Mount Lavinia is a popular resort area in Sri Lanka, which, however, has very mixed ratings. Some sources on the network claim that this is a paradise for tourists, while others insist on the opposite version, calling Mount Lavinia almost the worst area in the country. And in order to separate the grains from the chaff, we decided to sort out this issue in detail and find out the ins and outs of this eminent resort.
Mount Lavinia is located 15 km south of Colombo, a city that until 1982 served as the capital of Sri Lanka, and is now its commercial center. In the process of its expansion, Colombo began to cover the lands of nearby areas, as a result of which it absorbed many suburbs. Today Mount Lavinia, merged with the city of Dehiwala, has transformed from a separate facility into a suburb of the former capital, on the territory of which lies the beach of the same name and hotel.
The resort is 45 km from Bandaranaike International Airport. The population of the district is about 220 thousand people. The first to choose this area was the British back in the 19th century during the era of British colonization. In 1805, by order of Governor Thomas Matland, a residence was built here, which he named in honor of his beloved – a Lankian woman named Lavinia. Today, the governor’s house has become an elite hotel in Sri Lanka Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Being one of the most visited resorts in the country, Mount Lavinia attracts travelers with its long beach, well-developed tourist infrastructure and local attractions. This is a great place for those who stayed in Colombo for a couple of days and decided to combine a walk around the city and its environs with a beach holiday.
Mount Lavinia has hotels of various price categories. Here you can stay both in an elite hotel worth $ 100 per night for two, and in a budget guest house, the daily stay in which will cost between $ 18-25.
The eminent Mount Lavinia Hotel 4 * hotel was especially popular – the only hotel in the resort that has a private beach. The hotel has its own swimming pool, a fitness center and rooms for spa treatments, as well as a large restaurant with dishes for every taste.
Along the coast of Mount Lavinia in Sri Lanka, a whole chain of cafes and restaurants has been built, lacking in areas remote from the beach. Among them you can find both large establishments with a beautiful design, and small cozy eateries. The restaurant menu offers Sri Lankan, Asian, Indian and European dishes. According to tourists, the following institutions are distinguished by the highest level of service:
- Bixton Street Cafe (Sri Lankan, European cuisine)
- La Rambla (seafood, Asian and Thai dishes)
- Governor’s Restaurant (Sri Lankan, European cuisine, vegetarian menu available)
- La Voile Blanche (seafood, Italian, European cuisine)
- Barracuda Sea Food & Grill (seafood, Chinese, Thai, Sri Lankan menu)
The resort has many grocery stores, pharmacies and souvenir shops. Some supermarkets have a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. In clothing stores, you can buy jeans and T-shirts for a very modest cost, although it does not do without boutiques with higher prices.
Popular activities in Mount Lavinia include diving and snorkeling. Also, you will definitely be offered a boat ride or go fishing. Lovers of passive relaxation will like Ayurvedic massage using medicinal oils and herbs. You can rent a bike at the resort and go for a walk in the area and its surroundings. Well, party fans here can always visit local nightclubs.
The beach in Mount Lavinia cannot be called one of the best in Sri Lanka, although for some it becomes just that. It is distinguished by a sufficient length, but a narrow coastline. This is a sandy coast with yellow sand, with a gentle approach to the ocean, which is characterized by small waves in the high season.
Since the beach is in close proximity to Colombo, many locals relax here, especially on weekends. The coastline is rather dirty, and garbage collection is given a minimum of attention. The water is cloudy with a green tint, it often comes across packets and wrappers from food.
On the public beach in Mount Lavinia you will not find any special entertainment. You won’t see surfers here either. There are no sunbeds, umbrellas, changing rooms, showers or toilets on the beach. However, some cafes that stretch along the entire coast rent sun loungers with umbrellas. And if you dined in a restaurant, then you can even use them for free. Tourists who are here are advised to relax in the cafe area or on the private beach of Mount Lavinia Hotel, as it is cleaner and more comfortable there.
The city railway runs along the coastline, so you should forget about a relaxing beach holiday here. The peace is violated by local souvenir merchants, one after another suitable for vacationers and trying to sell them unnecessary goods. The abundance of local residents also causes discomfort, many of which are trying to photograph tourists.
In general, the Mount Lavinia city beach is worth a visit only if you stayed for a couple of days in Colombo. You can swim and sunbathe here, although it does not make sense to go here specifically for a beach holiday. In Sri Lanka there are many other beautiful and clean beaches , which provide much better conditions for vacationers.
What to see
In addition to walking around the city and relaxing on the beach in Mount Lavinia, you can go to get acquainted with the sights, among which deserve special attention:
If you happen to be in Sri Lanka in Mount Lavinia, then be sure to visit the main local attraction – the national zoo. Being one of the largest in Asia, the reserve has become a haven for more than 360 species of animals. Here you can also get acquainted with various species of birds and butterflies. Often in the zoo a special performance is arranged for tourists, the main characters in which are trained elephants.
The zoo has several open areas where visitors can walk side by side with wild animals. The aquarium is also represented here, in which more than 500 species of marine fish live. The park is worth a look at the Reptile House, where dwarf crocodiles and tropical reptiles live. At the zoo you can ride an elephant or a pony for an extra fee. The attraction is open every day from 8:00 to 18:00. The entry price is $ 4.
The purpose of this shelter in Sri Lanka is to preserve endangered species of turtles. Every year, the number of tropical species decreases. That is why it was decided to open a small reserve where you can raise young animals of endangered animals. When turtles reach a certain age, the farm organizers let them swim freely in the open ocean. Here injured turtles found on the coast are also nursed.
Each visitor to the farm has the opportunity to hold turtles in their hands and feed them. Entrance to the reserve is $ 4.5. Also, everyone can make an additional donation to the farm fund. The facility is open daily from 8:00 to 18:00.
9 km south of the resort is the largest in Sri Lanka freshwater lake Bolgoda. This pond has an area of about 350 square meters. km has become a refuge for numerous species of reptiles and fish, and more than 30 species of mammals live in the mangroves around its waters. Most of the lake has the status of a protected reserve. Here, tourists have the opportunity not only to enjoy the beauties of nature, but also to go for a boat ride, as well as go fishing in specially designated places. Many travelers come here to go windsurfing.
See also: Souvenirs from Sri Lanka – what to buy as a keepsake .
How to get from Colombo
There are several ways to get to the resort from Colombo:
A train departs daily from Colombo Fort Train Station to Mount Lavinia, which runs along the ocean. Travel time is about 25 minutes. Not far from the same station there is a bus stop where you can catch a bus to the resort at number 100 or 101. It will take a little longer to travel by such transport (about 40 minutes), and the ticket will cost a little more ($ 0.32). In addition, there is the opportunity to take any intercity bus to the city of Galle from the Pettah bus stop.
If you do not want to spend time looking for public transport, you can always use the services of a tuk-tuk. The cost of such a trip will be $ 7-8. You can get to the resort and take a taxi by car, but in this case the price tag will be at least 2 times higher.
In Sri Lanka, including Colombo, renting a scooter or car is not difficult. Transport rental agencies can be found literally at every step, so here you just have to decide what to choose. Renting an inexpensive bike will cost between $ 8-10 per day, a budget car – from $ 25-30. The price per liter of gasoline in Sri Lanka is about a dollar, and given that Mount Lavinia is located just 15 km from Colombo, you need to add a couple more dollars to the rental price.