Hiriketiya is a horseshoe-shaped bay along Sri Lanka’ s South Coast where intense turquoise waters hit the golden beach flanked by a lush palm tree jungle. Thanks to its laid-back vibe, Hiriketiya is a hidden gem and attracts a certain type of visitor, mainly surfers, yoga ehnthusiastics and creatives. This combination makes a vibrant melting pot of cultures from this tiny beach town. The mix of locals and expats works perfectly in Hiriketiya and even led to the opening of the first Digital Nomad co-working and living space in Sri Lanka, Verse Collective. Hiriketiya is therefore a great place for Digital Nomads to base yourself for some time. To get work done, but also to enjoy the waves, beautiful beach and fun things to do in and around Hiriketiya.
Best tours in and around Hiriketiya
If you’re planning to explore the best of what Sri Lanka’s south coast has to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Whale watching in Mirissa. Get a chance to see blue whales, sperm whales, and fin whales as they swim in their natural habitat in Mirissa. A once in a lifetime experience!
- Yala safari experience with lunch at campsite. Experience a private full-day tour. Be collected from Galle or Mirissa to Yala National Park to witness leopards, bears, elephants, deer, crocodiles, and many more. Then enjoy a 4-course lunch with beer at Leopard Nest campsite in the jungle.
Surfing at Hiriketiya beach
Hiriketiya is a real surfers paradise thanks to the perfect left-hander and the very relaxed atmosphere. With waves rolling in 10 months a year, Hiriketiya bay provides a challenge for all grades of surfers. The smaller swell during the peak season from December – February is great for beginners, while the waves are at their best from August until December. During that time intermediate and experienced surfers can take on the left-handers rolling perfectly into shore.
The constant waves flanked by a lush palm jungle give you the perfect feeling of a tropical surfers paradise. There are several surf shacks from where you can rent a surfboard for around 250 rupee which is a bargain. Be warned though, because of the small bay, the waves can get busy from mid-morning to sunset. So if you’re an early bird, get out for a sunrise surf sesh!
Live the Digital Nomad life at Verse Collective
A huge plus for us while staying in Hiriketiya was that we could get work done at the Co-working space Verse Collective. With fast and free wifi, tasty food and refreshing drinks, uploading new blog posts and videos at Verse Collective was a welcome relief from the slow internet in most of Sri Lanka.
Further more Verse Collective has views on the sea which gives a huge boost in motivation to work harder so we could chill later that day at the beach In just 1 minute walk you’re with your feet in the sand.
Verse Collective features a huge outdoor space to work and eat, chill couches, cats and a skate pipe. They also rent out dorm rooms and double rooms for guests who want to be close to the sea and have a working space.
Go on a whale watching tour in Mirissa
Mirissa is a great place to go whale watching. The whale watching season in Mirissa runs from November to April, but for your best chance to see a whale you have to visit in March or April. Book your whale and dolphin watching tour here to secure your spot. If you are lucky you can get to see many different types of whales and dolphins. Some examples are Blue whales, Bryde’s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales and Orca’s have all been spotted along the coast of Mirissa. Other species that can be spotted are Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins. You also have the chance of seeing turtles and various fish species. For example, Bluefin tuna and flying fish, so there are lots of options to spot marine life during a whale watching tour in Mirissa.
Check the Hummanaya Blow Hole
The Hummanaya Blowhole is the only blowhole in Sri Lanka and is considered to be the second largest blowhole in the world. Located 7 kilometres from Hiriketiya, this is a perfect stop for a quick visit if you’re on your way to Tangalle beach. Hummanaya is a natural blowhole which is extra powerful when the sea is rough. A submerged cave pushes the sea water upwards what results in a huge natural water fountain. The sea water flows underneath the shore, and then comes out of this hole due to the pressure. The water fountain created by this geological feature shoots up every couple of minutes, with the spray often reaching 25 up to 30 meter depending on the wind and power of the sea.
Entrance fee is 250 rupee per person.
Relax and watch the sunset at Hiriketiya beach
Visiting Hiriketiya beach is of course some of the things you will be doing a lot when staying in Hiriketiya. The horse shoe shaped bay with waving palmtrees is a lovely hidden gem and perfect for an afternoon beach walk. The sunsets in Sri Lanka are amazing and worth to see every evening. But also don’t forget to check out the other beaches closeby such as Dikwella beach. After the sunset you can go to Jasper house for some food and drinks while still hearing the waves of the ocean. True paradise vibes!
Do yoga at Salt House Hiriketiya
For those who love a yoga session, Salt House is the best Hiriketiya yoga spot. With an open elevated Shala set amongst the jungle of Hiriketiya, a yoga session at Salt House is the perfect start of the day. Salt House also hosts yoga and surf retreats, so if you’re looking for a week of complete surf & zen vibes you’d do well to join one of these.
Visit Dondra Lighthouse
Dondra Head Lighthouse is a lighthouse located on Dondra Head which is the southernmost point in Sri Lanka. Dondra lighthouse is Sri Lanka’s tallest lighthouse with 47 metres, and is even one of the tallest lighthouses in South East Asia! The lighthouses was built by the British in 1889 and is nowadays still operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. It’s a half an hour drive from Hiriketiya, and you can combine a visit to Dondra lighthouse easily with a day trip to Mirissa.
Eat healthy at the great cafes and restaurants
Hiriketiya has some amazing cafes and restaurants serving healthy food. From smoothie bowls to yummy avo on toast and finger licking delicious burgers. There is something for everyone. These were our favourite restaurants:
- Malu Poke: the best smoothie bowls of Hiriketiya.
- Verse Collective; great coffee and food, perfect to get work done.
- The Grove Lanka: For lunch or dinner in a beautiful, green setting.
- Peter’s Place: A cosy restaurant right along the sea. The food is average but the overall vibe is really chill!
- Dots Bay House Hiriketiya: Yummy food and a very cosy vibe!
- Salt House: Great food and a lovely setting in the garden.
Explore Secret Beach Mirissa
If you want to relax on a more quiet and hidden beach, you might want to check out Secret Beach Mirissa. This idyllic V formed beach with overhanging palm trees was once only known by locals. But since it’s on Google Maps, more and more tourists found this Secret Beach. There is a local bar, the Secret Beach Bar which is located under the trees and is the perfect place to have lunch, a drink and relax in the shade. A perfect hideaway from the more busy Mirissa beach for a day!
Visit Wewrukannala Viharaya Buddhist temple
This temple is 50 meter high and is the largest seated Buddhist statue in Sri Lanka. The temple has three parts, the oldest being about 250 years old. There is also a temple museum at the site. A nice way to explore some Sri Lankan Buddhist culture close to Hiriketiya. Make sure to dress properly which means covering your knees and shoulders! The entrance is 100 rupee.
Do a day trip Tangalle beach
Tangalle beach is a bit of a hidden beach on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. It is one of those Sri Lanka beaches that is made for the paradise and peace seekers. Because this beach is a little bit hard to reach, not many people go here. Tangalle beach is a bit dislocated from the usual Sri Lanka itinerary, but it is so worth a visit! Tangalle beach is very quiet without beach bars and only a handful of visible resorts.
If you’re planning to visit in September or October you have to keep in mind that swimming will be dangerous because of the current and big waves. There is no beach duty present, so be careful!
Check out Blue beach island in Nilwella
Blue beach Island can be found in Nilwella just a few minutes outside of Hiriketiya. Blue beach Island is a tied island which means it an island connected to the mainland by a narrow piece of land. In Sri Lanka there are very few tied islands and this happens to be one. Blue Beach Island is a private property and if you want, you can rent the island for camping. They have an all-inclusive camping package for a very reasonable price and provide all the meals and equipment. They don’t have a website yet but you can contact them via Facebook.
Swing at the palmtrees on Dikwella beach
If you’re looking for the famous swing at Dikwella beach, don’t be disappointed because there is only 1 left. We searched Dikwella Beach for some time and asked locales, showed them pictures, and had to conclude the ‘famous’ palm tree swing at Dickwella beach is gone. BUT, luckily there is still another swing right around the corner at Mahi Mahi Restaurant. They have built some swings on the two palm trees right on the beach. It’s pretty sweet to swing while the sun is setting with the beautiful view over the sea. Make sure to order a beer or coconut at Mahi Mahi and enjoy the sunset!
Where to stay in Hiriketiya
Depending on your budget there are lots of accommodations to book in Hiriketiya. Hotels, beach bungalows, a villa with pool, family room or share hostel rooms. Whatever your needs are, it’s available in Hiriketiya. We stayed at Sea View Clay House which was a simple bungalow but very relaxing with the sound of the waves in the background. It was a great spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful sea view and it was just a few minutes walk to Hiriketiya beach!
More Sri Lanka travel inspiration
We hope you enjoyed our 12 tips to do in and around Hiriketiya. We highly recommend you to visit this hidden gem before it gets busier with tourists.
For more Sri Lanka travel tips, head over to our other Sri Lanka travel guides: