Mirissa – Whale Watching, Top Experiences, & Travel Guide

Last Updated on by Teddy

Have you ever tried to find heaven? We found it for you, here at Mirissa!

You can find this quaint fishing village on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, 200 kilometers north of the equator. The crescent-shaped beach curves around you like a warm embrace, and it’s bays provide enough of interest to keep visitors occupied.

Be sure to chat with the friendly locals while you explore this beautiful coastline and enjoy its lovely beaches.

Things to Do and Attractions

1. Whale & Dolphin Watching

Apparently whales can be found approximately seven to nine miles from Mirissa Harbor. You may also have the opportunity to see schools of jumping dolphins while you are on the search for blue whales, byre whales, and more. Whale watching tours start early in the morning from about 6.30am, so be prepared for a long day. There are many reputable companies to choose from; find the one that suits you and enjoy this popular activity!

  • Duration: About 7 hours
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on your tour package provider – try contacting Whale Watching Club where they offer a range of packages (Harbour Road, Mirissa 81740, Sri Lanka | +94 77 128 7200 | http://www.whalewatchingclub.com)
  • Location: Mirissa

2. Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach has undergone redevelopment and is a hotspot with tourists and surfers. There are plenty of beach eateries here, and sunbeams and umbrellas. The evening vibes are great, although it does get busy in the daytime too. The waters are suitable for swimming depending on the season, and you will find that one side of the beach is dominated by the surfers. There are plenty of local tour companies offering a variety of water sport activities from surfing and diving, to whale watching and jet skis. Don’t forget to walk to Parrot Island, a massive rock attached to the sandy shore – just don’t try the climb in high tide or when the water is choppy as it isn’t a simple hike.

  • Duration: More than 3 hours
  • Location: Mirissa

3. Deep Sea Fishing

Catch some maritime excitement with professional fisherman and learn to fish in the ocean. Your guides will take you out to sea where you will catch around one to two kilograms of tuna, which you can keep for your dinner. You can request your guides to clean and fillet your fish, and then take them to a local restaurant where they will be happy to cook the fish for your dinner. Yum!

  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on your tour package provider – try contacting Mirissa Deep Fishing Tours where they charge approximately $150 for 1 Person; $300 for 2; $450 for 3;  $450 for 4 | +94 71 527 8310 | https://www.facebook.com/pg/MirissaDeepFishing/services
  • Location: Mirissa

4. Speed Boats Tours

Ride in a luxurious catamaran or take the helm. Be sure to enjoy the view, or stop to swim, snorkel, or whale watch. Some packages also provide a professional chef who will cook you a meal. So whether you’re there to soak in the sun or ready to take on the sea, the time on the water is yours!

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on your tour package provider – try contacting Sail Lanka Charter where they offer a range of boat packages | Open 8am-6pm | +94 71 440 5000 | http://sail-lanka-charter.com/en/)
  • Location: Mirrisa Harbour

5. Surfing & Windsurfing

The moderate climate with calmer waters makes windsurfing in Mirissa an excellent activity choice for all, from beginners to professionals! The waves are rarely affected by onshore winds making it an ideal spot for beginners. The water tends to be best around full moons, and the best time is from October until March. There are lots of regional tour operators providing water sport activities in the area, as well as local surfing schools; you can hire equipment and guides from these facilities. No cold weather protection needed—just your sense of adventure and a little fun!

  • Duration: 3 hours upwards
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on your tour package provider – try contacting Surfmakers Surfing School (272/B Udupila, Mirissa | Gihan Guesthouse, Weligama, Matara 81700, Sri Lanka | Open 7am-6pm | +94 71 560 9284) or Surf ’n Lanka (600/7 Weligama By Pass Road, Weligama, Matara 81700, Sri Lanka | +94 77 605 6196 | http://www.surfnlanka.com)

6. Scuba & Snorkeling

Snorkel off the local reef to find an amazing array of sea creatures, including lobster, squid, and schools of tropical fish. These waters are teeming with the flashing colors and bright array of lively underwater sea life. You can choose from a variety of packages, with everyone from beginners to pros catered for, and there are also night dives available.

  • Duration: More than 3 hours
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on your tour package provider – try contacting Paradise Dive Center (Open 8:30am-9pm | +94 77 614 8207 | https://www.paradisedivemirissa.com) or Mirissa Dive Center (Wimalananda Mw, Bandaramulla, Mirissa 81740, Sri Lanka | +94 77 551 7999 | http://www.mirissadivecenter.com)
  • Location: Mirissa

7. Ayurveda Treatment

The ancient art of Ayurveda is a renowned alternative medicine healing system which takes the mind, the body, and the soul into account within its therapies. While in Sri Lanka you can take the opportunity to enjoy a soothing Ayurveda massage at hotels, resorts, or local spas. Uplift your body, your mind, and your spirit with these relaxing treatments.

  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Cost for foreign visitors: Prices depend on the venue – try contacting local venue Secret Root Spa where they offer a range of spa packages (Open 9am-8pm | +94 77 329 4332)
  • Location: Mirissa

8. Learn about Tea

The charming Thinuli Tea Center is well known for their varieties of teas and the hospitable, friendly shop owner. They will insist that you try some tea when you visit, and with their reasonable prices you will be tempted to leave with many purchases – the perfect souvenir for yourself or your family.

Where to Eat

What better place than the beach to get fresh fare? Here are the Best Places To Eat In Mirissa:

1. Wadiya Restaurant ($$$)

Udupila Junction, Mirissa | +94 779 506 074 | www.mirissabeachwadiya.com/restaurant

Popular for their culinary magic and local seafood catches, the Wadiya Restaurant is everything that is Mirissa. The beach, the bar, the food, chilled vibes, and great hosts are to die for. This is a much-visited place, popular mainly for its exciting beach barbeque at night.

2. The Sunset ($$$)

7, Bandaramulla, Matara Road, Mirissa |  +94-717-340434 | www.mirissasunset.com

The Sunset has a stunning view over the Indian Ocean that promises you an amazing sunset. An elegant place with a great choice of gourmet food, this is the most romantic spot in Mirissa for the fine dining couples.

3. Little Tuna Sushi Café ($$)

This off-the-beach eatery serves Japanese food. Sushi lovers must visit this when they venture into Mirissa. Known for the friendly hosts and busy hours, this will be a good place to unwind after a long day of roaming the beaches of Mirissa.

4. Palm Villa ($$)

Matara Road, Mirissa

This whitewashed building sits on the beach and exudes old world charm. Their devilled chicken is highly recommended. Palm Villa is yet another great find among the other spots by the beach.

5. Dewmini Roti Shop ($)

Udupila Road, Mirissa

Run by a Sri Lankan couple who gets creative with roti, the Dewmini Roti place is famed for its unique roti dishes. Expect everything from chocolate rotis to mushroom and cheese rotis. This place is great if you are travelling on a budget but still want authentic Sri Lankan food.

6. Our World WiFi Café ($)

150 Km Post, Merinchigoda, Galle Road, Mirissa

This cafe caters to the gluten free and vegan eaters while providing free WiFi. Located on an exotic spot by the beach, you can dine amidst the sound of waves for a very low cost at Our World WiFi cafe. A must have is their fresh king coconuts and coffees.

Or check our complete list of best places to eat in Mirissa for more delicious options.

Where to Sleep

Mirissa offers heaps of accommodation options. Here are a few options:

1. Adana Beach Resort     

With an awe-inspiring view of the Indian Ocean, this hotel offers a high level of service and security. The private beach, outdoor pool, and garden are ideal places to relax after a busy day.

2. SeaWorld Resort Matara

SeaWorld Resort is a 3-star hotel offering air-conditioned accommodation. Facilities include an in-house restaurant, bar, mini bar, lounge, outdoor pool, cycling, 24-hour front desk, safety deposit box, tea-coffee facilities, and car rental.

3. Holaa Mirissa

Holaa Mirissa is a 3-star property that is only 3.8km from the Weherahena Buddhist Temple, Koggala Airport, and Kushtarajagala. The hotel can help you book whale watching, hiking,  or fishing tours. Their facilities include shared kitchens, BBQ’s, a garden, children’s playground, private parking, in-house restaurant, special diet menus, currency exchange, and a maid service.

4. Randiyaa Sea View Inn

What makes this hotel so special? Other than excellent accommodation and wonderful service, they host a plethora of exclusive activities. Whale watching, surfing, fishing and dining, safari tours, bikes on rent, Ayurvedic treatments, and yoga programs.

When to Go

Best time: From November to March the climate is relatively good, and you get the best waves! You also avoid the monsoon season.

Time to avoid: May to September. The south-west monsoons create terrible waves across the southern coast; most water sport activities are cancelled during the monsoons.

Dress code

Wherever you go in the country of Sri Lanka you should be aware of the cultural ‘dress code’. Try to respect these as it will make your visit much more enjoyable. When you are away from touristy beaches, be sure to carry a shawl or shirt with you so that you can cover up as necessary (it is best to cover up at local restaurants/eateries as a courtesy to others). When you visit religious sites you must cover up to your knees and shoulders—and you should take off your headwear and footwear when entering such venues. These rules apply to both men and women.

Getting-In and Around

Once you are in Mirissa, local buses and tuk-tuks will be your best options. Please avoid the temptation to ride a rented scooter or motor-cycle as traffic can be hard to navigate.

Getting in:

Colombo: You can travel on the three hour train from Colombo Fort to Galle, and then travel onwards to Mirissa by taxi. Alternatively, you can take the 5 hour bus from Colombo Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal to Matara Bus Station, from where you can take a 15 minute taxi ride to Mirissa. A taxi will get you to Mirissa in under two hours.

Airport or Negombo: The taxi from Negombo to Mirissa takes about two and a half hours. Best public transport option will be to take a bus to Colombo Fort railway station and take the train from there. Or, you can take a tuk-tuk to Katunayake bus station and transfer for the bus to Galle or Matara (Mirissa is located in between Galle and Matara), form where you can catch another tuk-tuk to Mirissa – it will take more than six hours.

Galle: Take a bus towards Matara or a half hour taxi drive.

Kandy: Take a train from Kandy to Colombo Fort from where you can take the train to Galle – this journey will take about six hours. Taking a taxi directly to Mirissa will take about four and a half hours using E01 express way.

Ella: Take a taxi to Wellawaya bus station from where you can take the bus to Matara Bus station, and then take a taxi to Mirissa – this journey will take about four and a half hours. Taking a taxi for the full journey will take about three hours.

Dambulla: Take a bus to the Colombo and take a train or bus from there as you wish. Train will be the most comfortable. A direct taxi from Dambulla to Mirissa will take about five and half hours using E01 Express Way.

Budget

It is possible to choose from a range of unique and basic accommodation options in Mirissa. Mid-price hotels offer rooms from $60, while luxury resorts have rooms costing more than $300. Basic rooms can also be found at local guesthouses from as little as $20. With plenty of local restaurants and cafes in the area you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to meals – you can find good food from as little as $5, although seafood dishes will cost a lot more, and drinks can be expensive.

You may find that a big portion of your holiday budget will be going towards outdoor activities and water sports. Make sure to book with reputable tour operators with local guides as you will be guaranteed a professional and ethical service. When you book activities be sure to factor in all the potential costs form hiring equipment, to transport and food costs.

Traveler Quotes

 “Sri Lanka is situated within the International Whaling Commission’s protected zone in the Indian Ocean. Of the 80 species of cetaceans observed and identified worldwide, 26 are found in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Therefore Trincomalee and Kalpitya along with Mirissa are the best places in Sri Lanka for whale and dolphin watching.”

Marysia Maciocha of My Travel Affairs

Don’t miss out on this slice of heaven while you visit Sri Lanka!

Whether you’re tanning on the beach, sipping a smooth at Papa Mango, or blue whale watching, there’s something stunning and island worthy for you here at Mirissa.