won’t find any crowds of tourists. This is the ultimate place to relax, while still having lots to do. Click here to view their latest prices.  

Horizon Villa: for a tropical villa with swimming pool

Always wanted to have a gorgeous villa with swimming pool all for yourself? This is your chance! Stay at Horizon Villa for an unforgettable stay, nearby all attractions, yet in a peaceful environment. This place will also be ideal for families or a larger group of people. Click here to see their latest prices and more.  

Serenity Boutique – Unawatuna: for a unique stay

Another great place to stay at is Serenity Boutique in Unawatuna. This **** star boutique hotel is truly magnificent and is accompanied by a beautiful swimming pool. If you prefer to stay in a unique hotel, then opt for Serenity Boutique. Click here to check out their prices.  

Agnus Unawatuna: for gorgeous sea views

If you want to have an unforgettable experience nearby the beach, then opt for Agnus Unawatuna instead. Especially their swimming pool overlooking the sea is incredible. Click here to see their latest prices and more photos. 

What to do here?

There are a lot of things to do in Unawatuna. I highly recommend doing the following activities: 

Visit Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is a beautiful secluded beach located around 1.5 kms from the main beach of Unawatuna. To get to the beach you have to walk through a small jungle area for around 15 minutes.

The path towards the beach is what makes it extra special. I must admit we got a little lost at first.

After walking for 5 minutes, you can either go to the left or you can carry on walking. We went to the left, but apparently this was the wrong way.

We ended up at a beautiful sight, but there was no beach there. So keep in mind that you should just keep on walking for around 15 minutes. 

Even though this beach is quite secluded, there were still quite a lot of tourists here. Therefore, I would suggest visiting this beach in the early morning to have a more peaceful experience.

Jungle Beach

Unawatuna Jungle Beach
A wrong turn led us here

Relax at Unawatuna Beach

Unawatuna Beach is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka. The waters are perfect for swimming and the sea here was one of the calmest I have encountered in Sri Lanka.

Simply relax at Unawatuna Beach and enjoy its many restaurants and beach bars. 

Wander around town

I think one of the best parts about Unawatuna is to just wander around its town. Explore Unawatuna on foot and find yourself getting lost in small alleyways. Grab a coffee at one of its many cafes and enjoy what Unawatuna has to offer.

Visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda

For a more cultural experience in Unawatuna, visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda. The Peace Pagoda was built by a Japanese Buddhist monk called Nichidatsu Fujii. The building was completed in 2005.

The Japanese Peace Pagoda is located on a hill overlooking the ocean, and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. 

Join a cooking class at Wasantha’s Sri Lanka Cuisine

Joining a cooking class in Sri Lanka will be an unforgettable experience. Personally, I would highly recommend taking a cooking class at Wasantha’s Sri Lanka Cuisine.

Here you will learn how to prepare authentic Sri Lankan dishes and at the end of your class you will get to enjoy the food you’ve made! This is also a great way to support a local family in Sri Lanka. 

Go surfing in Unawatuna

Another great way to spend your time here is to go surfing. The best time to go surfing in Unawatuna is from December to April, when the swell is larger.

There are quite a lot of surf schools and surf shops in Unawatuna that offer lessons or board rentals.

You can go surfing at the eastern side of Unawatuna beach. Other surf spots in the area worth checking out are Dewata Beach and Weligama Beach.


Go on day trips to other beach towns

It’s very easy to go on daytrips from here to other beach towns in the area. For example, you can easily visit Mirissa, Weligama, the surf walhalla Hiriketiya or Ahangama from here. These are all coastal towns worth exploring. 

Especially Ahangama is a really underrated beach destination in Sri Lanka I think. While you’re there, pay a visit to the restaurant overlooking the beach called Pickled Pelicans. They’re one of the most underrated places in Sri Lanka and offer gorgeous sea views. 

Another worthwhile day trip from Unawatuna is to go shopping in Galle. It will only take around 15 minutes to get there by tuk tuk.


Ahangama Sri Lanka
Pickled Pelicans in Ahangama

Where to eat and drink in Unawatuna?

There are many amazing places to eat and drink in Unawatuna. However, there are a few places I would highly recommend going to: 

Koha Surf Lounge: for a chilled place

This place has a very chilled vibe to it. I think it’s one of the best places to have an afternoon drink or light lunch at in Unawatuna. That’s why I highly recommend visiting Koha Surf Lounge. Go and see for yourself why this is such a great place to visit in Unawatuna.


Sky Breeze: for sunset cocktails by the beach

The staff at Sky Breeze is really, really good and attentive. And the cocktails served here are great too! This place has a specific very chilled atmosphere to it. When we arrived here, we immediately felt at home.

You can go and have a refreshing dip in the sea to come back and drink your delicious cocktail. Even though this place is a little more expensive than other places, this definitely is one of my favorite places in the whole of Sri Lanka. 

Society: for lunch or coffee

Society is located in one of my favorite streets in Unawatuna. This is a really great and cosy spot to have lunch or coffee at. The staff is very kind and they serve high-quality food. Tip: go upstairs to have a nice view over the streets.

Unawatuna Society
Upstairs @Society

La Boheme: for wood oven pizzas

Again, the staff working here is very attentive and one of the best we have encountered in Sri Lanka. They serve really delicious wood oven pizzas (good portions).

To be honest, this place probably serves one of the best pizzas in Sri Lanka. I highly recommend paying a visit to this restaurant during your stay here. 

In conclusion

Unawatuna is one of the most touristic destinations in Sri Lanka, however it’s still a place worth exploring. There are many great cafes and restaurants, beautiful beaches and it’s really easy to go on day trips from here.

For more cultural experiences you can visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda or you can join a cooking class such as Wasantha’s Sri Lankan Cuisine.

All in all, there is a lot to do in this touristy beach town. Have you ever been to Unawatuna? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

Away with Danae


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