By: Mikael and Thrillism
11 minute read
Last updated June 5th, 2020
Surfing in Ahangama is a rite of passage for anyone traveling in Sri Lanka, even for those who have never surfed a day in their life. The southern coast of the island is the prime spot for chilling and surfing, and Ahangama serves as the heart of it all.
To the west of Ahangama is Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, and to the east is Weligama and Midigama, so this surf destination is literally right smack dab in the middle of Sri Lanka’s southern surf scene.
Whether you plan on staying in this small town the entire time or you’ve got bigger plans to visit neighboring surf spots, Ahangama is the perfect base for your upcoming Sri Lanka surf trip. This guide will tell you what you need to know about the surf in Ahangama, everything from the breaks and beaches to accommodation and budget.
The way you get to your Ahangama surf hotel really depends on where you’ll be starting from. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you’re coming from Colombo, the capital city and home to Sri Lanka’s main international airport.
It’s a fairly quick drive from Colombo to Ahangama, just 2.5 hours if you’re taking a direct taxi or shuttle. The easiest way is to just grab a taxi at the airport, but it’s also possible to take a train from Fort Station to Ahangama.
Another option is to take a bus, but you’ll have to first stop in Matara and then transfer to Ahangama from there. The point here is that you’ve got options, so you’ll get to Ahangama one way or another.
Ahangama is located at the very southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, which explains why it’s one of the most popular surfing destinations on the island. This is where the waves are pumping hard and the surf is clean, all the way from late October to early April.
The thing that sets Ahangama apart from other Sri Lankan surf spots is its quiet, chilled-out vibes that will leave you feeling stress-free as soon as you step foot here. A lot of people come here with the intention of doing nothing other than hang out on the beach, but the alluring surf usually gets the best of them.
There’s actually not much to do here, which is a huge draw for travelers who want to do, well, nothing. Parts of the area are starting to develop, but overall, Ahangama has been able to keep it’s low-key and surfer-friendly vibes.
Sri Lanka overall is considered a budget-friendly country. You can travel across the entire island on a budget of 30-40 USD per day, but for this, you can expect to stay in rustic dorm rooms (definitely without AC) and eat local curries and rice for every meal.
You’ve also got the option for the other end of the budget spectrum; there aren’t a ton of luxury resorts here, but it’s easy to get comfortable in a high-end surf villa in Ahangama if that’s what your budget allows for.
The US Dollar is worth about 185 Sri Lankan Rupees (as of August 2020) and you can easily get the local currency at an ATM in town, plus a lot of places accept major credit cards. If you plan on eating out at local restaurants, just be sure to ask beforehand if it’s cash-only.
The waves are surfable for a good chunk of the year, but the official Ahangama surf season runs from late October/early November to April. If you take a look at an Ahangama surf report, you’ll see that the same SW swells hitting Indonesia are powering the waves here as well.
There’s not much going on in terms of the surf outside of October to April, but the good news is Ahangama’s offseason coincides with Sri Lanka’s eastern surf season. When the waves aren’t working in the south, just head to Arugam Bay in the east.
One of the best things about Ahangama surfing is the location, which is literally in the center of Sri Lanka’s southern surf scene. It’s easy to get to the nearby surf towns of Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Weligama from here, and you’ll have all the best southern breaks at your fingertips, like Rams Right, The Rock, Lazy Left, Plantations, and Mirissa Point.
Out of all the Ahangama surf spots that are actually in town, the best is Ahangama Beach, which is home to The Rock. It’s also called the Kabalana Surf Point and it’s known for being the best A-frame reef break on the island. It’s got a good combination of lefts and rights and offers a fast ride as long as 400 meters.
There are also a few Ahangama Beach surf spots that are more gentle and ideal for beginners.
These two breaks are in the nearby town of Midigama, which is only about 5 minutes away in a tuk-tuk. Rams Right is a short, fast, and hollow right-hand break that’s great for intermediate and advanced surfers.
Lazy Left is a much more mellow wave that breaks over a deep reef. Since it’s fairly predictable, it’s perfectly safe for beginners who are ready to try their first reef break.
Soul & Surf has a few locations around the world, but the one in Ahangama has always been a crowd-pleaser for a few reasons. First off, this is an Ahangama surf and yoga boutique camp, giving guests the best of both surfing and yoga in one all-inclusive experience.
“Folks tend to call us a surf & yoga retreat, we’re not so sure. A retreat sounds quiet and serious, we’re a little more relaxed than that.”
– Soul & Surf, Sri Lanka
The intention at Soul & Surf is to do something positive for the world, and they not only do that by giving guests an unforgettable experience. They also give back to the community and support local charities in big ways – and then they celebrate by riding big waves!
Shaka Ahangama Surf Camp is another top choice for surfing travelers who are looking for a chill, relaxing getaway that involves sand, surf, and not much else. They have options for surf lessons/guiding only, but most Shaka visitors opt for one of their all-inclusive surf packages.
“We are based in a beautiful bespoke new villa with direct access to a great surfing beach and within close proximity to many quality surf spots & amazing tropical beaches.”
– Shaka Surf Camp
The most popular package, the Learn How to Surf Coaching option, includes surf lessons, accommodation, unlimited use of boards, yoga classes, 2 daily meals, and all transportation to and from Ahangama surf spots.
Good Story Ahangama Surf School mainly offers lessons, but they also have a few different packages to choose from if you’re looking for something all-inclusive. On their site you can browse through the best hotels that are within walking distance to the surf school – you can even start looking for cheap flights to Sri Lanka.
“The southern coast of Sri Lanka, a Beginner’s Paradise is one of the best places in the world to learn how to surf. This is why Good Story Surf School is located here on the shores of the warm Indian ocean, amongst some of the most popular surf destinations.”
– Good Story Surf School
The surf school allows their guests to sign up for individual lessons, but the better way to do things is to buy a pack of 3, 5, 7, or 10 lessons. The more lessons you book, the more you’ll save.
Lapoint is a household name for traveling surfers. They’ve got surf camps all over the world catering to all skill levels. The vibe at their Ahangama location is relaxed but exhilarating, and their goal is to combine surfing with fun excursions and day trips to explore the wildlife and breathtaking nature of this stunning country.
“Our surf camp in Ahangama, Sri Lanka is situated only minutes from the ocean, with fun waves and tropical beach life at your doorstep.”
– Lapoint Surf Camp Ahangama
The Lapoint Ahangama surf house is possibly the coolest part of this camp. It’s pimped out with AC, modern facilities, and comfy beds and has everything you could ever need in one place, including a swimming pool and sand volleyball court.
If you check out Booking, Expedia, or Hostelworld, you’ll see that there are plenty of places to stay in Ahangama and nearby beach towns. Choosing the right one for you mostly depends on how much you want to spend, so here are a few choicees for all budgets:
Cafe Ceylon is the #1 choice for food in Ahangama, partly because the food is excellent, but also because the atmosphere is relaxed. The food menu has a little bit of everything from middle easter moussaka to British fish and chips. It’s not only a restaurant/cafe but also a charming B&B.
Follow the White Rabbit is another favorite among travelers, especially if you want fresh food right on the beach. This is a great place to enjoy sunset drinks and live music while you chow down on a crab curry.
If all you’re craving is a pizza, Crust Pizza Ahangama is the go-to choice for both locals and tourists. It’s a cozy little spot right on the water, but just be sure to bring cash since they don’t take credit card payments.
Most people that visit this part of Sri Lanka are here to surf and surf some more, but try your best to get away from your Ahangama surf lodge to see the sights, at least for a few hours.
Take a break from the ocean and Ahangama surf points to visit another body of water, Koggala Lake. Koggala is home to lots of diverse wildlife and there are small islands within the lake that you can go and visit. Here are a few more ways to stay busy while you’re in Ahangama:
How much should I expect to pay for Ahangama surf lessons?
It depends on who you hire, and you could pay anything between $20 and $50 for one lesson. The more reputable schools and instructors tend to cost more. If you just need a board and are looking for an Ahangama surf rental, try not to pay more than $10 for 2 hours.
Which Ahangama surf breaks are best for beginners?
There are a few solid spots for Ahangama beginner surf, but a lot of beginners head to nearby Mirissa Beach. It’s about a 20-minute drive, but the gentle waves peel slowly and break over deep water, which is great for beginners.
Any Ahangama, Sri Lanka surf camp, school, or even board rental provider will give you tips on where to go based on your skill level and the surf conditions that day. The locals are super friendly, so don’t be afraid to just ask for tips.