Arriving in Arugam bay brought mixed emotions for us – we had to admit, the main beach really is gorgeous, but it felt… Resorty.
One the one hand, you have a perfect semi-circle of sand with the odd palm tree knocking around, but on the other hand, almost all of the infrastructure is aimed at tourists, with very little of that local flair that we love so much.
So we chatted to a few people, and decided to go hunt down the hidden gems! Beaches, in this case 🙂 There are 6 of them, 7 if you include Arugam main beach.
We’ve listed them geographically from north to south.
Note – to get to most of these beaches you’ll need your own transport. We had a rented Tuk tuk, but a scooter, motorbike, private taxi/tuk Tuk etc will all be fine. Not possible to get to these with public transport, unless you are willing to do a LOT of walking.
13km north of Arugam bay along the A4 highway, the whiskey point beach is becoming more known now as a less crowded surf spot during high season, and many eco-resorts have sprung up near the beach.
With that said, when we visited (march) it was totally empty, with gorgeous palm trees and chilled locals – we sat in a deserted beach bar and had a free coconut – no wifi out here obviously 🙂
Loads of shade to sit in, good surf during season, less crowded than Arugam Bay.
Far from town, not totally undiscovered.
This really was a lovely bit of nature, very clean and quiet with the odd fisherman at the very point, but most of the beach itself totally empty.
There are 2 ways of getting here – the first is to drive in from the road that starts here: 6.884312, 81.84169. There isn’t a road on Google maps, but maps.me has it. This road was too rough for our Tuk tuk, so we had to take the second way in, which is to walk down from Whiskey point.
This turned out to be a lovely 40 min. walk which takes you past Mohammed’s Beach Bar, a very casual low key place that can whip up a cup of tea and a samoosa for you (if there’s anyone there).
Gorgeous, empty beach, a chance to chat with the locals at Mo’s beach bar.
Not quick to get to, but if the road is dryer or you have a larger vehicle then you can drive in.
This is a massive beach – we visited 2 sections of it. The first section we did was the northern part – we parked at the Pottuvil beach mosque and walked north, sat down for a picnic under a palm tree with a few friendly goats and nobody else on the beach. There are a few palm huts on the outskirts, but we didn’t see any signs of life.
Friendly goats, loads of shade, fairly clean.
Strong currents in the ocean, be careful.
The second section we did is around the muhudu maha viharaya – some ancient ruins nearby a Buddhist stupa, worth a visit if you are around. Note that the ruins are to the left of the stupa, be sure to check out both!
Interesting Buddhist site nearby, good road access with parking.
Beefwood trees don’t feel as tropical, not as clean.
A massive section of totally untouched coastline, this is the only one reachable on foot from Arugam bay – walk south along the beach and around the point and you’ll get there. You can get there by road as well, but it’s confusing and the roads are in really bad condition. Great for a long walk early in the morning, and you leave all the tourists and touts behind.
Reachable on foot from A-bay, huge beach.
Not a lot of shade, difficult road access.
Elephant rock and beach:
This one was a real hunt, with no signage or roads on any map 🙂 drive south of Arugam bay for about 7km until you see the turn-off to the military base, where you’ll be turning left. Don’t enter the base (obviously), the road will split to the left first, and then after the base it splits again and this time you’ll take the right side. If you take the wrong turn you’ll end up at an archaeological site and Buddhist school, just turn around and take your first left.
This was a beautiful beach, with a lovely rocky out crop and a Buddha hidden in a small cave – go see if you can find him!
Gorgeous beach, Buddha hunting, nice waves for swimming, totally empty.
Difficult to find.
Panama beach point:
This is a really lovely piece of bay nestled between 2 rocky points at the end of the Panama main road, the majority of the beach is accessible if you stop anywhere along the way and walk to your right, but the little bay at the end of the road is really special. There’s even a deserted eco-tourism building with outside stairs, so you can sit in the shade on the roof and look at the picture perfect bay in front of you.
There are also a few nice trails to walk over the rocky point where you can get views of the main beach. This wasn’t as undiscovered though, there were one or 2 other people around, but still very quiet.
Good road access, beautiful bay, good swimming, great chill spot on the eco-tourism building roof.
Having to share with one or 2 other people – we were here in off season, during peak time it might be busier.
There you have it! Been to any of the above beaches? Let us know in the comments 🙂