We’re amidst August and a sense of nostalgia is starting to set in. This time last year, my friends and I decided to spend our summer break in Arugambay. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a bay located along the southeast coastlines of Sri Lanka. It’s one of the many beaches with the most mesmerizing waters and I happened to pay a visit at the perfect time to see the vibrant turquoise blue waves make its entrance. I’ve only visited Arugambay once before with my family. I was seven at the time and the few memories I had was staying at my father’s friends’ beachfront guesthouse, running around being a trouble maker as any kid would. But one memory which is most significant and crosses my mind every time someone mentions Arugambay was the time my sister and I were woken up at five in the morning by our father to watch the turtle eggs hatch and make their way into the calm cold ocean. Hence, when my friends suggested to spending the first week of August in Arugambay, I was the first to jump up and say YES! In hopes of reliving those fond memories I had as a kid.
We decided to leave at three in the morning as we had an eight hour journey ahead of us. Normally, the thought of spending that much time travelling would fill your mind with dread. However, travelling outstation from Colombo is never a bore and is considered to be a privilege. You pass many towns but once you reach the more rural areas it’s a scenic view the whole journey through. The upside of driving early in the morning is that you’re wide awake when the sun rises or the sun ends up waking you up if you do decide to snooze.
In this case, my friends and I were just too hyped up with excitement and sang, goofed and danced around the whole eight hours. We even ran into our good old elephant friend when we reached Udawalawe. Ideally, he’s supposed to be in the jungle looking for his own food, but you find some spoiled elephants hanging around the electric fence knowing full well that someone would break the rules and feed them some fruit.
When we finally reached Arugambay, the first thing we did was look for Mambo’s hotel which was where we planned on staying. The hotel itself is fairly mediocre but its atmosphere is exceptional. It’s situated in front of the most perfect and scenic part of the beach. You’d get the busy parts on the left side which has many fishing boats, restaurants and guesthouses but on the right you’d find the beach being more secluded with lots of greenery.
My friends and I fell in love with the sea the moment we saw it. So it came to no surprise that we only spent five minutes in our rooms only to get into our beach attire and explore a part of the island we weren’t familiar with. Arugambay is considered to be one of the best beaches for surfing and one of the islands most popular tourist destinations.
For a bunch of girls who weren’t experts on the surfing field, it was the perfect opportunity to be spectators and watch some local and international surfing talent as Redbull was hosting a surf competition, where people around the world came to take part.
If you’re a surfing fanatic be sure to visit the Main Point which is said to have the best wave breaks. The other ideal spots would be the Elephant rock, Pottuvil and Whiskey point.
Apart from the beach side, be sure to visit the Lahugala and Kumana National Park for some wild life adventures.
Putting the adventurous activities aside, let’s talk about the culinary delights Arugambay holds. Let me start off by saying the food is to DIE FOR and gives a true meaning to your holiday binges. For breakfast you’re treated with a number of tropical fruits such as pineapple, watermelon, and mango. It’s the mango season in August and I highly recommend you try the mango juice because it’s just out of this world! For lunch you get a variety of seafood. I always chose the seafood fried rice with jumbo prawns and crab curry which was incredibly filling but satisfying nonetheless. Because Arugambay has a lot of foreigners you find many international dishes such as pizza, fish and chips, burghers etc. However, you also get a Sri Lankan twist added on to them which makes it a unique and authentic culinary experience. For dinner you would always find restaurants with BBQ grills on the side of the road and different fresh seafood dishes. We had our dinner in places like Hideaway Blue, Mambo’s and Gecko’s. Gecko’s was my favorite place for dinner because their food was just delicious. Their chicken burgher caught my attention the moment I saw it because it was unusual in both flavor and color. For dessert we had their homemade coconut ice cream which had just the right amount of creaminess. I’ve been in search of a duplicate of that ice cream in Colombo ever since but haven’t been very successful. If I had the choice to travel all the way back to Arugambay just for that ice cream, I would most definitely do so because it was just that good!!
Nonetheless, Arugambay truly lives up to all your expectations, and I’ve come to realize why many people keep visiting whenever they get the chance. It has a variety of experiences in line whether it be – diving, snorkeling, surfing or wildlife excursions. If you’re yet to visit Sri Lanka, be sure to add Arugambay onto your bucket list.