17 of the Best Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
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The small beach town of Mirrissa is one of the most popular places in Sri Lanka for a beach getaway. But Mirissa is so much more than just stunning beaches and there are also a ton of things to do in Marrisa.
With that said, it can be hard to find some of the best things to do or places to visit without a guide. For that reason, on our recent trip to Mirissa, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out all the most amazing attractions and things to see in Mirissa.
What we found was a breathtaking beach location with so much cool stuff to see and do. So much so that we absolutely fell in love with the place making it a must-visit on any Sri Lankan itinerary!
This is our 17 best things to do in Mirissa.
1. Rent a Motorbike or Tuk-Tuk
|Rating:||5/5 – Best way to explore the surrounding area|
Mirissa isn’t a small town and getting around to many of the places mentioned below would require a taxi. However, if you plan out your day you could actually rent your own tuk-tuk or scooter for the day and explore the area on your own.
This would not only be cheaper but it also gives you a lot more freedom than having a driver waiting for you.
You can rent scooters and motorbikes all over town and this will set you back around 1,000 LRK ($5.50 USD) for the whole day. You can drive these on an international license or driving permit.
A tuk-tuk will be a little more expensive and they are harder to drive. We actually drove a tuk-tuk around Sri Lanka for 30 days and loved it! However, the truth about renting a tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka is it can be a little scary and you also need a Sri Lankan driving permit.
If driving in Sri Lanka isn’t on your bucket list then consider getting a driver for the day. If you’re traveling far, say to Galle Fort, then I would recommend getting a car not a tuk-tuk as it would be much more comfortable.
2. Visit the Snake Farm
|Location:||A 20 minute drive from Mirissa|
|Rating||5/5 – The best snake encounter I have had, very unique and |
supports a good cause
The snake farm in Mirissa is a little know attraction that I loved. The farm itself is run by a doctor and snake lover who rescues the snakes and rehabilitates them. He also takes venom from the snakes during rehabilitation to use to make antivenoms.
He is one of the only guys around doing this and considering 350 people die every year from snake bites in Sri Lanka, it was a cause we really wanted to support.
During the tour, you sit in some chairs and the handler and his son bring out a huge range of snakes. Some of these include vipers and 3 different types of cobras. Not all of the snakes are venomous though and you can even hold a few other cool snakes like pythons and tree snakes.
Getting to the snake farm takes around 20 minutes by tuk-tuk or car. The farm itself can be hard to find however it is on google maps under “Sri Lankan Snake Farm”.
If you’re driving yourself be aware there are three driveways that lead to the street the house is on (you can see this on your maps). Take the middle one, it’s not as steep as the others. The farm opens at 10:30 am and cost 1,000 LKr ($5.70 UD) per person.
3. Take a Day Trip to Polhena Beach/ Turtle Beach
|Location:||7km from Mirissa|
|Rating:||5/5 – The best place to swim with turtles in an uncrowded |
Polhena Beach (aka Turtle Beach) is located only 7km from Mirissa. It is, in my opinion, one of the best beaches on the southern coast. Not only is the entire beach protected from the waves by a reef but in the shallow, calm bay, there are around 15 turtles who permanently live here.
Polhena Beach is also not as well-known as I originally thought and in fact, during our visit, the beach was almost empty.
At the beach, you can rent snorkeling gear to swim with the turtles for 400 LKR for the day. There is also a hatchery on the beach and if you’re lucky you may see a baby released after hatching.
To me, a day trip to Polhena beach was one of my favorite things I did in Sri Lanka and I highly recommend it!
If snorkeling with wild turtles sounds a little scary you can join this tour below in Matara (the town closest to the beach). Just get a taxi there and they’ll take care of the rest!
4. Visit Parrot Rock
|Location:||On the south end of Mirissa Beach|
|Rating:||4/5 – Walking distance from the main part of town with |
Parrot Rock is a large rock that sits at the end of Mirissa Bay. From the top of the rock, you get amazing views of Mirissa Beach. You only need 30 minutes or so at Parrot Rock to take in the stunning views, however, you could spend a lot more time in the rock pools below. These pools provide a great calm area to both swim and snorkel!
Parrot Rock is a completely free thing to do in Mirissa and access to the rock is easy from the main beach. A visit to Parrot rock won’t be the most amazing thing you do in Mirissa but it’s so close to town you really should do it.
5. Climb Coconut Tree Hill
|Location:||15 minute walk from Mirissa Beach past Parrot Rock|
|Rating:||4/5 – Beautiful place to relax but a little overcrowded at times|
Coconut Tree Hill must be the most popular Instagram spot in Mirissa. This small hill is literally covered in Coconut trees and makes for a really beautiful photo.
Of course with any spot this popular it does get very busy especially during the day. The hill is in the perfect spot to watch a sunset, but as you can imagine, it can be very crowded at this time.
During sunrise is the least busy time and if you get there before 7 am you could be lucky enough to get the place you yourself! Although the spot has become famous for the Instagram photo it’s also a great place to relax and watch the ocean. Just be sure to watch out for falling coconuts!
The climb to the top takes around 2 minutes and there is a small parking area for tuk-tuks and scooters at the bottom. The location is marked on Google Maps.
6. Visit Secret Beach
|Location:||5-minute tuk-tuk or 25-minute walk from Mirissa|
|Cost:||Free if you walk|
|Rating:||5/5 – It’s a stunning beach that is much better than Mirissa |
Secret Beach is my favorite place to relax during the day. Although it’s not that “secret” anymore, it still remains uncrowded most of the time.
The main reason I love this beach is not that it’s secluded but because of the small pool that’s been created from the surrounding rocks. These rocks protect the beach from the large swells and rough ocean and make for the perfect place for kids to swim and parents to relax.
At the beach, there is a few restaurants and bars and you can also rent a sunbathing chair for 500 LKR for the day.
Secret Beach is on Google Maps and Maps.me. If you’re driving there on your own just be aware that the hill on the way to the beach is extremely steep so be careful. Taking your scooter or tuk-tuk down to the beach is ill-advised but there is parking at the top of the hill for 200 LKR for the day.
7. Safari in Udawalawe or Yala National Park
|Location:||Yala or Udawalwe NP|
|Rating:||5/5 – Without a doubt a highlight of my Sri Lanka trip!|
Let’s be honest, if you’ve come to Mirissa Beach your probably here for the sun, surf and beach. However, if Mirissa is your only stopping point in Sri Lanka or your short on time, then you simply must join a safari from Mirissa!
I’ll be honest, you’re looking at a long day with a few hours driving each way but honestly, after going on a safari in Udawalawe and Yala, it’s so worth it!
Below are two great tours, one to each park. I preferred Udawalawe (partly because of the elephant orphanage) but Yala is much closer!
8. Bar Hop On Mirissa Beach
|Cost:||200 to 450 per cocktail or beer|
|Rating:||3/5 – A fun way to spend the afternoon in Mirissa and enjoy |
Along Mirissa Beach there is a huge selection of bars and restaurants all offering their own drink specials and happy hours. One of the things that surprised me most is how cheap they all are!
For as little as 250 LKR ($1.50 USD) you can get a cocktail or for 250 LKR a large beer during happy hour.
Along the beach, all of the happy hours start at different times with some starting at 11 am. So why not hit the sand and bar hop along Mirissa Beach stopping at the different bars and getting the best deals!
9. Water Sports (wakeboarding, jet skiing, tubing)
|Cost:||3,000 – 4,000 Rupees|
|Rating:||3/5 – It looks like fun but it’s a little pricey!|
There is a huge range of watersports offered in Mirissa. On the beach you can head over to one of the jet ski operators and either take a ride on the jet ski or have a go letting them tow you on either a wakeboard or tube.
The tubing is pretty interesting and the guys on the jet ski use the waves to give you a real bumpy ride!
Prices for a Jet Ski ride are 3,000 LKR for 15 minutes and the tubing or wakeboarding was 4,000 LKR for 15 minutes. These prices are negotiable though so if you do manage to snag a better deal be sure to let us know in the comments!
10. Day Trip to Galle Fort
|Location:||Galle, 45 minutes from Mirissa|
|Rating:||4/5 – Very nice place to visit but is a little far from Mirissa|
Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588 however the fort was heavily fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site and holds a lot of history. The fort is an interesting place to visit and explore while visiting Mirissa.
Entrance to the fort is free however the Museum cost $5 USD
From Mirissa it’s around a 45-minute drive to the fort. For many, this might seem like a long way out to travel just to see the fort so instead, we recommend you pair a visit to the Galle Fort with the three activities mentioned below and make an awesome day trip from Mirissa out of it!
If you need a driver then this tour is perfect! It includes lunch, a tour of the fort as well as a visit to the tea fields near Mirissa!
11. Go Surfing in Weligama
|Location:||Weligama, 10 minutes from Mirissa|
|Cost:||300 to 2,000 Rupees|
|Rating:||4/5 – Much better place to surf for beginners than Mirissa |
The surf at Mirissa Beach is good, however, for many just starting out, it can be far too rough. Luckily Weligama Beach is only a few kilometers away and here the waves are perfect for learning to surf.
On the beach, there are plenty of surf schools so anyone can learn to surf at Weligama Beach. If you already have some experience then they also do board rentals.
Board rentals start at 300 LKR ($1.70 US) for an hour and lessons start at 2,000 LKR ($11.50 USD) for 1 hour. You can pre-book a 2-hour surf lesson here for only $18.
Regardless of your experience level, Weligama is a great beach to learn or improve your surfing skills.
12. Visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery
|Location:||25 minute drive north of Mirissa towards Galle|
|Rating:||5/5 – Very interesting and this is a great project to support|
Halfway between Galle and Mirissa, there are two turtle hatcheries. Both of these turtle hatcheries are set up to protect the turtles and their eggs until they hatch and can be released into the wild.
The hatcheries also look after injured or rescued adult turtles. At the hatchery, you can get involved and hold some of the older turtles as well as learn all about the 5 species that live in Sri Lanka
Organizations like these are extremely important to turtle conservation and a visit to one of the hatcheries is not only super fun and exciting experience but it’s a great way to ensure the survival of this beautiful species.
The entrance fee to Turtle farm Koggala is 500 LKR a person and goes directly to ensuring the survival of all species of turtles in Sri Lanka.
This is a must-do for any animal lover visiting Mirissa.
13. Visit the Stilt Fishermen
|Rating:||3/5 – Unique but it’s hard to tell if it’s authentic|
Stilt Fishing is a traditional fishing method in Sri Lanka. The men sit on wooden poles and dangle a line in the water constantly flicking it up and down. The fish they are trying to catch are small Mackerels and Spotted Herrings.
On the outskirts of the Weligama towards Galle, you can see a group of the fishermen in action. Although the fishermen mostly earn their money by charging tourists to take photos it’s still an interesting thing to do. In fact, stilt fishing ceased for many years after the 2004 tsunami but has made a comeback in recent years.
Stilt Fishing is a unique attraction you won’t find anywhere else, the fishermen ask for a “donation” of 500 LKR to take photos, however, if this sounds like a bit much you can negotiate.
14. Explore the Southern-most Point of Sri Lanka – Dondra Lighthouse
|Location:||30 minutes from Mirissa|
|Cost:||Not sure, we heard you must pay to climb the lighthouse|
|Rating:||3/5 – It’s hard for us to say but the area was beautiful|
The Dondra Lighthouse is another attraction located around 19km from Mirissa. It is situated on the southern-most point of Sri Lanka and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and palm trees.
We made the journey out to the lighthouse but were met with a locked gate. The lighthouse is normally open, however, we were in Mirissa during the Easter Sunday bombings and many attractions were closed for security reasons.
We would have loved to have seen the lighthouse and would love some feedback if you end up visiting.
15. Eat Fresh Seafood
|Cost:||1,000 to 4,000 Rupees|
|Rating:||5/5 – It’s very fresh and delicious seafood at great prices|
Unless you’re a vegetarian you can’t come to Mirissa without trying some of the freshly caught seafood from one of the beachside restaurants.
Every night the restaurants have a massive tray out the front with fresh seafood caught that day.
You can choose your meal and negotiate a price before they cook it to your liking. There is a wide variety of seafood available such as crab, red snapper, giant prawns, squid, and tuna.
Prices for a whole fish start at around 2,000 LKR ($11.50 USD) and 10 normal-sized prawns will set you back 1000 LKR ($6 USD).
16. Whale Watching
|Rating:||4/5 – Would be a 5 but the boats are very overcrowded|
During the months of December to April, the southern coast of Sri Lanka becomes the best place in the world to whale watch.
There are a few different whales you can spot such as Humpback Whales and Sperm Whales, but the whale many people come all the way to Sri Lanka for is the Blue Whale. The Blue Whale is the largest living creature on earth and off the coast of Sri Lanka, you’ll have the best chance at spotting them!
Whale watching tours in Sri Lanka run in the mornings during the December to April season and cost around 6500 LKR ($37 USD) for a 3-hour tour. Many tour operators guarantee you’ll see whales or they’ll take you again the next day for free!
17. Watch the Baby Turtles Run for the Water
|Location:||Mirissa Beach near the lifegaurd tower|
|Rating:||5/5 – Best free activity in Sri Lanka, was truly a special |
During certain times of the year, you can see baby turtles who have hatched in a safe zone on Mirissa Beach run for the ocean.
I was lucky enough to be there when this happened and the day we saw them about 30 to 50 baby turtles hatched and were released! This was truly a magical moment and one I’ll never forget.
Of course, this activity is dependent on whether turtles have hatched that day or not, however, if they have they will be released at around 5:30 pm – 6 pm.
The hatchery is in the middle of the beach near the lifeguard tower. This activity is free and one I really hope you get to see!
Need more ideas? You can view all the tours available in Mirissa here!
Where to Stay in Mirissa
There are tons of options for places to stay in Mirissa – it is actually kind of overwhelming! Below are some great choices for every budget:
Green Garden Guest Mirissa – The Green Garden is one of the places we stayed in Mirissa. It’s a really good budget choice that’s super close to the beach and beach access (the resorts block access to the beach in most places). It was the cheapest private room with airconditioning, breakfast included, and a private bathroom – we highly recommend it!
Hangover Hostel – The Hangover Hostels are famous around Sri Lanka and are the perfect place for the solo traveler or group looking for a social atmosphere and a little bit of party. The Hangover Hostel Mirissa is in a great location with beach access only a minute from the front door.
Sira’s Chalets – If your looking for a seaside hotel then Sira’s Chalets is a great option. They are literally on the beach and offer amazing private rooms all with airconditioning. For a few dollars more than their cheapest room, you can also get an ocean view!
Ballena Regency – These guys aren’t quite on the beach but their rooftop restaurant gets some great views. The rooms here are super luxurious and some rooms even have views of the ocean. They are only 150m from Mirissa Beach.
Number One Mirissa – Number One Mirissa is a stunning beachside hotel with amazing rooms. Some of there rooms even have a balcony with a sea view that would be amazing! They have an onsite bar and include an amazing breakfast.
Getting to Mirissa
You can get to Mirissa either by public transport (bus or train), driving yourself in a rental vehicle or tuk-tuk or motorbike, or you can arrange a private transfer!
Taking public transport is the cheapest way to get to Mirissa but it is also the most inconvenient and time-consuming.
We hired our own tuk-tuk for our entire Sri Lanka trip and it was amazing (highly recommend this option!) But if you aren’t keen on driving on the Sri Lankan roads yourself then hiring a driver for a private transfer is a great idea.
To arrange a private transfer from the Colombo airport to Mirissa, click here!
Before you go!
Mirissa turned out to be one of the most amazing places we have visited in Sri Lanka. Both the things to do here and how beautiful the area is, make it a great place to visit!
We hope you enjoyed this article and please if you have any questions or feedback please leave it in the comments below!
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