Coral Reef Hikkaduwa

October 30, 2020

Coral Reef Hikkaduwa

Isn’t it magnificent to explore the ocean? There are a number of colourful fishes within the ocean, and let’s not forget the shipwrecks that have historical relevance.

Hikkaduwa is a coastal town in the southern part of Sri Lanka. It is particularly appreciated for the beauty of its seabed, its hippie chic atmosphere, but also and especially for its surf spots. As a reminder, the city began to seduce hippies around the 70s. Despite the devastation of the Tsunami in 2004, it has been rebuilt and is now the trendiest and animated city compared to its neighbors. Along a 4 km street are hotels, guest houses, bars, restaurants, disco and shops.

During your stay, you will have the opportunity to discover all the colors and shapes in its marine nature. The Coral Garden seems to be one of the most fascinating in the country. You can also visit the Hikkaduwa National Park which is only few miles away.

In general, at the coral reef Hikkaduwa, you will discover a large number of corals called Gampara!

Here’s an elaborate post that tells you everything about the Coral Reef Hikkaduwa. We will talk about how you can reach the coral reef, and the best time to reach there. There is so much we need to tell our readers through this informative post. So, pull up your socks, as we are going to explore CORAL REEF HIKKADUWA.

About Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is known for its pristine beaches and the coral reefs. Did you know that Hikkaduwa is known for having one of the best coral gardens in the world? Now that you are aware of it, we would like you to know more about this.

Coral Garden Hikkaduwa

The beach reefs at Hikkaduwa are the most diverse and accessible. Coral Garden is a typical coral reef with a shallow ridge, in a protected lagoon. Up to about 200 meters from the coast, the sea is very shallow. A limestone reef protects the corals from high tide.

About 60 species of hard corals have been recorded, as well as more than 170 species of reef fish. There are large stands of Montipora cabbage-type corals and small stands of branched acropora corals, as well as rocks and inlaid corals.

Among the corals, there are frequently colorful reef fish such as scalars, butterflies, parrot fish, snappers and girolles. Some large turtles have also taken up residence in the reef. Chances are, you could swim with a 5 foot large turtle! Walk in the middle of this splendid garden but avoid trampling the corals for the respect of the environment. If you prefer not to get wet, opt for a glass-bottom boat trip.

Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts will indeed enjoy this experience! In case you want to explore the coral reef, just hire a boat with a glass bottom. This way you will be able to witness the beauty within the water body. Also, the water is not as deep so even non-swimmers can go inside and try to swim. Perhaps you could learn how to swim here! Just so you know, the water is 3-4m deep.

Since some of the coral reefs are quite close to the main beach, you can take snorkel gear on rent and explore it. You will find fishes of different sizes and colors. Kids enjoy this snorkel trip because the water is not as deep and they can easily swim in shallow water. Plus, the parents can keep an eye on what their kids are up to!

Some of the fishes that you will find here are:

  • Gobies
  • Dragonets
  •  Eels
  •  Blennies

These fishes can be found under the sand. They appear to be shy creatures who like to stay under the coral skeletons. Many of the ornamental fishes exist within the water body. These include angel fish, sea goldies, and butterfly fish. Apart from these, you can also find octopus, starfish, shrimp, and crabs. Yes, there are reef sharks too and they can be as large as six feet. If you are worried about your child’s safety, take a tour guide with you to stay safe.

The reef sharks are harmless, but they might bite if they get provoked. Ideally, do not make splashing noises to keep them away. It is recommended to swim in the shallow side to avoid any contact with the reef sharks. Only professional snorkelers can explore the deeper water, but always take a guide along with you. Yes, you have seen it in movies how sharks bite people and it is considered to be a tragedy. But, you can be safe and sound if you are at the shallow end.

Another type of fish that can be deadly is the lionfish. The name itself is a giveaway. Although these are small in size, but the spiny fins of these creatures are deadly. The fins carry poison! Hence, tell your friends and kids to not mess with the sea creatures as they can be dangerous to hold or catch. If the purpose is to go fishing, your tour guide will tell you about the best places. But, at the coral reef, you must take all the precautions.

Coral Reef Hikkaduwa2 Coral Reef Hikkaduwa

If you are lucky enough, you will spot Olive Ridley turtles and the Hawksbill too. Turtles are shy creatures! If you try to get intimate with the turtle, it hides in its shell. Do not try to hold the turtle or any other creature as it is considered disturbing their natural habitat.

There is an old saying, ‘BEAUTY IS GOOD TO SEE, BUT NOT TO TOUCH.’

You must watch the turtles and other beautiful sea creatures from a distance, but never try to pet them or catch their slimy body.

How to Reach Hikkaduwa?

Unawatuna is 157 km from Colombo Airport and 5 km from Galle.

The first stop is to reach the city of Galle. To get there, if you leave Colombo, you have the choice between the bus, the private car with driver, or the train.

The road conditions are good, but depending on the traffic, the journey can last between 3 to 4 hours. The duration of the train journey is almost the same because of the frequent stops in the stations that separate these two destinations.

Then, once you arrive in Galle, you can take a tuk-tuk or even walk to Unawatuna beach.

The Best Time to Leave

Unawatuna being a seaside destination, the best time to go there, to enjoy the sun and the beach, is during the dry season between December and March.

You must head to the destination when the water is clear and even the sky is not expecting storms. When people head to this destination, they expect indulge in adventurous activities such as surfing and snorkeling. To indulge in these activities, you must choose a season that has clear skies and calm water. Ideally, visit the destination between November to April.

However, this period coincides with the peak tourist season. Unfortunately the crowd will be bigger on the beach but also in the hotels.

In general, you could choose among the following tourist seasons of Hikkaduwa

  • Low season in Hikkaduwa – The months with the lowest attendance are: April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.
  • High season in Hikkaduwa – Attendance at Hikkaduwa is high in: January, February, March and December.
  • Very high season in Hikkaduwa – Peak tourist traffic in Hikkaduwa: December

Please note walking on the corals or collecting live creatures is not pleasant. Since you are a tourist, you must respect the ocean, the people, and your surroundings. Do not disturb the habitat of animals or aquatic creatures while you are in Sri Lanka!

Climate in Hikkaduwa

In May, the average temperature is 28.3°C. May is therefore the warmest month of the year. January is the coldest month of the year. The average temperature is 26.6°C at this time.

Things to Do at the Coral Reef Hikkaduwa

Coral Reef Hikkaduwa3 Coral Reef Hikkaduwa
  • Contemplating the sea turtles – Having the chance to visit a country like Sri Lanka is an opportunity to discover its nature and wildlife. In the coral reef Hikkaduwa, you can indeed meet nice sea turtles. You will also find them on the side of Hikkaduwa Beach.

    They are used to walking around the side of the coral garden. They are often present during the day, but the best time to observe them is at about 8 am and also in the late afternoon. In general, during these times of the day, the sea is very calm and the visibility is optimal. You should know that it is possible to feed them with green algae that you can buy in the surrounding area.
  • Diving and snorkeling– For snorkeling, the coral reef Hikkaduwa is the ideal spot. The sea is quiet and shallow. In addition, the rental of equipment such as the mask and snorkel is accessible on the whole beach.

    There are also a large number of beach diving centers where travelers can explore the local marine world.

It is possible for everyone and depending on the level of each, to explore the reefs and rocky areas up to a depth of 30 meters.

Some wrecks are scattered in the vicinity for the most daring. No matter what type of dive you make, you will be blown away by the beauty of the underwater world of Hikkaduwa.

Hikkaduwa National Park

Do you like to watch marine animals and dive into the deep blue sea? If so, you must absolutely make sure to visit Hikkaduwa National Park in Sri Lanka, one of only three marine national parks in the country.

Created as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979 and later transformed into a nature reserve the year after 1988, Hikkaduwa National Park is the ideal place for snorkeling and diving due to the shallow fringing reef of this park. If you love the ocean and want to explore this national park, we have all the basic information you need to know before visiting it.

Coral Reefs of the Park

The reefs of this magnificent park are extremely rich in biodiversity and are home to various species of fish 170, as well as other marine species such as crabs, oysters, shrimp and others.

This is your chance to get close to these sea creatures and see how they live in their natural habitat. It is certainly a fun experience for families of all ages, whether you’re travelling with young children or with seniors.

How to Reach Hikkaduwa National Park?

By plane: The two closest airports to Hikkaduwa National Park are Koggala National Airport (54km) and Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (115km).

By road: You can take a taxi from Koggala, and from there it will take you only an hour to reach Hikkaduwa National Park.

By train: Take the train from Colombo Fort Railway Station to Hikkaduwa Railway Station. The journey takes about an hour and a half. The nearest railway stations to the park are Thiranagama Railway Station and Kumarkanda Railway Station.

Once you in the park, you can simply get a map of Hikkaduwa National Park to explore the park. Ideally, take a tour guide with you as they will be able to explain the surroundings.

How is the weather at Hikkaduwa National Park?

The weather is pleasant, warm, and sunny. Avoid going here in the monsoon season as the water is not as calm.

Things You Can Do Here

You can indulge in a number of activities at Hikkaduwa National Park. These include:

1. Snorkeling – Are you ready to see about 170 species of fishes? If the answer is a YES then head to Hikkaduwa National Park.

2. Boat With Glass Bottom Tour – Witness the beauty of the ocean through the glass bottom. The coral garden boat tour is fun and it is a must for kids and families. If you are too scared of snorkeling or swimming in the water, this tour is perfect. You will get a spectacular view of the coral! Another benefit of this tour is that you can see the whole tour of the park. That’s a benefit, right?

Here’s a sneak peek of the glass bottom boat tour at Hikkaduwa. The experience is quite interesting and you are able to see different types of fishes. Even the waves crashing and open skies make you feel wonderful.

3. Scuba Diving – Isn’t it amazing to head deep into the water and view the wondrous creatures?

Practical Info

Opening hours: 7 AM – 6: 30 PM

Ticket price: INR 150 per person

Where To Stay At Hikkaduwa?

When in Hikkaduwa, you will have no shortage of options. There are many accommodation options near the beach. Please note that tourists with all kinds of budgets can find a place to stay here.

Accommodation starts as low as $10 a day. That is roughly 800 rupees a day. The cost of living in Sri Lanka for a tourist is quite inexpensive. That’s why it is considered one of the most travel-friendly places across the globe. The food, accommodation, adventure activities, and transport cost is quite cheap.

As for the staying options, you can head to the following hotels/resorts:

  • Hikka Tranz
  • Villa Saffron
  • Coral Sands
  • Chaaya Inn Hotel
  • Lazy Koala
  • Cozy Sea View Inn
  • Roman Beach
  • FinLanka
  • Kalla Bongo Lake Resort
  • Villa Shanthi
  • Hotel Moon Beam
  • Thambili Cabanas
  • Villa Tara
  • Avenra Beach Hotel
  • Hikkaduwa Beach Hotel

The list goes on! You can also find Airbnb listings. Just choose your budget, location, and dates. You will find a number of options to choose from.

Some of the hotels and resorts offer a sea view. Since you are intending to visit the coral reef, it is best to choose a hotel that offers the view of the water outside. When you wake up in the morning, there will be mesmerizing wind and you will be able to see the rays of the sunshine.

Heading to Hikkaduwa for a holiday is a dream-come-true. Although Sri Lanka has many destinations to choose from, but Hikkaduwa is a must for beach lovers. If you are planning to indulge in water sports, this is the best place to be. You can surf and even snorkel! Speaking of surfing, there are a number of surfing schools where you can learn the water sport.

Did you know that Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to surf? It has perfect waves for beginners as well as intermediates. Choose a season when the water is calmer and the waves are perfect. Monsoon season is not the best time to visit Hikkaduwa.

Concluding Thoughts

The journey started in the year 1979 and it was first a wildlife sanctuary.

Later on, it turned into a reserve in the year 1988.

In the year 2012, it was officially given the status of a NATIONAL PARK.

If you are interested in exploring the aquatic life, head to Coral Reef Hikkaduwa. You will find yourself mesmerized by the beauty of the coral reef. Additionally, don’t forget to catch a good seafood meal around the park.


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Hi, I am Richard, I moved to Sri Lanka with my family in 2016. We launched the website so we can share what we experience, learn with anyone interested in visiting Sri Lanka. The country is such an amazing island. I invite all of you to be here at least once in your lifetime.