To say that Sri Lanka is a beach lovers paradise is an understatement. Long strips of sandy beach are surrounded by thick palm tree foliage in one direction and crystal clear water in the other. The beaches are quite short, limiting the distance between your sunbathing spot and the sea, and exceptionally clean. Sri Lanka really cares about its beaches, in a way I never witnessed in India where piles of trash are often burning along the coast. Now after a few weeks exploring the beaches in Sri Lanka’s south gold coast I thought I had seen the best of the best. Then I got my first glimpse of Hiriketiya.
Hiriketiya is a horseshoe bay located quite centrally on the bottom curve of Sri Lanka. Hiriketiya is a recent discovery amongst international tourist but the beach has yet to be altered by mass tourism and still has an authentic beach village atmosphere about it. During the monsoon season in June, I had the beach entirely to myself for hours until the surfers would paddle out to catch some waves. But if you’re like me, and not a surfer, you can snorkel in the shallow waters that are rich with coral and aquatic life to the left-hand side of the beach. In the center of the beach, there is much less coral so it is very safe to swim and play in the waves. Or, if you prefer, read in the shade of the palm trees as the ocean crashes nearby in one of the hammocks tied up at the Sea Breeze beachfront restaurant. Whatever you do, don’t miss dusk to witness a display of pastel colors turn the waves into a watercolor painting each night.
I did all of this and more during my stay at the luxe Salt House which was located a mere 60-second walk from Sri Lanka’s paradise cove. The beach house offers modern boutique accommodation with incredibly cozy rooms, unlimited filtered water, and my favorite thing, a partially outdoor shower so you can bathe in the shadow of the palm leaves! The on-site restaurant serves an eclectic west meets east mix of cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. Hello fish tacos, I’ve missed you so much!
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What really made me fall in love with the tropical beach house were the wonderful hosts, Rob, Cristal, and their three sweet rescue pups, Poppi, Disney, and Mr.Good. Cristal is incredibly passionate about their work with WE Care Worldwide. The animal charity provides free veterinary care to Sri Lanka’s stray dog population and helps place them with loving families. Donations can be made on site at Salt House to benefit the sweet pups. Poppi became my accountability buddy and kept me company as I worked in the mornings. Salt House is also committed to environmentally friendly practices and exclusively hire staff from the surrounding Dikwella area. My kind of place, if ya know what I mean!
Cristal is also the resident yoga instructor at Salt House and led me through a killer practice one morning that combined a series of core poses and some pilates moves. We broke a sweat due to the sun surrounding us with warmth as the occasional breeze made its way through the palm trees that surround the open air jungle yoga shala to cool us off. This is one getaway I am going to dream of for years to come, and I truly hope I’ll get to come back someday.
I finally pulled myself away from the tropical sea during a short burst of overcast to visit the nearby Buddhist temple, Wewurkannala Vihara. Over 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist, but more on that later when I visit central Sri Lanka. This temple is famed for its massive golden Buddha nestled at the top of a hill. The statute is 160 feet tall and is actually the largest Buddha image in the entire country! It has been a sacred place for Buddhist pilgrims since it was erected in the late 1700’s.
Learn about Sri Lankan customs and travel tips before your trip to ensure you don’t cause any offense.
I was invited to lunch at Sea View Tree House which is located on the shore between Hiriketiya and Dikwella. The locally owned restaurant and accommodation is family-run with two darling tree houses that face the sea. Lunch was seafood fried rice prepared with the catch of the day – crab, shrimp, tuna and a local white fish. It was absolutely delicious and I am not ashamed to say I was able to conquer this massive plate! I’ve gotten quite used to large proportions after spending the last 6 months in the sub-Indian continent. That’s going to need to change soon before my waist does!
Thank you, Salt House, for hosting me at Hiriketiya Beach. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.