Snorkeling in Sri Lanka is possible in many places. With more than 1500 kilometers of beautiful exotic beach, there is really room for everyone. You have lovely bays and you can go to beautiful white beaches. The return trips to the island are getting cheaper and the island itself is also very cheap. That is why snorkeling is so nice there!
Are you still looking for decent quality snorkeling gear for your next trip? We always advise to take this with you on your next trip so that you don’t pay for overpriced one use plastic versions. Check out our snorkeling equipment page for our personal recommendations.
The seasons in Sri Lanka
To find the right snorkeling spot, it is important that you look closely at what season you are in. That makes a big difference to the appearance of the beaches. The Moesson on the west side is the most beautiful in the summer, and the east in the winter. We have therefore mainly searched for places on the south coast, because you are in the middle here. Here you only have more rain in May to November. Look carefully in which season you can go where best!
East, west and south coast
Especially on the south coast you can look into the water beautifully. Especially in comparison with the west, where places can already be more touristy, the atmosphere is more relaxed. Here too, the beaches have already been discovered by tourism, but that is nothing compared to what you are used to from other countries. Fortunately, you are early!
Places to go snorkeling in Sri Lanka:
We have found the following places around the south coast. This is of course not everything, so don’t be afraid to go on a discovery adventure yourself!
Snorkeling in Unawatuna
Unawatuna is relatively the busiest and most touristy beach in Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is actually a village with a beautiful bay. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the palm trees wave quietly. The sea is a bit rough, but because it is located in a small bay, it is very swimable. Also in terms of facilities, the village of Unawatuna is equipped with the most conveniences. Think of things like a few restaurants, bars, hotels and souvenir shops. For something similar, take a look at the Arugam Bay!
Snorkeling in Unawatuna is also very easy. Underwater it is not very colorful but you do have many different types of fish.
Snorkeling in Sri Lanka: Galle
Galle, a historic port city, is a 15-minute drive from Unawatuna. The Dutch have also been to Sri Lanka and here is a well-preserved fortress from the 17th century. If you are in Unawatuna, this is definitely recommended!
Snorkeling in Mirissa
The further east you drive, the smaller and more relaxed the bays and towns become. Now Unawatuna was still fairly touristy, Mirissa is already less so. The village is mainly visited by young people, surfers for example. That shows itself very well in the area. The beach is filled with cottages, nice bungalows and restaurants. For example, the restaurants serve the (freshly) caught fish in the evening!
With regard to snorkeling, you can go into the water yourself in the bay or you can book a tour through a diving center. When you do the latter there is a very good company in the area that offer a positive experience: Look here !. You can schedule a day for this, for example, and then they let you swim with turtles!
Snorkeling in Sri Lanka: Tangalle
If you’re looking for an even quieter place than the two above, here is Tangalle. In Tangalle is the Goyambokka beach. Here you can snorkel beautifully and it is very quiet. It is therefore only very small. The beach is barely 250 meters long but is in a beautiful setting. It is harder to reach because it is far from a motorway and it is surrounded by cliffs and palm trees. With your jungle directly behind you you are very nicely alone.
Snorkeling in Sri Lanka: Arugam Bay
To conclude, here is a slightly more touristy place that can be a very good destination, especially for young people on holiday. This is a real surfing village as you know it from the movies. During the day there are many tents with wonderful chairs and cushions, and nice music. In the evening this stays open for a long time and you can enjoy the sea with a party or a nice campfire. Because it is a slightly touristic place, it is better to make a reservation in advance, just like at Unawatuna. Highly recommended for backpackers!