Beyond the Villa
Situated just 15 minutes from the historic southern town of Galle which is the fourth largest city in Sri Lanka. Once the main ‘port of call’ on the island, Galle reached the height of its development during Dutch rule in the 18th century. The historic Galle Fort is a world heritage site and testament to European architecture as it was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and then fortified by the Dutch when they took over in the 17th Century. Museums, cathedrals and exquisite architecture await visitors in the city of Galle.
The Turtle Hatchery
Marked by a number of colorful turtle murals on the outside wall, this beachside facility aims to protect populations of olive ridley, leatherback, green, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles. The center includes a sandy area where the turtles hatch under small hills, and multiple tanks where you can see the variety of species swimming around. You even get the chance to release some of the infants back into the wild.
Whale Watching – Mirissa
The whale watching season in Mirissa runs from November through to April and July to September, with the best chance of sightings from December to March because of sea is not rough. You will have a chance of spotting Blue Whales, Fin Whales and even Sperm whales in these waters along with a variety of dolphins.
Lunuganga Estate was the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Started in 1947, the garden led Bawa, a lawyer called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1940, to decide to become an architect. As he went on to become Sri Lanka’s and one of Asia’s most prolific and influential architects, the garden at the Lunuganga estate remained his first muse and experimental laboratory for new ideas. He continued to change and experiment with its spaces and structures throughout his life until his final illness in 1998. Left to the Lunuganga Trust on his demise in 2003, the gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a country house hotel.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Hikkaduwa’s brilliant coral reef and bountiful underwater ecosystem makes it one of the best locations in the country for snorkelling excursions. The dive season runs from November to April. There’s a good range of dives close by, including reef dives down to 25m at the labyrinthine Hikkaduwa Gala complex, a well-known spot with swim-through caves, and the rocky-bottomed area of Kiralagala (22–36m deep).
There are also some sixteen wrecks in the vicinity, including a much-dived old steam-driven oil tanker from the 1860s known as the Conch; the Earl of Shaftesbury sailing ship, wrecked in 1848; and the Rangoon, which sank near Galle in 1863.