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Updated by Hiru Piumwardena on Jul 12, 2019
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Top Water Adventures to Try in Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is synonymous with fun in the sun in Sri Lanka, as the famed beaches of the city have tourists flocking to it from around the world. Buzzing with activity, the beaches of Hikkaduwa stop short of being overcrowded by offering a vast number of water related activities to try, ensuring that there is never a glut of people in one single place. Here are some of the best water adventures to try in Hikkaduwa.

1

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Snorkelling is an essential activity to try when you’re staying at the region’s best Hikkaduwa hotels. It’s exciting but also leisurely, and is the perfect way to get up close and (respectfully) personal with the beautiful coral reef that Hikka boasts of. Hikkaduwa is in fact a national marine park, one of the three that Sri Lanka has. Once you’ve hired some snorkelling equipment, you can take advantage of the amazingly clear water around the beaches and dive in for some fun. The coral is colourful and there are multitudes of schools of fish that swim past, making for a dizzyingly lovely experience. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to see a sea turtle or two! They lurk around the shores sometimes, and are quite relaxed in the presence of visitors.

2

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

There are a number of diving schools to choose from that allow you to dive and explore the blue waters of Hikkaduwa, a cool way to explore sights that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see! The diving season is usually from around October to April, but diving takes place outside of the season as well. Diving schools have guides that will safely take you around some unusual sites and sights, and you can choose to do a whole day of diving or just take up an afternoon or evening of it. There are a number of dives available, and they range from appreciating the beauty of fish and corals up close to seeing the juxtaposition of nature with some man made wrecks. Some dives focus on Sri Lanka’s rich coral reefs, through which a number of colourful fish make their way. Shoals of fish swim past, making for some beautiful pictures if you have an underwater camera or a special waterproof case for your phone. There are also a couple of wrecks, one of the world’s first oil tankers as well as an old ship that sank more than a hundred years ago. Some dives are perfect for beginners, as they are not very deep. Other dives are better for more experienced divers, but all the dives are lovely.

3

Surfing

Surfing

Offering something for someone at any level, the surfing experience at Hikkaduwa is undoubtedly a good one if the number of surfers, both local and foreign, is anything to go by. If you know nothing about the sport, then fear not, there are a number of locals who have set up shop to teach beginners the basics of using a board. These coaches are usually encouraging and helpful, and by the end of a lesson you should be hopefully be able to at least stand up on your board. Thereafter you can rent a board and practise for the rest of your stay, enjoying the waves. Experienced surfers have 3-4 place they can choose from to ride the waves, each progressively more difficult. These surf spots boast serious waves, and make for a very enjoyable day. The local surfing community is thriving, and welcoming of all. Be sure to try this out, no matter what your proficiency level is!

4

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

Another fulfilling activity is whale watching, which is one of those experiences that you will remember for the rest of your life. An opportunity to see different kinds of whales in their natural habitat. Whale watching tours can begin early in the AM so that you are out on the waves around the time that the whales are swimming around. Some of the species you will get to see include sperm whales, orcas and fin whales. Of course besides the whales you will get to see other interesting sea life, from dolphins to manta rays and even turtles swimming alongside the boat.

5

Swimming

One of the most basic water adventures you can have – but one that shouldn’t be left out – is simply swimming in the sea! The water is clear and refreshing and the calmness of the waves mean that swimming can be a family activity, as it is quite safe for little ones as well. Experienced swimmers can venture further into the sea, but the ocean just near the shore is just perfect. Don’t forget to lather on sunscreen, and of course you can intersperse your day with other replacing activities like reading and tanning in-between dips in the ocean.

6

Glass Bottom Boats

If you’ve done all the rest, or you simply want to enjoy the treasures of the ocean without getting wet, then a trip in one of the glass bottomed boats that dot the shorelines is perfect for you. Bargain for a good price, and then simply climb in and let the driver take you to the best spots. At your feet will be transparent glass that presents an aesthetically pleasing view of the beauty underneath the water. You will see seaweed, bits of coral in the white sand before the landscape (or seascape!) changes to the dazzling and unusual terrain of living, breathing coral. The muted tones of the surroundings contrasted with the vibrant coral and shoals of fish that dart across make for a very pleasant experience. Spotting the tropical fish as they weave their way through the coral is delightful, and is a good family experience. Once again, if you’re lucky then a sea turtle might wind its way towards you, giving you a view of its majestic presence.