Beruwala is a coastal Town on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Known for its beaches, historical sites, and a mix of cultures, it's a popular destination for both local and international tourists seeking a balanced mix of relaxation and exploration. In this travel guide, we'll delve into the various facets of Beruwala, offering insights and tips to make your visit memorable.
Overview of Beruwala
Beruwala is often considered the starting point of the southwestern coastal belt. This coastal town stretches with golden sands, clear blue waters, and a rich fishing industry. The town is also significant for its large population of Sri Lankan Moors, and it showcases a blend of different cultures and heritages.
History of Beruwala
Beruwala's history dates back over 1,000 years. The town's name is derived from the Sinhala word "Beruwela," which means the place where the sail is lowered, signifying its role as a major trading port in ancient times. The region saw Arab traders in the 8th century, who played a significant role in spreading Islam in the area. The iconic Kechimalai Mosque, one of the oldest in Sri Lanka, stands as evidence of the town’s Muslim heritage.
Attractions and Things to Do
Beruwala Beach is one of the most visited attractions in the town. With its golden sands stretching for miles and the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, it's a favorite spot for both relaxation and recreational activities. The beach is fringed with tall palm trees, providing shade for Visitors. It's also equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent. Beachside vendors offer refreshing drinks like king coconut water, ensuring you stay hydrated during your sunbathing sessions.
This mosque holds significant historical and religious importance in Beruwala. Located atop a hill, the Kechimalai Mosque is believed to mark the first landing spot of Arab traders on the island. The structure itself showcases the architectural blend of traditional Islamic designs with Sri Lankan influences. Its location provides visitors with a serene environment for contemplation, and the elevated position offers an unobstructed view of the surrounding seascape.
Moragalla is a serene spot away from the usual crowd. This stretch of beach is not just for relaxation but also an excellent place to observe local fishermen at work, especially during the early morning hours. The waters here are calm, making it ideal for snorkeling and observing the marine life up close. Additionally, local vendors often set up stalls offering fresh seafood snacks and refreshments.
This iconic lighthouse, situated on a small island off the coast of Beruwala, stands tall, guiding ships and boats away from potential hazards. To reach the lighthouse, one needs to take a short boat ride, which in itself is a delightful experience. Upon arrival, visitors can climb the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse to reach the top, which offers an impressive view of the coastline and the vast expanse of the ocean.
A hidden gem just a few kilometers inland from Beruwala, Brief Garden is a beautifully designed landscape garden. Created by Bevis Bawa, the brother of the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, this garden showcases a variety of flora, art installations, and sculptures. The winding pathways, secluded nooks, and expansive lawns are perfect for leisurely strolls. Visitors can also explore the old house turned museum, which exhibits Bevis Bawa's artwork and personal collections.
Beruwala's coastline is not just for relaxation; it's also an adventure hub. Several operators offer water sports activities. Jet skiing allows one to zoom across the waters, feeling the wind rush past. For those who wish to explore beneath the waves, diving sessions are available, introducing visitors to the colorful coral reefs and marine life. Additionally, windsurfing challenges both beginners and pros to harness the power of the wind and ride the waves.
Where to Stay
Beruwala offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler's preference and budget. The town boasts luxury resorts equipped with all modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and lavish stay. For those who prefer a more intimate experience, there are numerous guesthouses and boutique hotels that provide personalized services. Budget travelers will also find an array of affordable lodgings, including hostels and bed-and-breakfast establishments.
Cuisine and Dining
Being a coastal town, Beruwala excels in seafood dishes. From fresh fish to prawns and crabs, the town's restaurants serve a variety of local and international dishes. In addition to seafood, visitors can savor traditional Sri Lankan meals consisting of rice, curries, and various side dishes. For a more international palate, several restaurants offer Western, Chinese, and Indian dishes.
Shopping in Bentota
Though the heading suggests Bentota, it's essential to note that Bentota and Beruwala are neighboring towns and are often considered together by travelers. In Bentota, visitors can find a range of shopping options. From local handicrafts, batik fabrics, and jewelry to souvenirs, there's something for everyone. Traditional wooden masks, hand-woven items, and local artwork are popular among tourists.
Location and How to Get There
Beruwala is situated approximately 56 km south of Colombo. The town is accessible by road, with a well-maintained highway connecting it to other major cities. Regular bus services run between Colombo and Beruwala. Additionally, the coastal railway line also connects the two towns, offering a scenic journey along the coastline.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Beruwala is between November and April. During these months, the weather is dry with sunny skies, making it ideal for beach activities and sightseeing. While the monsoon season from May to October brings rain, it can still be a good time for those who prefer a quieter atmosphere.
Tips and Advice
- Stay Hydrated: - The tropical climate can be intense, especially during midday. Carry a reusable water bottle and drink regularly to stay hydrated.
- Check Weather Updates: - While the best time to visit is between November and April, it's always wise to check the weather forecast, especially if planning water activities or boat trips.
- Safety First: - While the beaches of Beruwala are generally safe, always heed local advice about swimming conditions. Avoid isolated areas and swim in designated zones.
- Seafood Freshness: - Beruwala boasts of its seafood. However, ensure you dine at places with good hygiene standards to enjoy the flavors without any concerns.
- Keep Valuables Safe: - While Beruwala is generally safe for tourists, it's always advisable to keep valuables in a safe place and be cautious in crowded areas.
- Explore Beyond the Beach: - While the beaches are a major draw, venture inland to experience the town's culture, history, and local life.
- Engage with Locals: - The people of Beruwala are friendly and hospitable. Engaging in conversations can provide insights into local customs, traditions, and hidden gems not found in guidebooks.
Beruwala, with its rich tapestry of history, vibrant culture, and scenic beauty, beckons travelers from around the world. Its pristine beaches, significant landmarks, and the warmth of its people make it more than just a travel destination; it's an experience waiting to be embraced. Beruwala will be a chapter in your travel story, offering memories that will linger long after your footprints fade from its sands.