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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann Issac

7 Reasons why Mirissa should be on your bucket list!

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Mirissa is a quiet beachside town, which in recent times has gained a lot of popularity. The Sri Lankan coastline is everything a beach lover could hope for, and there is nothing better than sitting on the white sandy beaches with a coconut water in one hand and good book in the other!

Mirissa has a pristine beach with a stunning blue-green ocean, that I feel everyone should see to believe!

1. The stunning beach

Well, this seems like a no- brainer, why should any beach be on your bucket list!?

The water is beautiful against the soft white sand, and there are coconut trees that line the beach for as far as your eyes can see. It is a picture perfect postcard setting. The beach is maintained beautifully, and there is no trash whatsoever along that stretch.

There is a rock on one end of the beach which you can climb for stunning views of Mirissa. I couldn’t climb it because it started raining by the time I got to the foot of the rock. The rain made the rock really slippery, and I was in flip flops without much grip, so I thought it’s best not to risk a fall.

During high tide, the water level rises a lot, almost up to the restaurants that line the beach, which is nice if you like being splashed while you are seated on a beach chair, but not so much if you were relaxing on a beach towel on the sand.

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Mirissa beach just before the rains

2. The restaurants on the beach

There are some beautiful restaurants right on the beach. I was at Zephyr, it had the best view, and the seafood was delicious!

Mirissa is supposed to have quite the fun party scene, though I’m not much of a party animal myself- I did see so many flyers advertising multiple parties on the beach! Alcohol is not very expensive either at the restaurants, so overall an affordable yet delicious food & drink scene in Mirissa.

3. Snorkelling

Snorkelling is popular in Mirissa, but if you plan on spending a lot of time in the water, it is best to bring your own gear vs. renting which can be expensive as they rent it out on the hour.

4. Surfing

Mirissa is big on surfing, and there are boards that can be hired for really cheap on the beach.

If you are a beginner, I would suggest surfing in Weligama beach (about 10 mins away from Mirissa) as the waves are calmer, and it’s not rocky. Mirissa is rocky in some parts, and it’s difficult to say exactly where.

5. Whale watching

I stayed at Weligama, but had to come to Mirissa to get on the boat to go whale watching. Whale watching is a game of luck but there is a season during which sightings are almost guaranteed, so do some research before you invest time & money into this activity.

There are many operators who provide the service, and the price varies according to the operator you choose. The cheaper option means that the boats are filled to its maximum capacity, and when you see them on the ocean, they do look like they could topple at any moment.

The provider I went with (Rajah & the whales), were good, they gave us lifejackets, and kept us fed with fruits, snacks, and drinks throughout the trip.

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I spotted the tail of the whale!


This trip can easily take between 2-6 hours and you have to start before sunrise.

It was my first sunrise from a boat, and it was beautiful! It takes about an hour to get into open waters, and then it’s a waiting game. When the staff think they have spotted a whale,

then it’s a race to follow him and get as close as possible to get a sighting.

Other sightings

During the trip, I did spot a pod of dolphins, and a pair of turtles mating.

Finally after a long wait and lot of chasing, we spotted a whale! We spotted only its tale, and the top of its head, though we did follow him around for a long time in the hopes that he would come out of the water.

Is the whale watching trip worth it?

The trip is tiring, but for an enthusiast it is absolutely enjoyable. I’m on the fence about it. I would love to see a whale jump out of the water in front of me, but, I’m not sure if I want to battle almost 6 hours of seasickness for it.

I did take a tablet before I got on the boat, but it didn’t seem to stop the uncomfortable queasy feeling I had. Eating the food that the crew gave us did help to an extent though.

The staff also send you pictures that they take with their professional cameras to our emails (I think I accidentally deleted them, because I can’t seem to find them now.)

For a detailed account of my whale watching trip, click here!

6. Explore the nearby beaches

I was staying in Weligama, and I enjoyed the beach so much that I didn’t spend time exploring all the nearby beaches. I visited Mirissa & the nearby fishing village of Koggala, but left all the other beaches for the next time I come to this beautiful island country.

Koggala Beach is known for Sri Lanka’s infamous stilt fisherman.

Stilt fishing was tradition here, where the fisherman sits with a fishing rod on a stilt waiting for his catch. It isn’t widely practiced anymore. Thanks to the influx of tourism and the popularity of photographing the stilt fishermen, they have come to realise that posing for photographs makes them a lot more money than fishing does, especially during tourist season.

You do have to pay each of the fishermen who pose for you a hefty tip.

It is best to agree upon a price before you take the picture. If you feel you can outsmart them by waiting for a large group to arrive, and photograph them for free, you are highly mistaken! I’ve heard that they follow you even up to your vehicle to get their dues!

But don’t deny them the opportunity of getting paid, if you think about it, these tips from us tourists are their main source of income, and why take that away by photographing them stealthily.

Where to find the fishermen

There is a possibility that you will be in Koggala at a random time of day when the fishermen are not fishing. But not to worry, there will be a couple of them at a hut nearby. You can approach them & request for a photograph, they will happily oblige, so long as you have agreed to pay them well for their time!

7. Check out Mirissa harbour

Mirissa harbour is a photographer's dream! There are so many colourful fishing boats anchored at one time, that you will love photographing them! ( I certainly did!) This is also a great place to have a look at local life as fishermen bring in their catch. This is also the point from which the whale watching tours start.

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Just before sunrise at Mirissa harbour

Drop me a comment below to let me know your thoughts!


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