This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Arugam Bay.
Arugam Bay is a bay on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka. It is most famous for the surf breaks in the bay, which attract world-class surfers and surfers wanting to try out the waves. Arugam Bay is on the opposite coast from Colombo. To get here, you need to fly to Colombo and arrange transfer with your hotel. Private taxis cost quite a bit and there is no reliable air service into anywhere closer. The drive from Colombo is around 320km (200 miles) but can take a full day to get across.
Because Arugam Bay is a world-class surf spot, there is a lot of accommodation. There are only a few hostels in town, and none will be the traditional backpacker hostels you might be used to from Australia or Europe. Expect family-owned hostels that are clean, quiet, and friendly; the rooms may be small but the shared spaces will make up for that. There are also several guesthouses and inns in town if the hostels are full.
Arugam Bay was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and rebuilding over the last decade has been rather slow. The town is tiny - only a few hundred residents - but the main beachside street is where to find the restaurants, bars, and shops. Tourism here is dominated by the surf culture but there are also national parks within easy driving distance. The Kumana National Park is to the south, while the Lahugala National Park is on the north side of town. There are a lot of elephants and other wildlife in the area, and you can expect to see them migrating between the two parks. Buses run to the town of Panama, south of Arugam Bay, three times a day; jump off at one of the many unspoilt beaches here for an afternoon of relaxation. Whether you aren’t a surfer or just need a day off, Arugam Bay is an excellent base for hiking and wildlife watching.
Written by local enthusiast for Arugam Bay hostelsJakob Lombardi