Sri Lanka is often called the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ because it is an island paradise located just below India. The country’s famed beaches offer warm tropical breezes, lofty palms that yield sweet king coconuts, turquoise waters and reefs that are home to many species of tropical fish. Travelling towards the south of country you will arrive on the shores of Matara. Hotel, guest house or homestay are your options are of accommodation in this busy, booming and sprawling commercial town. It is home to a large fishing community, a well-preserved Dutch fort that definitely warrants a visit and a Dutch colonial-styled luxury boutique hotel called Amaloh by Jetwing.
Polhena Beach in Matara is a favourite among beach goers who enjoy snorkelling and have an appreciation for marine life. It boasts a four kilometre reef resembling a vast concrete slab that runs parallel to the beach about two hundred metres from the shore. The reef makes a calm sea around Polhena, ideal for families and paddlers. The beach tends to get crowded on weekends with locals as well as tourists.
The calm, shallow waters are clear enough to see the seabed on a sunny day, which makes it ideal for snorkelling. The water level drops during low tide every day, and even further between the months of November and January. Grab a snorkel and explore the purples, greens, oranges, reds and yellows of the Polhena reef set against the backdrop of the golden sandy ocean floor. A number of marine creatures call this reef home including urchins, starfish and sea cucumbers. The reef is overgrown with seaweed and smooth to walk on though you should be careful not to step on any spiny sea urchins. The sea beyond the reef is also quite deep and should be explored with caution, if at all.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.