Balapitiya & Bentota
Sri Lanka’s desirable west coast is the definition of picture-postcard beautiful – long swathes of wide sandy palm-fringed beaches bathed in the crimson glow of sunset. Some of the island’s most developed coastal resorts may be found here including beach-blessed Bentota whose lagoon offers an exciting range of water sports; Ambalangoda, significant for being the heart and soul of southern art and culture; and Hikkaduwa, which is a lively surfing, snorkelling and diving destination home to Sri Lanka’s only protected marine sanctuary.
Sleepy Balapitiya sits just to the north of Ambalangoda, along a sandy swathe of golden beach characterised by vast boulders, and is within reach of all west coast sights. This stretch of coastline, particularly around Kosgoda, is a vital nesting ground for Sri Lanka’s five species of marine turtle while the Madu Ganga River Estuary near Balapitiya boasts mangrove-fringed islands and exotic resident wildlife. Further inland from the coast are the magnificent homes and gardens of two of Sri Lanka’s legendary sons – Lunuganga, architect Geoffrey Bawa’s magnificent lakeside retreat, and Brief, a smaller estate designed by his brother Bevis.