After 6 days lounging around the beaches of Tangalle, we headed west up the coast of Sri Lanka by bus to the small town of Unawatuna. We had heard about some special beaches in the area, in particular Jungle Beach Unawatuna.
We had booked a 3-night stay at Sam’s Guest House, located on the inland side of the main coast road. This was literally across the road from the bus stop where we alighted.
Sam’s Guesthouse – A Haven on the Busy Road
Sam’s Guest House is one of the friendliest guesthouses we stayed at in Sri Lanka. We were made very welcome, and their food was really delicious.
They have 4 rooms, 2 at the front and 2 at the back, plus a large communal terrace at the front. The rooms are clean and tidy, and the family are very helpful providing directions and organizing trips.
Sam’s Guest House is right on the busy Colombo road, so it can get a bit noisy sitting on the terrace. However, with the bus stop right across the road, this is an easy place to get to and from.
The Beach Scene in Unawatuna
After spending time on the endless beaches of Tangalle, Unawatuna feels a little compact – and very touristy. On the main strip, the beach area was packed to capacity with beach beds and sun-worshipping westerners.
The main strip was a bit too crowded for our liking. Walking further east along the beach we found more space to move, and more locals enjoying the sand and surf. Before setting out we’d loaded up on exotic fruit: wood apple, jack fruit, red bananas, and our personal favorite – soursop, a custard-textured tangy delight.
We found a quiet spot in the shade to enjoy our nutritious lunch.
Monkey Business at Jungle Beach
Although we didn’t like the busy main tourist strip in Unawatuna, you can walk a couple of kilometers in either direction away from the center to reach more secluded beaches.
In particular, a place worth visiting for the day is Jungle Beach. This is not far from the Japanese Peace Pagoda which is located on the headland between Unawatuna and Galle.
Jungle Beach is well worth the 40-minute walk from the town, through a dense jungle and up steep cliffs, but the sight of the beach made it all worthwhile. The crystal-clear water and stunning scenery were straight out of a postcard.
But what really stole the show were the monkeys! These mischievous little creatures were everywhere, swinging from tree to tree and stealing food from unsuspecting tourists.
This is a perfect place for swimming and snorkeling. The coral reefs were teeming with colorful fish, and we even spotted a sea turtle. If the beach restaurant doesn’t get too busy, it’s a relaxing place to eat, and there’s good food to be had – the barracuda & salad went down very nicely!
Nightlife in Unawatuna
In the evening, Unawatuna comes alive with lights and music. There are plenty of places to eat and drink, but we preferred the relative peace and the excellent cuisine of Sam’s Guest House.
Each evening we were served typical Sri Lankan dishes prepared by the family.
We’ll Be Back!
Our three-day stay in Unawatuna and visit to Jungle Beach was one of the highlights of our Sri Lankan adventure. We left with a newfound appreciation for the natural beauty of the island and the warm hospitality of its people.
If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country, make sure to check out the beaches of Tangalle and Unawatuna, including the hidden gem of Jungle Beach Unawatuna. Stay at Sam’s Guest House for a haven on the busy road, and don’t forget to load up on exotic fruits for the perfect beach snack.
And most importantly, don’t be afraid to explore and find your own personal oasis in the middle of paradise.
Next, we would be taking take a short bus ride on the next leg of our journey… around the headland to the old Portuguese city of Galle.
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