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The giant turtles of Hikkaduwa

When I write the post of the route I did through Sri Lanka I’ll explain it better, but in short, Hikkaduwa’s beach disappointed me a little. Being featured in Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor and other travel sites as an unmissable place, I imagined already that I would find more tourists here than at Barcelona’s Rambles, but it was even ten times more. While Unawatuna was also very crowded, I found it way charmer than Hikkaduwa. Until I spoke with the lifeguards and they asked me if I had seen the giant turtles already. My answer was “No, but tell me right now where I should go!“.

 

    Area inhabited by turtles

If you know a little about Hikkaduwa beach, you will know that is more known by what you can see inside of the water than outside. Hikkaduwa is a different beach, especially because there are parts on the shore where you can walk meters and meters into the sea by rocky areas that do not cover even half foot.

Hikkaduwa beach. Pretty average until now, right?

 
All the way down, when you hit the left end of the beach, there are some big rocks about a hundred meters from the shore. And these are home to thousands of turtles of all sizes and ages, some over 50 years old and longer than one meter.

 

Place where to find the giant turtles.

 

Snorkeling you can go swimming there to see them or if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find some of them on the rocky beach area. Unless you go there in February, that it will be really hard not to find many of them in the morning on the beach.

 

    Laying eggs period

In February, it’s time to lay eggs that end up bringing to life to new generations of turtles.

Late at night, future mother turtles approach the coast, lay eggs in the sand of the beach that is right in front of their home, cover the nest to protect it and then turn to go offshore.

Two turtles eating seaweed underwater.

 

When it’s been four to five weeks, hundreds of small turtles will start getting out of their eggs one by one, and then they will go into the water and swim all together to the rocks.

 

    Visit them, but with respect!

If you want to see these large turtles, it’s as easy as going early in the morning to the beach, where they are eating seaweed on the rocky shore area after having laid eggs last night. The earlier you get there the better because as time goes by, more and more tourists arrive and turtles get scared and uncomfortable and start to leave.

Tourists surrounding a nearby turtle on the shore.

 

And this should not be even said, but respect them. I had to see children jumping over them, tourists trying to take them out of the water to take photos and even a Russian woman sitting on a turtle’s shell to take a selfie… Terrible. The only good thing is that since I got there with one of the lifeguards and I am so dark-skinned, they thought I was also a lifeguard I guess, because few times I told several people off and they obeyed me.

So wake you up very early and go to admire this wonder of nature, take all the pictures that you want, but respect their space if you do not want that they stop coming to lay eggs.

 

    Where to sleep?

➡ If you want to save money and at the same time be really close to this beach, your best choice is certainly Methdunu Villa. For 10 USD / night you will have a double room, with private bathroom, Wi-Fi and only 500 meters away from the turtle beach.

➡ If you do not mind being further away, but still want the cheapest accommodation you can find, definitely this is Hondahitha Villa. For only 6 USD / night you will have a double room, with shared bathroom, Wi-Fi and even a private balcony. Of course, although it is next to the beach, it’s about 4 kilometers away from the beach where turtles nest. The good thing is that it is 200 meters away from Kumarakanda train station, so you can get to Hikkaduwa beach in a moment.
 
Enjoy!
 

4 Responses

    1. whereyounowjordi

      Glad that was useful! Have a nice trip and for any other information don’t hesitate to contact us :) Enjoy, Sri Lanka is awesome!

    1. whereyounowjordi

      It is really a pity that sometimes people don’t know how to behave. Would be great to sensitize tourists and also locals about this topic, for a more sustainable tourism.

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