Best beach to observe endangered sea turtles, Rekawa Beach Sri Lanka

Rekawa Beach Sri Lanka

What is the importance of Rekawa beach?

Sea turtles are seen very often at the Rekawa beach Sri Lanka, which is located 10km east of Tangalle Sri Lanka. Rekawa beach is not only one of the best places to spot sea turtles only in Sri Lanka but also in the world. In Rekawa you can observe the ancient ritual of turtles coming ashore and laying eggs. Rekawa beach is visited by five different species of sea turtles, which lay their eggs in the sand every night throughout the year. There are many places in Sri Lanka where you can check on endangered sea turtles, Starting from Kalutara all the way up to deep south there are dozens of sea turtle conservation farms. The sea turtles are restricted to big tanks in all these places and their movement is restricted. But, unlike all these man-made sea turtle conservation centres, In Rekawa sea turtles are totally free, no human intervention with their activities. Maybe that’s the reason why so many sea turtles are coming to Rekawa beach for nesting.

How many species of sea turtles can be seen at Rekawa beach?

Five species of sea turtles come to the Rekawa beach for nesting. Therefore Rekawa is one of the very few beaches in the world where visitors can spot five species of seven sea turtles species available in the world. All species of sea turtles are declared as endangered animals in Sri Lanka. So head to Rekawa beach during your Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday you will be rewarded with one of the very rare marvels of mother nature.

Rekawa beach one of the main natural habitat in southern Sri Lanka, where travellers get the opportunity to spot sea turtles.

What is the best time to see turtles at Rekawa?

The best time to see turtles is between January and April periods; when there’s a full moon. The turtles tend to come to the shore with moonlight, therefore stronger the moonlight better chance of spotting sea turtles. When there is plenty of moonlight and clear sky turtles are occurring here more frequently and visitors are also able to spot turtles more easily due to more light. Two dozens of sea turtles were recorded in one night at Rekawa beach.  The chance of spotting sea turtle is very high at Rekawa, at least couple of animals can be spotted here at every night.

You need to be patient to watch the turtle, turtles are crawling across the beach in the night, away from the sea. It leaves, on its path, a remarkable trail which looks as if a one-wheeled tractor has driven straight up out to the sea. It’s an agonizingly slow crawl of exhausting half an hour by a creature not adapted to the land. Having reached the top of the beach, the turtle then spends about another 45 minutes digging an enormous hole. After having to lay the eggs turtles make a rest, fills in the hole & eventually crawls back down to the sea. It’s an epic effort, the sight of which makes the whole evening-long experience worthwhile.

Rekawa, where sea turtle watching is popular, is among the top 10 Eco-friendly destinations named by online travel community IgoUgo.

sea turtle laying eggs in Rekawa

People in the area dug the places where the eggs were laid and take the eggs to be re-buried in a secure location then villagers are making their basic living from entertaining tourists. These creatures have acted as a rare bridge between marine & terrestrial ecosystems for 100 million years, enriching both as they steadfastly undertake their remarkable two-realm life cycle.

How do I get there?

If you happened to be in a hotel near Hambantota or Tangalle you can visit Rekawa without any trouble. It will take less than 30 minutes to reach Rekawa from both beach holiday destinations. A tour can be organized to Rekawa with help of tour operators or travel desks in any of the hotels in Sri Lanka. Price of the tour varies mainly depending on the distance to Rekawa from your hotel.

New born sea turtle at rekawa beach
Hundreds of sea turtle babies are heading to the sea in Rekawa beach southern Sri Lanka.

How much does it cost for the entrance?

Unlike all other man-made sea turtle conservation centres, where you have to pay for entrance, at Rekawa beach no one need to pay for the entrance ticket. But visitors are required to wait for a long time sometimes until the right moment come. Therefore instead of money, you have to allocate some of your valuable time here.

What is the best time to spot sea turtle at Rekawa?

Unlike sea-turtle farms along the west coast, sea turtles cannot see all day long, Because the sea turtles are not restricted to tanks.  The turtles are visiting the Rekawa beach at their convenient time and visitors should wait until the right moment come. Usually, the sea turtles are occurring here at night. Visitors are allowed to use torches to spot sea turtles from the distance. The coast guards are monitoring the behaviour of visitors and any unsuitable behaviour of visitors and hindering the movements of the turtles is a punishable offence. All visitors should keep the minimum distance from the animals.