Mirissa, Sri Lanka: Where To Stay and What To Do

Mirissa is easily one of the nicest beach towns in Sri Lanka and trust me, in chasing the surf, we’ve been to our fair share of them. It’s no secret spot but a lot of the crowds do get skimmed out thanks to Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, beach towns that come by earlier if you’re driving down from Colombo. If you only have a few days in hand and are looking for an uncrowded coastal town to get away to from the capital, then Mirissa, only three hours away is it.

The water here is perfect for a swim, the waves are good for a surf and there is a little island off the coast that you can climb up for a picnic. They plan to make an observation deck up here at some point but for now, it’s just a mass of land, plants, and rocks inhabited by crabs.

A little island to picnic upon during low tide, just a waist deep wade away.

In Mirissa, we stayed at Central Beach Inn and it is part of the reason why I like Mirissa as much as I do. For 1300 LKR ($10 USD) a night for a basic room, this family-run inn which happens to be right on the beach is a bargain. Somehow the rates mentioned on their website are a lot higher than the ones they quote in person, therefore, booking online with them might not be the best idea. The most we paid even when we moved rooms within Central Beach Inn was 2000 LKR ($15 USD) for a cottage.

Central Beach Inn: My favourite place to be in Mirissa

The boys who work there are really friendly, easy going and have a great sense of humour. The lady who runs the whole show is quite the superstar herself. She’s the sort of woman who is incredibly nice and kind but you know you wouldn’t want to cross the line with her. Kind of like my mum, I guess. The food at Central Beach’s sea facing restaurant is easily the best when compared to the other restaurants on the sandy stretch. The menu is varied and their skilled chef cooks everything to near perfection. The avocado salad and grilled chicken were my favourites. While I loved the local Sri Lankan rice and curries, it was good to have a different and slightly healthier break.

Early morning Avocado Salad and Passion Fruit juice, Mirissa

They also have an extremely talented in-house bartender and unsurprisingly the cocktails are stellar, not to mention a mere $5 USD for a generous boozy glass. Another reason for the deliciousness of these cocktails is that the fruits used are sourced locally and are absolutely fresh. One of the best cocktails that was basically just magic in a glass (and that wasn’t just the alcohol talking) was called Tahitian Beauty, made with fresh off the tree Passion fruits.

During the day, there are people surfing, bodyboarding, swimming or just reading on the beachside hammocks. In the evenings, the day’s catch is displayed and you’re free to take your pick of giant prawns, lobsters, snappers and a variety of other local fish. This is as fresh as seafood gets. Some evenings, the boys from the restaurants turn into fire poi performers to entertain the crowds and despite missing staff, the service continues to be as efficient as ever.

If bliss had a pictorial description, I am pretty sure this would be it
If you’re on a budget, then eating at Central Beach Inn every day might get expensive. An easy alternative can be found in a Roti shop across the road run by a husband- wife team. The Chicken Stuffed Rotis here are tasty, filling and at less than $1 also extremely cheap.

If  Whale Watching Tours float your boat then your chances of seeing the big guys are very high in Mirissa. The water here is known to have one of the highest rates of whale sightings in the world. There are a lot of places that will readily arrange tours for you. As always: shop around and get an idea as to what the prices are at the time before deciding on a company/agent.

Mirissa, as the sun sets

Mirissa, I hear, is what Hikkaduwa used to be like 10 years ago. If that is true, then I really fear for Mirissa’s well-being. I don’t want to imagine massive hideous resorts on the beach front but sadly, the thought is not that far fetched. Hopefully, the Sri Lankan authorities manage to rein in this national urge to construct extensively and retain Mirissa’s natural good looks sans any cosmetology.

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