Mirissa is a city on the South coast of Sri Lanka. It is not big and mostly known for the whale watching tours. The whole center of the city is one straight street that goes along the beach. Although most people coming here come to see whales, there are a few things that you might be interested to do, while you are staying in Mirissa.
The best way to get to Mirissa from Colombo is by car. There is a highway and it will take just two and a half hours drive. But the best in our case means the faster and not the cheapest. For this you can rent a car (to rent a car for a month cost around $500) or to take a taxi, which can be quite expensive (around $40 – $50).
Another way is to take a train from Maradana railway station. There is a fairly comfortable train that leaves at 3:26 PM (the time can change) and it will take 3 and a half hours to get to Mirissa including one change at the railway station Matara. This option is going to be cheaper of course, so depends on your preference you can take a car or a train to Mirissa.
Of course the first thing to do in Mirissa is to find a good tour to see whales, since it is probably the reason you came here in the first place. My advice is to not book the tour online. You can get a cheaper price at the location. There are lots of places on the Mirissa beach that offer a boat tours, so you can check them there. We arrived at 6 PM in Mirissa and still got a tour for the next morning. The ticket price was Rs 7000 ($38) for one (online was Rs 9000).
I must say the tours are well organized. In the morning you will be picked up at your hotel by the car or a tuktuk and brought to the marina. On the boat they serve coffee and tea and after the boat leave the harbor, breakfast. The boat ride takes around 4 – 5 hours of whale watching and if you are lucky turtles and the other sea creatures.
Try to find a private small speed boat if you can, they are faster and most likely you would be able to see more from a boat like that.
If you have money and want to see the whales properly just get a plane tour. That is the experience that you won’t forget. The price of a such a tour is $150 a person.
If you are not planning on spending a hundred fifty dollars on a tour and can’t find a private boat, try to get on the smallest boat you can find.
To be honest I didn’t enjoy whale watching and don’t think it’s worth it, but other people have said they had amazing times, so I guess you just have to get really lucky.
Price: Rs 7000;
Hours: everyday: 6 AM to 11 AM;
Location: mihiriwella Road, Mirissa 81740, Sri Lanka;
Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of relaxing on the beach. Mirissa beach is quite big and beautiful. There are a few restaurants where you can get a drink or lunch and local vendors are selling coconuts along the sand.
You can rent a sunbed with the umbrella on the beach, but my advice is to find a hotel by the beach with a pool and rent a chair from them. We ended up with paying Rs 500 ($2,5) per person for a sunbed on the beach with the access to the big pool. To get a glass of beer at the beach is not more than to get it at the street (Rs 400). Overall Mirissa beach seemed to be very clean with soft sand and relaxing vibe.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Mirissa beach, Sri Lanka;
Although it is called a Secret beach it is not a secret place at all, at least right now. The beach is located 15 minutes from Mirissa and to get there you can use a tuktuk, just tell them to take you to Secret beach and all of the drivers will know where to go. The tuktuk price can be from Rs 300 to Rs 500 all dependent on your negotiation skills. The tuktuk will take you to a spot from where you will have to walk for 5 – 10 minutes. The walk can be tricky so better to pay attention and watch your step.
The beach itself kind of small, but very beautiful with clean water and jungles around it. Although there can be lots of dead corals on the beach that makes it painful to walk without shoes. It is a nice place to relax and bring the kids with you since the water is knee high and it is safe for kids to play, but not the greatest spot for adults to swim, it is more of a floating place.
The Secret beach contains two parts. Walking from the drop off point you will get to the part where water is sometimes rough and wavy. You of course can stay there, or if you are looking for something quieter just go further around the corner and that is the place with a calm lagoon that is protected by the rock formation. At the beach you can find a restaurant with delicious food and friendly staff and if you are looking for something to drink, there is a vendor selling fresh coconuts. Overall the place is fantastic, and I highly recommend you to visit it if you are staying in Mirissa.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Secret beach, Mirissa;
Parrot Rock is a small rock formation right off of Mirissa beach that you can climb up. The way to the rock leads through the water and it is best not to bring many valuable things in your pockets. If the water is rough and wavy, I don’t recommend going there especially if you are not a good swimmer. The current can be really strong and the row of the rocks that people use to get to parrot rock is slippery.
The best time for visiting the rock is at sunset. From the top of the rock you can see two bays and golden hour is the best for pictures. Once you are on the rock be sure to walk to the other side and enjoy the view of the sea. If you are going to climb Parrot rock during the day, be sure to bring along slippers with you, since during the day hours the rocks are getting very hot and it is very uncomfortable and even painful to walk barefoot.
Price: free of charge;
Location: Mirissa beach, Sri Lanka;
Coconut Tree Hill is a fantastic viewpoint that should be on the must do list for Mirissa. Same as Secret beach, the farm is located not far from the city and you can just get a tuktuk to take you here.
The coconut farm is owned by the temple and you are required to buy a ticket. The price is not high at all – Rs 150 (less than $1) per person. It is best to wear sneakers since the land is quite slippery (it is not solid but sandy). Another danger that can wait for you there are the coconuts. When it is windy and sometimes when it is not windy at all the coconuts can just fall down the tree and it is important to be fast and not let it fall on your head.
The best time to visit if you would like to avoid crowd is in the morning. And if you will get there early enough you can get a majestic view of the sunrise. During the golden hours and sunrise and sunset the Coconut Tree Hill looks amazing, but unfortunately the place is super crowded as well.
Price: Rs 150;
Hours: all day;
Location: Coconut Tree Hill;
Another activity that you can try is surfing and Mirissa beach is great for it. The whole time the water is full of great waves that you can ride. No matter if you are a professional or a beginner this place has something to offer for both.
The best time to do surfing in Mirissa is from the end of Autumn to the beginning of Spring.
Mirissa is another great location to get the seafood. There are lots of restaurants around the city that offer fresh seafood. Check the recommended places down below.
Another way to try a good seafood and do it cheap is to go to the fish market. The seafood is usually fresh there, but still make sure before buying. And if you found what you want to eat get it. The final price will depend on your haggle talent. Just take your seafood to a restaurant and ask them to cook it. The cooking fee won’t be big and you will enjoy a delicious fresh seafood dish for a discount.
Shady Lane Mirissa (breakfast, lunch)
Aloha Coffee Gallery (breakfast, lunch)
Wood Space (breakfast, lunch)
Hangover Cafe (American food, good burgers)
Turtle Bay Restaurant (Seafood)
Roti Shop Mirissa (seafood)
Big Belly Roti Hut (seafood, Asian)
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