We used public transport for the whole of our trip and were really impressed by it. We used the bus to get from Mirissa to Tangalle. We took one bus from Mirissa to Matara which cost 22 rupees each (approx. 11p each!) and took about 30 minutes.  We got off at the bus station here and changed buses. This is really easy to do. At the bus stations there are information offices where you can ask for help/advice. We then took a bus from Matara to Tangalle which cost 55 rupees each (approx. 27.5p per person), this took about an hour and a half.

When we arrived in Tangalle we decided to try and find some accommodation which had been recommended to Stu by a guy we had met on the whale watching trip.  We took a tuk tuk to Coconut Island Resort which cost us 500 rupees, but we’re sure we overpaid. This journey took us out of town and then through the mangroves, it was an adventure! We arrived at the accommodation and it was a joy to behold! We were in luck that there was one cabana left and we managed to negotiate a good price.IMGP1394 copyCoconut Island Resort is a new resort of only a few cabanas and has been built by a young guy.  The cabanas are beautiful, very simple but you feel like a jungle explorer as you lie in bed listening to all the animal life in the mangroves.

IMGP1395 copy20160331_172937IMGP1398 copy20160331_190544We were even joined by a toad in our bathroom, lounging in the toilet in the middle of the night!

IMGP1382 copyIt is in a remote location among the mangroves right next to the lagoon where you can kayak.  It has a lovely little restaurant and eating area by the lagoon, but make sure you remember mosquito repellent!

IMGP1397 copyIMGP1396 cpoyWhen we arrived we explored the area, it is only a 5-minute walk to the beach.  The beach here is stunning! It is a long beautiful sandy stretch, and the only hotels are hidden amongst the palm trees which flank it.

IMGP1393 cop20160331_175919The beach is not very safe for swimming due to the currents, but there is one beautiful natural swimming pool where the rocks protect you from the currents.  It almost felt like a natural jacuzzi as the waves washed in and the current pulled out.  This was lovely to enjoy at sunset and first thing in the morning.

IMGP1391 cLots of the hotels and restaurants are quite pricey in this area, as there isn’t much competition.  We decided to eat at Coconut Island Resort and were glad we did, we had yummy noodles, Debs had them with prawns fresh from the lagoon!

20160331_194724We had planned to visit Rekawa beach during the evening to try and spot some turtles laying or hatching.  However, we read up on some reviews, and decided that it for us it wasn’t being run very ethically now, and there can be large crowds of people with torches.  We decided that we didn’t want to risk it, as we wouldn’t want to disturb the turtles and we stayed away.

We only stayed one night in Tangalle, but would gladly have stayed longer as it was so tranquil.  The following morning, we went for a stroll to enjoy the beach before we left in the hope we might spot some late turtle hatch-lings, but no such luck! It was lovely to see hundreds of beautiful shells on this beach though which get washed in on the strong tides.

IMGP1386 cThe owner of Coconut Island took us back to town to catch the bus in his tuk tuk for the much cheaper price of 300 rupees. Before we started our journey onward we stocked up on a large breakfast at Cafe Tangola near the bus station, enjoying a pineapple and a banana roti each (only 200 rupees each) and a fruit platter to share (300 rupees).  Topped off with yummy juices it set us up for the long bus journey ahead.