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!
But it’s not all bad. There are plenty of charming places to stay, a string of mellow beach bars and restaurants, good diving and surf schools and plenty of interesting excursions accessible by three-wheeler or rental scooter. For years there has been talk about a possible bypass road around Hikkaduwa, which if it were to materialise would do wonders for this paradise lost.