Sleepy Mirissa, 4km southeast of Weligama on the Matara road, has a headland dividing its small fishing harbour from a beautiful curve of sandy beach with calm, clear waters. It’s a low-key, peaceful spot that was once the preserve of backpackers but is now becoming more popular as travellers seek out quieter alternatives to Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa. The tsunami caused much damage along the coast here..
Most of the places to stay are on the beach. You’ll need to go to Matara for most services, although there are Internet and phone places, and small markets near the 149km marker. Sights & Activities The water at Mirissa is clear and excellent for snorkelling. The best stretch is at the west end of the bay, along the jagged coastline, where there are many fish. The south side of the bay yields flat-bottom coral and, sometimes, sea turtles. Surfing is also good at the west end of the bay. Ask your guesthouse or hotel if it has gear that you can rent.
The rocky outcrop to the east of the bay, Parrot Rock, is the perfect place to watch the sunset, and it’s also a popular fishing spot. There are pleasant walks around Mirissa. One heads up a steep series of steps from the main road to the small Kandavahari temple, while the headland is a good spot to view Weligama Bay. About 6km inland there’s a snake farm with an Ayurvedic practitioner. Ask your guesthouse how to get there. Some guesthouses organise boat trips on a lake that’s about 2km inland.