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A five minute walk downhill from Villa Baywatch is a small beach lost in the jungle. This is the best place in the area for snorkeling, with easy access to the water and a sheltered bay from the stronger waves and currents of Unawatuna beach.
Located within walking distance of Unawatuna and a quick jaunt from Galle, Jungle Beach in Sri Lanka is the most accessible and easiest choice for enjoying a day of snorkeling.
Don’t believe local ‘guides’ that tell you Jungle Beach is hard to find. You can get yourself there easily for free to enjoy a great day on the beach and in the water!
What is the Jungle Beach in Sri Lanka?
Located just northwest of the beach at Unawatuna, Jungle Beach is a tiny, semi-hidden bay surrounded by jungle. Although the beach is hardly a ‘secret’, many tourists mistakenly pay extra for snorkeling trips that include a boat ride to Jungle Beach.
The reef at Jungle Beach is pretty well dead, however, you’ll still encounter plenty of small marine life and may even get lucky enough to see one of the sizable sea turtles that make regular appearances on the beach.
A small restaurant on the beach run by the village boys serves cold drinks, beer, cocktails and sea food for when you need to take a break from the water. This restaurant has become a hit during the last season.
Options for Getting to Jungle Beach from Unawatuna or Galle city
Just carrying a snorkel mask through Unawatuna will bring lots of offers from tuk-tuk drivers for a trip to Jungle Beach. Catching a ride means missing out on the pleasant, 30-minute walk and lots of opportunities to see birds, flowers, large butterflies, monitor lizards, monkeys, and other wildlife along the way!
Alternatively, you can rent a scooter in Unawatuna — the best place for rentals is at the corner of the beach access road and main road to Galle — for around US $6 per day, not including fuel.
Dive shops offer boat rides from Unawatuna to Jungle Beach, however, you’ll pay a premium and will be under time constraints; the boat waits for you as you snorkel.
From Unawatuna, walk northwest (opposite direction of the main road to Galle) on Wella Dewalaya Road — the beach access road. Turn right onto the only other paved road, Yaddehimulla Road. If you come upon the popular Hot Rock restaurant, you’re still on the access road and missed your turn just 100 meters prior.
The walk will continue past several pleasant guest houses and then uphill through a residential area. Be on the lookout for plenty of large jackfruit hanging in the trees, beautiful orchids, and monkeys of all types.
Signs posted along the way — both hand written and permanent — will guide you all the way to Jungle Beach. You can also follow any signs to the large, white Japanese Peace Pagoda which is located just above the beach.
The paved path will disappear and you’ll pick your way along a small-but-easy jungle path and even across a tiny creek. Don’t worry, the path is hardly a serious jungle trek and you’ll probably encounter people along the way.
Snorkeling at Jungle Beach in Sri Lanka
The reef and snorkeling begin only 30 feet away from the beach — directly in front. You can also snorkel around the rocks on both sides of the bay, but beware of waves pushing you too close to the sharp edges. The current is weak and waves typically aren’t an issue at Jungle Beach.
Among schools of colorful reef fish, you may also encounter crabs, moray eels, trigger fish, parrot fish, barracudas, and maybe even a turtle.
Allocate a few minutes on the way out for looking around the large Japanese Peace Pagoda located just above the beach. The Sunset Point, marked by a sign on the road to Jungle Beach, offers far better sunset views than those in Unawatuna, but you’ll need a flashlight for the walk back.