Rekawa Beach Sri Lanka, Turtle Beach Sri Lanka

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 “Rekawa beach Sri Lanka or better know as turtle beach Sri Lanka, where sea turtle watching is popular, is among the top 10 Eco-friendly destinations named by online travel community IgoUgo.”

Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination in Asia and Sri Lanka offers a wide range of places and activities for travellers with Pristine beaches, National parks teeming with wildlife, ancient temples, Historical places, picture-perfect mountain resorts, and Rain forests.

When it comes to wildlife exploration tours there are few places that we cannot forget in Sri Lanka, such as Mirissa, Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary, Yala national park, Udawalawe national park and Unawatuna. But, how about Rekewea turtle beach? Rekawa is coming under Sri Lanka’s off the beaten path tourist attractions, due to its remoteness. Rekawa beach does not attract a large number of travellers.

Most foreign travellers of Sri Lanka usually do not forget to explore the fascinating Sri Lankan wildlife along with other important tourist attractions in the mountains, historical cities and beaches. As such, the Sri Lanka safari and beach tour package is very popular among travellers, which enables them to visit many interesting places during the trip.

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

Rekawa beach Sri Lanka or better known as turtle beach Sri Lanka, where sea turtle watching is popular, is among the top 10 Eco-friendly destinations named by online travel community IgoUgo.

Turtle watching Sri Lanka

Turtle watching Sri Lanka is one of the very popular activities among travellers, especially among foreign travellers. Totale watching is very easy and there is a large number of places, where you can do sea turtle watching. Undoubtedly, Rekawa beach is the best place for turtle watching in Sri Lanka, because it is one of the best natural habitats with a large number of sea turtles.

Sea turtle conservation centres are also can be used in order to spot sea turtles, however, they are maintained by various non-governmental organizations. However, some of these sea turtle conservation centres are accused to be unsuccessful in the conservation effort, and they are maintained solely in order to money.

A large number of sea turtle conservation centres are dotted along the western and southern coast of Sri Lanka.

What is the importance of Rekawa beach?

Turtle beach Sri Lanka on the south coast of Sri Lanka is one of the best natural habitats to spot endangered sea turtles. Sea turtles are seen very often at the Rekawa beach in Sri Lanka, which is located 10 km 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, Bentota all the way up to the deep south there are dozens of sea turtle conservation farms. Usually, these sea turtle conservation centres are visited by foreign tourists and are a part of most Sri Lanka road trips. The tourists should pay for the entrance to these centres and it is the main income of the sea turtle conservation centres.

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, with 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?

You can spot sea turtles belong to 5 species

What are the sea turtle species that can be spotted in Rekawa beach?

  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

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 is one of the main natural habitats in southern Sri Lanka, where travellers get the opportunity to spot sea turtles.

What is the best period of the year for Rekawa turtle watch?

Fullmoon days between January and April considered being the best time to visit Sri Lanka Sea turtles. The turtles tend to come to the shore with moonlight, therefore stronger the moonlight better the 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 turtles is very high at Rekawa, at least a couple of animals can be spotted here every night.

You need to be patient to watch the turtle, turtles are crawling across the beach in the night, away from the sea. Rekawa, where sea turtle watching is popular, is among the top 10 Eco-friendly destinations named by the online travel community IgoUgo.

How do I go to turtle beach Sri Lanka?

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 the help of tour operators or travel desks in any of the hotels in Sri Lanka. The price of the tour varies mainly depending on the distance to Rekawa from your hotel.

Tours to Rekawa beach

Unfortunately, there are no pre-planned tours to visit Rekawa beach. Interested parties should consult Sri Lanka local tour operators and organize a trip to Rekawa turtle beach. Usually, it is not included in most Sri Lanka package tours.

How much should I pay at Rekawa turtle beach?

Like all other man-made sea turtle conservation centres, here also you need to pay for the people that are on duty, however, this is not a fee for the entrance to the beach but to fund the conservation effort.

The protection of the turtles and hatchlings that are coming to the beach is secured by a staff appointed by the wildlife conservation department. So whatever you pay goes for a good cause. 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 of the day for Rekawa turtle watch?

Unlike sea turtle conservation centres, managed by various organizations, where it is possible to see turtles all day long, sea turtles cannot see all day long at turtle beach Sri Lanka, because the sea turtles are not restricted to tanks. 

Sea turtle watching at Rekawa is totally free of human intervention and even it is not possible to guarantee that you encounter sea turtles. However, there is a very good chance of spotting sea turtles in Rekawa. I had been to this place several times and I was lucky enough to see turtles all the time.

The turtles are visiting the turtle beach in Sri Lanka at the most appropriate time by considering various factors such as safety 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.

You need to be patient to watch the turtles, turtles are crawling across the beach in the night, away from the sea. It leaves, on its path, a remarkable trail that 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, fill 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.

The coast guards are monitoring the movement 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.

Special note on Rekawa turtle watching for tourists

I had been to Rekawa beach many times and I did not miss a turtle on any single occasion, which means turtle spotting is very easy and common at Rekawa beach. Therefore a large number of travellers are gathering at Rekawa beach every night, in some cases, the number rises up to 100. So, with a large gathering of people near the nest, the turtle might not comfortable with laying eggs. When many dozens of eyeballs are directed to her, she could feel unsafe.

On one occasion we had that nasty experience, in which a sea turtle that came to the shore to lay eggs returned without laying eggs as there was a large number of people were on the beach. However the specific reason is not evident, I feel a large gathering made her go back, otherwise, there was no other reason for her to make that decision on a regular dark night.

I feel the turtle watching at Rekawa beach should be regulated like whale watching in Mirissa, unlike in the past now whale watching in Mirissa is under the purview of course guards and therefore boats are committing any actions that can disturb the animals. I think the same policy should be implemented at Rekawa beach and stop people from getting too much closer to the animals.

One other serious mistake some tourists make is illuminating the area with their torch to spot turtles clearly. Usually, course guards carry a torch that has a red light, similar to moonlight, which is turtles are familiar with. However, some people carry very bright lights and some even turn on the flashlight of their phones, which undoubtedly disturbs the innocent animals.

Same time the visitors of the Rekawa beach should be walking on the beach with caution as hatchlings move to the water during the night. The hatchings are very smalls and there is a very good chance of overlooking them on the dark beach.

Don’t try to feed animals, I have seen some travellers try to feed sea turtle that comes to shore. I feel it is not a good practice because it can cause them some abdominal problems, they can even die.