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Mirissa is one of the most popular places in Sri Lanka to visit for a beach getaway. But there is so much more to Mirissa than just stunning beaches, in fact, there are a ton of fun things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka!
With that said, it can be hard to find some of the best things to do or places to visit without a tour guide. For that reason, on our recent trip to Mirissa, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out all of the most amazing attractions in Mirissa – things that most visitors miss!
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 Lanka itinerary!
This is our list of the 17 best things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
- Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- 1. Visit Secret Beach
- 2. Visit the Snake Farm
- 3. Take a Day Trip to Polhena Beach/ Turtle Beach
- 4. Rent a Motorbike or Tuk-Tuk
- 5. Visit Parrot Rock
- 6. Climb Coconut Tree Hill
- 7. Safari in Udawalawe or Yala National Park
- 8. Bar-Hop on Mirissa Beach
- 9. Water Sports (wakeboarding, jet skiing, tubing)
- 10. Day Trip to Galle Fort
- 11. Go Surfing in Weligama
- 12. Visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery
- 13. Visit the Stilt Fishermen
- 14. Explore the Southern-most Point of Sri Lanka – Dondra Lighthouse
- 15. Eat Fresh Seafood
- 16. Whale Watching
- 17. Watch the Baby Turtles run for the water
- Where to Stay in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- Getting to Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- Before you go!
Things to do in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
1. Visit Secret Beach
Secret Beach is my favorite place to relax during the day in Mirissa, Sri Lanka. Although it’s not that “secret” anymore, it 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 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.
There are a few restaurants and bars at the beach, and you can also rent a sunbathing chair for 500 LKR for the day.
Secret Beach is on Google Maps. 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 above the beach for 200 LKR.
2. Visit the Snake Farm
The snake farm in Mirissa, Sri Lanka, is a little know attraction that I loved.
The farm itself is run by a doctor and snake lover who rescues the snakes from local houses and rehabilitates them. He also takes venom from the snakes during rehabilitation to use to make antivenoms (to treat people who need it.)
He is one of the only guys around doing this and considering 350 people lose their lives every year from snake bites in Sri Lanka. It was a cause we really wanted to support.
You sit and watch as the handler and his son bring out a huge range of snakes during the tour. Some of these include vipers and three different types of cobras. Not all 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, but it is on google maps under “Sri Lankan Snake Farm”.
The farm opens at 10:30 am and costs 1,000 LKR ($5.70 USD) per person. Most taxi drivers in town will know where to go.
Update: Some reviews of the tour are now saying it costs 3,000 LKR, I believe this is the other snake farm nearby which does not have great reviews. Check that you go to the place linked above.
3. Take a Day Trip to Polhena Beach/ Turtle Beach
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 initially thought, and during our visit, the beach was almost empty.
You can rent snorkeling gear at the beach to swim with the turtles for 400 LKR for the day. There is also a turtle 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!
Update: Polhena Beach has become very popular so I recommend visiting in the morning to avoid the crowds.
4. Rent a Motorbike or Tuk-Tuk
Mirissa isn’t a small town, and getting around to many of the places mentioned below would require a taxi. But, if you plan out your day, you could 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.
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 with an international license or driving permit.
A tuk-tuk will be a little more expensive, and they are harder to drive than a scooter. 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.
5. Visit Parrot Rock
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, and climbing it is one of the best things to do.
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.
6. Climb Coconut Tree Hill
Coconut Tree Hill must be the most popular place to visit in Mirissa among Instagrammers. This small hill is literally covered in coconut trees and makes for a gorgeous photo.
Of course, as with any popular spot, it does get very busy, especially during the day. Coconut Hill is the perfect place to watch a sunset in Mirrisa, but as you can imagine, it can be very crowded at this time.
Sunrise is the least busy time, and if you get there before 7 am, you could be lucky enough to get Coconut Hill yourself!
Although Coconut Hill has become famous for its 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.
Coconut Hill is marked on Google Maps.
7. Safari in Udawalawe or Yala National Park
Let’s be honest, if you’ve come to Mirissa Beach you’re probably here for the sun, surf, and beach. However, if Mirissa is your only stopping point in Sri Lanka or you are 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!
This full-day tour from Mirissa to Yala National Park costs $107 USD and includes all your national park fees, professional guide, and transport from your hotel in Mirissa.
To Udawalawe National Park this tour is a top-reviewed option. It includes everything above as well as some bonus stops on the way back.
Both the safaris above are great options for those only visiting Mirissa on their Sri Lankan holiday.
8. Bar-Hop on Mirissa Beach
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)
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!
The price for a jet ski ride is 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
Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588 but 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.
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!
Entrance to the fort is free but the museum costs $5 USD.
11. Go Surfing in Weligama
The surf at Mirissa Beach is good, but 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.
Regardless of your experience level, Weligama is a great beach to learn or improve your surfing skills.
12. Visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery
Halfway between Galle and Mirissa, there are two turtle hatcheries. 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 five species that live in Sri Lanka.
Organizations like these are essential to turtle conservation. A visit to one of the hatcheries is a super fun and exciting experience and 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, Sri Lanka.
13. Visit the Stilt Fishermen
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 stilt 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
The Dondra Lighthouse is another attraction located around 19km from Mirissa. It is situated on the southernmost 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 unfortunate 2019 Easter Sunday and many attractions were closed for security reasons.
With that said, I wanted to include it on my list so others can make the journey out here.
15. Eat Fresh Seafood
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).
It’s all super fresh and ready for you to enjoy!
16. Whale Watching
From 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 let you on the tour again the next day for free!
You can book and browse all of the different Mirissa whale watching tours online.
17. Watch the Baby Turtles run for the water
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 then 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!
Where to Stay in Mirissa, Sri Lanka
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 air conditioning, 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 air conditioning. 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, Sri Lanka
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!
Getting Around Sri Lanka
To visit all of the best places in Sri Lanka, you’re going to need a mode of transport. You have a few choices when it comes to getting around Sri Lanka:
Rent a Tuk-tuk
Easily the most popular (and most fun) way to travel around Sri Lanka. We actually rented a tuk-tuk on our trip and absolutely loved it! Tuk-tuks are easy to drive, cheap to rent, and the freedom that comes with your own wheels is unmatched.
If you do decide to rent a tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka, be sure to go with a reputable company that provides quality tuk-tuks, such as Tuktuk Rental (who we rented from.) These guys not only offer an amazing service, but their tuk-tuks are actually rented from local families, providing income for the local community.
If you decide to rent from Tuktuk Rental, be sure to use the coupon code ‘DEST‘ for 5% off!
For more info, read our blog: The Truth about Renting a Tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka.
Hire a Driver
If you’re only planning on going to a couple of destinations, then a private driver is not a bad idea. In the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle, your driver can take you to your next destination. All you have to do is sit back and relax!
You can hire highly-rated drivers in advance to pick you up right from the airport when you arrive in Sri Lanka. This driver will take you to your hotel in Mirissa, Galle, Bentota, or Unawatuna. Whereas, this driver will take you to Kandy.
Of course, every time you want to change destinations you will have to arrange for another driver (unless you book this driver who will drive you around for an entire week). Car transfer can easily be organized through your hotel.
Take Public Transport
This is a choice I only recommend for those on a very tight budget and with plenty of time. Public transport is everywhere in Sri Lanka in the form of public buses and trains. It is also very cheap, costing less than a couple of dollars per journey.
However, it isn’t the most comfortable way to travel. The buses don’t have air conditioning and neither do many train services. They can also be slow-moving, stopping every couple of minutes to pick up more passengers.
With that said, public transport is popular with budget backpackers, and it is mostly safe. This is one way to travel for those who want to get around as the locals do!
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!
Check out all of our Sri Lanka blogs to help plan your trip, otherwise, check out some of our favorite articles below:
Things to do in Hikkaduwa – Our complete list of all the best things to see and do!
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka – A guide to the wonderful beach city in Sri Lanka’s eastern coast.
21 BEST Things to do in Sigiriya – A ton of fun things to do in Sigiriya, more than Sigiriya Rock!