This is Unawatuna!
by Asoka Weerasinghe
Ayubowan! - Long may you live!
That's Sri Lankan traditional greeting of welcome. You are welcome to Unawatuna, which is one of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world!
Unawatuna is a small fishermans village just south of the Dutch city of Galle on the southern corner of beautiful island Sri Lanka - the pearl of the orient!
Unawatuna is my ancestral native village. Generation of my family have lived here and I'm happy to be able to live here, too. As a teenager on vacations
I've had the beach to myself, that was before tourists dicovered this patch of paradise - now wouldn't you like that. Today our ancestral home is open to paying guests as guest houes "Homestay Strand".
Todays Unawatuna is a very popular place with beautiful beach. Visitors find a wide range of accomodation from rooms in homes, beachside cabanas, guest houses, and hotels ("Ceylon Tourist Board" approved class A and B guest houses). Restaurants inland and beachfront offer Singhalese food - mostly sea food, Chinese dishes or pasta. There is also one vegetarian restaurant. Private homes are best for Sri Lankan cusine!
Nature is in abundance, one of the twelve best beaches in the world offering underwater wonderment in great variety of tropical fishes and live coral reefs. Bounavista Reef that is rich in bio-diversity is just a boat ride away.
Those who opt for scuba diving will find many ship wrecks that includes "Lord Nelson" that sank by the Rocky Isle just off shore and many other deep sea bed coral colonies.
Most species of Turtles, still nest in the sandy beach and are being cared for by the village folk, a low-key Turtle conservation effort by those engaged in tourism ensures that most eggs laid on the beach are saved from poachers, and hatchlings are set free.
The flora in the Rumassala shrub jungle and eco-treks in this area will facinate the nature lover. Over fifty varieties of birds have been sighted in Unawatuna by the bird watchers who make up a third of eco-tourists.
Shopping for gems, jewellery, cloths, silks, hand made lace, ebony carvings, batiks, antiques: there's no place like Galle as many artisans live in Galle area.