Hikkaduwa is a designated Marine National Park. The national park contains a fringing coral reef of high degree of biodiversity with an average depth of around 5 meters. While coral reefs are found along much of the southern coastline, the reefs around Hikkaduwa are among the most diverse and accessible. Hikkaduwa has for long been the center of sun, sand and surf in Sri Lanka and has a reputation as a destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Around 60 species of hard coral have been recorded there along with over 170 species of reef fish. The reef was particularly well known for its colourful branching and table corals until 1998, when a rise in seawater temperature during an El Niño event resulted in a massive die off of corals at Hikkaduwa and throughout the Indian Ocean.A ride in a glass bottomed boat through the shallow sea to view the colourful coral reef is one that both local and foreign visitors look forward to.
Seagrasses provide habitat to Dugong and sea turtles. Some species of prawns feed on the seagrass. Eight species of ornamental fishes also inhabit the reef, along with many vertebrates and invertebrates including crabs, prawns, shrimps, oysters and sea worms. Colourful reef fish such as angel fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish, snappers, and wrasses can be seen frequently among the corals. Blacktip reef shark are found along the outer slope of the reef. Hawksbill turtle, green turtle and Olive Ridley, who have been categorized as threatened, visit the coral reef.
An underwater journey will reward you with glimpses of a totally different world full of astonishing color and life.
Surfing in the Hikkaduwa region is well known and one gets the best surf during its dry season, November to March with 4 main surf breaks from north to south.
Best season for Diving in Hikkaduwa is from November to Mid-April.