Home to the Instagram-famous swing, Dalawella beach is on many backpacker’s Sri Lankan itineraries.
But the Instagram swing is not the only reason that Dalawella beach is so wonderful! It’s the sloping palm trees, soft white sand, peaceful ambience, perfect sunsets and safe swimming which draws visitors in. In my opinion, it’s one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
Fortunately, aside from the beach swing being popular with Instagrammers, Dalawella beach is not as well known as nearby Unwatuna beach just 3km away. Therefore, whilst certainly not a deserted beach, Dalawella beach remains a relaxed place to visit, perfect for a restful few days enjoying a slice of Sri Lankan paradise!
It is especially beautiful early in the morning when you may have the beach entirely to yourself (minus a few friendly local dogs.) I’d recommend getting up early for sunrise and sitting on the sand, listening to the waves crashing and soaking up the peaceful ambience.
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 A Guide For Visiting Dalawella Beach
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Dalawella beach
Sea Turtles at Dalawella Beach
Dalawella beach is also popular with sea turtles so consider renting a snorkel to go searching for them in the lagoon. Snorkelling with turtles is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka.
At night, keep your eyes peeled as it’s a popular nesting spot for turtles too. Since turtles are endangered, locals are doing their best to help the baby turtles survive by protecting the eggs until they hatch and then releasing them back into the ocean at night when they are at less risk from predators.
Speak to the guys at Dream Cabana as they will often show you the turtle babies if they happen to have any hatch that day that they will later release.
A Guide For Visiting Dalawella Beach
Things to do at Dalawella Beach
The best thing about visiting Dalawella beach is the relaxed vibe so make sure you take some time just to chill out!
But if you start to get itchy feet then there are plenty of other activities you can arrange including
- Scuba diving
- PADI dive courses
- Snorkelling tours
- Whale and dolphin watching
- Deep sea fishing
- Jet Skiing
- Surf lessons.
(All activities available through Pearl Divers, Padi resort and water sports centre.)
You could also arrange an Ayurvedic massage or visit the Turtle hatchery / turtle conservation project
Of course, trying out the Dalawella beach Instagram palm tree rope swing at Dream Cabana bar will be a highlight for many, especially if you visit for sunset.
You could also consider taking a day trip to Galle, Unawatuna or Mirissa.
Galle is a world UNESCO heritage site where you will find Dutch colonial buildings and ancient fort now home to many quirky shops, cafes, art galleries and restaurants.
Mirissa is a beach town approximately 45 minutes from Dalawella beach. For me, the real highlight at Mirissa was visiting Coconut tree hill viewpoint and then spending some time relaxing on ‘secret beach.’
Unawatuna is the busy beach town just 3km away, full of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants.
Where to stay near Dalawella Beach
You have a few options for places to stay near Dalawella beach.
There is the trendy Wijaya Beach guesthouse with its 6 deluxe ensuite rooms. Although it does come with a fairly hefty price tag for Sri Lanka costing between $60 an $100 per night depending on whether it is peak season or not.
If you are travelling as a group and looking to hire a villa for several people, On The Rocks is a beautiful villa with a private swimming pool and beach terrace which offers luxury accommodation.
I chose to stay at Galawatta Beach Cabanas, one of the most affordable places to stay on Dalawella beach. My accommodation was a simple beach hut just a mere few metres back from the beach with beautiful views from my verandah where I sat for breakfast. It was quiet, peaceful and the perfect place to unwind, falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach just metres away.
Where to eat and drink
There were a few restaurants attached to guesthouses with simple menus scattered along the beach and a few restaurants on the main street back from the beach. But the most popular place to eat and drink is at Wijaya restaurant directly on the beach. The menu is varied and their prawn and mango curry is mouth-wateringly delicious.
How to Get to Dalawella Beach
Dalawella beach is about 3 km from Unawatuna and will cost around 400Rs in a tuk-tuk.
I arrived from Mirissa after finishing my Sri Lanka tour with G Adventures. I tried to get an Uber which is a popular way to get around Sri Lanka but I had problems with my driver refusing to take online payments and demanding cash. Worried this would result in being charged twice, I took a local taxi organised by my hotel. It was pricier but my taxi driver was fab, stopping for me to get cash and to visit the stilt fishermen on Galle beach along the way for no additional cost. It ended up costing me $25 but it should have been less than half that with an Uber.
If you are coming from further away or are trying to save money, I recommend using Rome2Rio to work out the best way to get to Dalawella beach using public transport.
Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Dalawella beach
Is it safe to swim at Dalawella beach?
Yes, most of the time it is. There is a wall of rock creating a natural lagoon where swimmers are safe from the huge Sri Lankan waves. For this reason, Dalawella beach may be one of the safest beaches for swimming in South Sri Lanka.
However, the waves can be unpredictable in Sri Lanka so always check with the locals if it is safe to swim.
Low tide, usually in the morning, will be the safest time for swimming here.
I’d recommend swimming on the left side f the lagoon as there can be riptides towards the right side which may be risky at high tide.
Remember to look out for turtles in this lagoon area!
Can I sunbathe there?
Yes, there are deck chairs to rent but be warned that at high tide, the water can come right up to the bars and restaurants so make sure you store your belongings somewhere safe if you are taking a swim!
Where is the Instagram swing on Dalawella Beach?
The instagram swing is actually not on the main Dalawella beach, it’s just around the corner.
You can reach it by walking to the far right of the beach (if you are looking at the water.) At low tide, you can clamber over the rocks but at high tide, I’d recommend you go out to the main road and walk until you reach the Dream Cabana bar and walk through to the beach.
You can also search for “the palm rope swing” or “Dream Cabana” on google maps.
This particular stretch of beach is really beautiful and lovely to walk along for sunset or sunrise.
To use the Dalawella beach swing, you will have to pay the owners at Dream Cabana beach bar 500 Sri Lankan rupees. There may be a small queue especially if you visit at a popular time.
I would still advise that you visit for sunset to get some spectacular instagram-worthy photos.
There is a smaller rope swing on the main Dalawella beach so if there is a long queue for the main palm rope swing, you could try this one out!
When is the best time to visit the South Coast of Sri Lanka?
The best time to visit the south coast of Sri Lanka is between January and April. From May onwards, the southwest monsoon blows in bringing more unpredictable, wet weather.
I hope this has helped to answer your questions about visiting Dalawella beach. If you have any other questions, please pop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!