Hiriketiya is known for being a great beginner surf beach and hippie yogi spot in Sri Lanka. It is beautiful with sandy white beaches and clear aqua blue water. Relaxed during the day with comfortable tanning chairs put out all around the beach for anyone to use while also having super cheap surfboards to rent 3 steps from the ocean and delicious homemade Sri Lankan food for sale all along the beach. Hiriketiya also has a bit of nightlife with excellent classy restaurants all along the beach selling fruity cocktails and lion beer. It is the perfect get away from the hustle and bustle of Colombo, the cool knuckles mountain ranges and thick jungle in the north.
When my partner and I went to Hiriketiya, we used booking.com to find our accommodation. There are tons of options to choose from in this small surfer town as the majority of the income in Hiriketiya is from tourists. We stayed at The Dream House which was absolutely wonderful. The family who lives in the main level of the house have the whole upstairs converted into a suite where you can rent out one out of three very nice bedrooms attached to a private bathroom while also sharing a well equipped kitchen and clean comfortable living room with the other renters. It was perfectly clean and well kept, making us feel right at home. We had a large comfortable queen bed and private outside bathroom and balcony. It was such an experience seeing the monkeys jump across the trees right outside our balcony, causing mischief and grief to the dog.
If you are looking to book accomodation in Hiriketiya, we definitely recommend checking out these:
Booking.com is great for showing you all of your accomodation options in one area while also make sure to cross reference with reviews on tripadvisor.com to make sure you are happy with your choice. Also if you can, try and book your accommodation through the official website instead of third parties, we have found that it can save you a bit of money. But if you can’t, booking.com and tripadvisor.com are great websites for booking your accommodation.
- Hiriketiya White House – £24 a night / $31 USD a night
- Dream House (where we stayed & 50 meters from the beach!) – £25 a night / $32 USD a night
- Dots (highly recommended & where we would recommend staying as you get a free breakfast from the restaurant which has AMAZING food, not to mention a ton of plant based options and your own adorable bungalow 1 minute from the beach! They also have yoga classes multiple times a day in a variety of styles to give you a nice stretch before or after surfing) – £35 a night / $44 USD a night
- Salt House – £67 a night / $85 USD a night
The beautiful Dream House 50m from the beach.
Finding things to do in Hiriketiya was easy as life is slow paced and simpler there. During the day there are many different styles of yoga to choose from at a variety of locations including Dots and the Salt House. Both of these locations I recommend as they have a cafe attached with healthy plant based options that you can nourish your body with after class. Each yoga class is super affordable at around:
- 1200 – 2000 Sri Lankan Rupees / $6.60 – $11 USD per class
Along the beach there are also two main places where you can rent surf boards. Renting these boards is super cheap and they are the same price at both shops:
- 500 Sri Lankan Rupees per hour / $2.75 USD
- 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees per day / $8.30 USD
Swimming in the ocean is also a super fun activity and free in Hiriketiya! What is so great about swimming in this location is that you can wear your bikini and not feel out of place or like you are getting stared at all the time as the majority of the beach is western tourists. You will see the locals swimming in long shorts and t-shirts but in Hiriketiya it is perfectly acceptable to wear a western swim suit. The water is also very safe, there are no sharks or harmful fish. Jellyfish are not a big worry there. Although there are a few sea urchins there but because the water is so clear and they are black, you can spot them right away. My partner and I were barefoot the whole time and we never had an issue. It was actually pretty crazy to see how the local children kept picking up the sea urchins and tossing them into the jungle (poor sea urchins) while the parents didn’t even bat an eye. If kids were doing that in the west, I could only imagine the panic on their parents faces, oh my…
If you are heading to the beach in Hiriketiya, here is a list of things I recommend having in your beach bag:
- Sunscreen – it is hot, take care of your skin
- Sunglasses – it gets extremely bright on the beach as the clear blue water and white sand reflect a ton of sunlight
- Cover up or Kimono – save your skin and cover up during the hottest periods of the day (11am-2pm)
- Swim wear – it is so hot, you’ll definitely want to jump in the ocean every now and then
- Rash Guard – if you are planning to surf
- Water – drink up and stay hydrated, don’t just binge on fresh mango & passion fruit juice as you’ll feel pretty rough come supper time
- Snacks – If you have specific foods preferences or you can just grab some delicious food at the beach like Sri Lankan Roti, Samosas, Koththu, Pad Thai, Coconut Water, and Fruit Juices
- Beach Blanket
- Book, Sudoku, or Beach Games
- Flip Flops – you don’t want to be wearing shoes, they WILL get full of sand
- Cash – many places in Hiriketiya only take Sri Lankan Rupees, so make sure you stock up as it is definitely a bit more expensive for food and drinks in the south
Here is a quick link to a premade print off checklist for you to add to for your beach trip!
Leave your wallet & passport secure in a safe in your room, do not keep it on you at the beach as you will probably want to take a dip in the ocean and do not want your important things getting taken or lost, remember you are only on vacation and still need to think about making sure you can get home. Also keep your cash in a secret place (a book sometimes works) or secret pocket in your bag. Hiriketiya is touristy so most backpackers and tourists respect each other enough not to take other people’s things but you are in a foreign country and not everyone has good intentions.
Now we have come to my favourite part of Hiriketiya, the food! Us vegetarians and vegans really are lucky when it comes to travelling around this surfer’s dream. Many restaurants have super fresh, organic produce and many plant based options. Sri Lanka is really great at having vegan options. They almost always have coconut milk if you ask and sometimes even soy. Also all the authentic vegetable curries are naturally vegan as they ALWAYS use coconut milk and do not use fish sauce or shrimp paste like in Thailand.
The magic Thai School Bus
The food around the beach was exceptionally good authentic Sri lankan food, although not the healthiest for us passionate, health conscious foodies. If you’re treating yourself while on vacation and want some tasty cheap food, the bus on the beach was our go to. They had amazing fresh juice, wicked samosas, roti, koththu, and stir fried rice. Many vegan options are available as they do not use any animal products in the vegetable, coconut, or banana roti, vegetable samosas, or fruit juices (unless it is a lassi), but be aware, if you want to try Koththu, it is not vegan unless you specifically ask for no egg and they understand you. Most Koththu is cooked with egg. As well here are a few restaurants for us healthy, plant based travellers after a long day on the beach:
- Dots Bay House (by far my favourite)
- Salt House (for any pescitarians, my partner says they have the most incredible fish tacos)
- Blue Bay Chill Out Lounge (best vegetable Sri Lankan curries in town!)
I hope you enjoyed my tips for vacationing in Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka! Please leave a comment below if you are planning to go and want any more information or if you have already been and have any additional information for our readers!
Have fun and go explore!