Tucked away beneath prodigious palm tree groves, hidden from the main shore, you’ll find Mirissa’s hush little locale: the appropriately-named “Secret Beach.”
Pristine, private, and beautiful, the Secret Beach embraces two coves of clear blue water and toffee-shaded sand, low-hanging trees for bountiful shade, and a fine sprawl of isolated shore to lie upon. With mellow waves and balmy water, this beach makes a perfect spot for a peaceful wade. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the beach to yourself—like we did!
There’s ONE catch.
This beach is considered a secret for a reason. It’s not right off the main street like Mirissa’s big beach. It’s difficult to find, and when you do find the right starting place, it’ll be about a 20-minute hilly hike and a quick climb down a somewhat rocky cliff before you can lay down your beach blanket and get to tanning (read until the end to learn how to find the Secret Beach!). However, as with most things in life, the beach is well worth the extra effort. And on a plus note, a quick dip in the clean water will wipe away any memory of the sweat you shed to get there!
Located just on the other side of the cliffs from the main beach, Mirissa’s Secret Beach is the perfect place to spend a lazy day, relaxing and taking in the peaceful scenery. At least that’s how it was for us when we visited on New Year’s Day! We had spent the previous night on the main beach in a massive New Year’s Eve celebration—one we just happened to stumble upon, but that had been an exciting blur of music, bonfires, fireworks, sparklers, fire dancers, and floating lanterns. When New Year’s Day rolled around we were the teeniest bit hung-over, and had no desire to lie on a loud and crowded beach covered with waygooks. Instead, we feasted on a lovely traditional New Year’s breakfast arranged (free of charge!) by our wonderful host, Pradeep, at the Nature Inn* in Mirissa, and then took off to uncover the mystery of the Secret Beach for ourselves.
After the essential purchase of a 30 cent fresh coconut and a humid and sweaty (read: HUNG-OVER) hike, we peeked out beneath the palm trees and saw it—empty, stunning, and just what we were looking for. We set up shop beneath some trees, baptized our sweaty bodies in the crystal water (to find the shore was a tad rocky—alas!), and indulged in a lazy tropical siesta through the sauntering heat of the noon hours. For several blissful hours, we enjoyed the scene entirely to ourselves. It was only after a woman entered the cove carrying a fruity cocktail in a glass that we noticed the faint sound of music coming from nearby and decided to investigate.
Sure enough, we found an adjacent cove, this one also serene and splendid, but with powdery sand, hammocks, and—blast it!—other people. Still, the amount of people in this just-out-of-sight gem was SIGNIFICANTLY less than on the main beach. And, we found the source of the music: tucked away in a shady corner stood a teeny little bar with a humble food menu. We sat down in a set of raw wood chairs by the water and ordered two piña coladas (hair of the dog!) and a plate of devilled fish (a Sri Lankan culinary must-have). The drinks were fairly strong and the fish was delicious—tender, sweet, spicy, and bursting with flavor—but, at about $15 USD total, this was definitely a splurge for us compared to our other spending in Sri Lanka. Still—not too shabby, right?
Overall, the Secret Beach is a wonderful place to spend the day (especially for us coming in December from Korea, land of the butt-freezing winters!). We did have a chance adventure with an insane and wild (spawn of a vampire) dog which wasn’t ideal, and the shore on the more secluded cove is definitely a bit rocky to swim in comfortably. Still, that hardly puts a damper on an otherwise incredible and picturesque spot to relax and enjoy the view! If you find yourself in Mirissa on a time crunch (as we were), we would highly advise ditching the crowded tourist-filled beach and opt for this prized Secret Beach.
But how do you get there?
We can’t (or won’t?) give you directions, but we can tell you to look for an unassuming wooden “SECRET BEACH” sign between Mirissa’s main stretch of beach and the Navy Hotel, then get ready for a rocky 20-minute hike (hopefully you won’t be hung-over, in which case, it should be easy enough if you’re in decent health). That’s the only information we had when we set out looking for it, and we managed just fine! When you see a cove peeking out beneath the grove of palm trees, you’re just about there. Good luck!