Hikkaduwa has been a firm fixture on the Sri Lankan tourist map since the 1970s, and this long exposure to tourism has left it a little worse for wear. A kilometre-long strip of guesthouses, shops and restaurants lines the beach, which is quite badly eroded in its northern stretch. The busy Colombo–Galle Rd, with its crazy high-speed bus drivers, runs right through the middle of Hikkaduwa, which can make stepping outside of your guesthouse as deadly as a game of Russian roulette!
With plenty of beachfront accommodation and a reputation as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka, the reason why so many visit Hikkaduwa is blatantly clear. The resort area has now engulfed two or three villages south of it, and is now a 4km strip of hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and guesthouses. The beaches are lovely and wide and swimming is safe here, though the currents are stronger when it comes to the south of Hikkaduwa. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is still populated by exotic fish and sea turtles. Glass bottomed boats are available for visitors wanting to admire the wonders of the deep while keeping their feet dry! After a short distance southwards from the centre of the reef, it diminishes and starts a wider sandy bottomed beach with good waves ideal for board surfing and body surfing.