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Arugam Bay Beach, Arugam Bay Overview

Arugam Bay Beach is any surfers dream location while visiting Sri Lanka. This gorgeous beach is located on the east coast of Sri Lanka and is not very popular among mainstream tourists, which is why it has maintained its rustic charm. It proves to be a must visit for people looking for offbeat destinations in Sri Lanka.

Arugam Beach is included in the top surfing destinations in the world and offers several other water sports fit for people of all ages. Surrounded by lovely hotels and luxury resorts, it provides the guests with a relaxing atmosphere to unwind. The beach is at a prime location, surrounded by many bars, restaurants, local shops as well as luxury stores. All the facilities ensure that visitors have a comfortable stay at the beach.

The population of Arugam Bay is mainly Muslim; however, there is a significant number of Tamil and Sinhalese people and international migrants from Europe and Australia. The main occupation of people is fishing, but due to the increasing popularity of the beach, mainly due to surfing activities, tourism has boomed.

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Activities at Arugam Bay Beach

Arugam Bay is the most popular surfing location in Sri Lanka and is also one of the top 10 best-surfing destinations in the world. The beach has many surf schools where you can learn surfing from professionals. The place is kid friendly and has all the safety equipment required for surfing. You can either buy this equipment or rent it from the surf schools. You can even enjoy snorkelling and look at the beautiful coral reefs under water. The tourists can engage in underwater photography and capture the beautiful sea creatures in the sea.
The place is also considered a windsurfing hub and organizes an annual windsurfing competition to attract professionals from all over the world. The site organizes numerous boat tours for the people that are not into surfing. More adventurous guests can rent a motorboat of their own and go on a ride into the ocean.

Nightlife at Arugam Beach

Arugam Beach is known to host the wildest beach parties in the city. Locals and tourists can enjoy the gorgeous scenery while eating delicious food, refreshing drinks, and dancing to tantalizing music. The beach has many straw huts and beach houses that can be used by the tourists. The two most popular bars to hang out in are Siam View for beer and Hideaway Hide and Chill Bar for cocktails. The bars offer live music and evening entertainment for the guests.

Shopping at Arugam Bay Beach

Besides the numerous surf shops, selling surfing and safety equipment, Arugam Bay Beach has many smaller shops as well. These shops sell local items like handmade bags, small gifts, souvenirs etc. The famous Rice and Carry shop is just a few minutes away from the beach. This shop sells items that have been specially made by local women that want to support themselves by working. It is a great initiative to make women in the area self-reliant and tourist love to recommend this shop.

Wildlife at Arugam Bay Beach

The Arugam Bay area is extremely diverse when it comes to wildlife. The nearby area is famous for its elephant population. Other animals found in this region include the wild boar, deer and crocodiles. The tropical weather also leads to the presence of many exotic bird species. In November and December, many migratory birds can be seen in the area. Tourists can engage in bird watching while visiting this destination.

Dining and Local Food at Arugam Bay Beach

The gorgeous resorts at Arugam Bay beach offer many different cuisines including local Sri Lankan food, Indian, Mexican, Italian and many more. Tourists also like to visit the many cafes and eateries around the place. The most popular areas include The Pizza hub, for delicious authentic pizzas and Zephyr, a luxury diner, known for its excellent selection of cocktails. The recommended dishes include authentic curries and bread.

History of Arugam Bay Beach

It was in the 1970s when a surfer community took over the area and built many shacks and hotels in the region, which is how Arugam Bay, or Abay for short, was born. The civil war (1983 - 2009) had a significant impact on the area. The villages were never directly affected, but the supply route was. Tourism was not active at this point and hotels would have to buy the local fishermen’s produce. A big tsunami in 2004 hit the area. However, the ISA (International Surfers Association) came to the town, and tourism started to boom. The place is also known for a stiff conflict between the fishing and tourist industry. The hotels have been complaining for years that the fishing huts blocks the view, and the smell of drying fish affects their business.

Tips while Visiting Arugam Bay Beach

Visitors who are interested in surfing should go through a surfing school and follow all safety guidelines to prevent any mishap. Keep a check on the warning signs to make sure that you do not go swimming in an area where there is a risk of crocodiles. The beach is very sunny and hot, and tourists are recommended to wear a sun hat and sunscreen for protection.

How To Reach Arugam Bay Beach

Arugam Bay is about 320 kilometres from Colombo. The nearest airport to the area is the Batticaloa Airport. If travelling from Colombo, you can take a bus which will take about 9 hours to reach Arugam Bay. You can even travel by taxi, which will take about 8 hours, but proves to be more expensive and not suitable for larger groups. From any other part of Sri Lanka, you can travel to Pottuvil and then reach the Arugam Bay beach easily.

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