Hikkaduwa Marine National Park
Hikkaduwa’s overexploited marine national park stretches along the northern end of the beach. Once upon a time this was a magnificent garden of fi shy colours and flowering corals, but today the reef is sadly a shadow of its former self, with much of the coral dying and the fish flipping away to more pristine spots.
One of the big reasons for this demise has been coral bleaching, caused by oceanic and atmospheric conditions, which struck the reef in 1998, affecting about half the coral. The tsunami caused some further damage.
It’s easy to see the coral. Dive shops and many hotels and guesthouses rent out snorkelling gear for around Rs 500 a day, or less. Glass-bottomed boat rides are available . The boats can be hired from beside the National Park Ticket Office, which, as the name suggests, is where you buy your entrance tickets.
The diving season runs from November to April. Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) courses plus a selection of dives such as wreck dives, night dives and trips for those who just want to try out diving, are available from Poseidon Diving Station
The conditions for surfing are at their best from November to April. The Wewala and Narigama areas of the beach have a handful of tame reef breaks, as well as a beach break, all of which are perfect for beginner to intermediate-level surfers. These waves, combined with the energetic nightlife, has made Hikkaduwa easily the most popular surf spot in Sri Lanka