From the 1970s, this bay, isolated on Sri Lanka’s east coast and 314km from Colombo, started attracting the attention of intrepid travelling surfers. The word spread and surfers arrived from around the world to enjoy the waves and to take part in organised surfing competitions. Makeshift accommodation, in tents and bamboo huts, were erected and over the years, the small fishing village has been transformed into a thriving community catering to surfers and their followers, and also for young-at-heart tourists seeking a simple beach holiday.
Arugam Bay is for the independent tourist happy to make new friends as well as to laze in the sun or in the beachside cafés, if not actually surfing. Its distance from the mainstream as well as its limited season (May to September) has given Arugam Bay an unspoilt free-wheeling character.