In the coastal areas of Asia, fonds Coconut trees sway in joy. The large stalks reflect the lights of the setting sun. The ancient roots hold onto the eroding soil along the sea line. It stops the aggressive ocean, and supports generations of farmers. No wonder, the Coconut tree is regarded as the Tree of life. A farmer sows it, his grandchildren would reap the benefit of a coconut grove.
The man who planned the coconut grove on top of the Mirissa hill, I wonder had little clue that his garden would garner rave reviews on social media in coming generations. I have seen acres of land along the coast of the Indian peninsula. Never had I witnessed the magic of the coconut hill of Mirissa.
They call it the most instagrammable place in Sri Lanka. The island nation of Sri Lanka does not have a huge landmass. However for a prying eye, the island provides ample opportunity to feast on nature. The Mirissa coconut hill is one such place of joy.
How to reach the Coconut Hill of Mirissa from the Mirissa Beach
From Mirissa beach, you can walk eastward. At first, you shall come across Parrot Rock, a famous rock form on the beach which marks a definitive end to the mirissa beach. The next half moon shaped beach is known as Turtle beach. Unlike the Mirissa beach this is less touristy and has a number of fishing boat. Walk straight till the beach ends. You would spot a beach bar.
Next to the beach bar a red rock mould stands with an army of coconut trees, aiming towards the sky. That is the coconut grove of Mirissa. The entire walk would take less than 20 minutes at best.
We headed to the Coconut grove of Mirissa from further down south, the Matara beach. We were enjoying a quiet lunch there. It is the fun part of Sri Lanka. SInce it is a small country with a well connected highway along the coastal region, you scoot away to beautiful beaches without having to carry heavy luggage. We took the Matara road to come back to the Mirissa hill.
The track to hike to the top of the hill is located very close to the highway. May be a 100 meters. However there was no clear marker saying this is the way to the hill. I remember a souvenir shop and a fruit seller at the start of the lane that led us way to the hill.
The journey up the coconut tree is not all roses and pink. It had grovels, bumps, uneven walkways and giant boulders. It does require a bit of scrambling. It is a short 10 minutes hike but it was very much worth it.
Most of the Instagram photos show the “beautiful” part of it. The view entails a short but demanding hike, no one warned. So I appeared in front of the path wearing a flip flop and immediately regretted my decision.
In the rains, the muddled road would be a threat for visitors. Please go prepared.
There was no charge, no visitor fee for tourists. We parked the scooty near a restaurant where we headed regularly for dinner so that would be good.
To visit the Coconut grove of Mirissa in peace, you need to plan a trip at sunrise. The light would be gentle. The crowd would be few. The fishermen would be ready to leave for the day’s work.
On the right, you would have a stunning vista of the Mirissa beach greeting you. Swaying palms from the plain land look upto you.
On the left, you would catch the setting sun at the horizon of Ratnakar, Indian Ocean.
There is a reason why the coconut hill of Mirissa has taken the world of instagram by a storm. The views are worth every hurdle you had to overcome to reach to the top.
The beach close to the hill is named Turtle beach. Many tourists opt to go snorkel in the water and hope to see the elusive Olive Ridleys. The females of the green sea turtles often come ashore to lay their eggs in the dark.
It was the prime of the pandemic when I visited Mirissa beach. It was crowded but most of the people were locals or from India.
Some had packed a small picnic box. However I strongly recommend keeping the area clean and plastic free.
If you are only planning to take a photo, you should not need more than 10 to 15 minutes atop the hill. Once it gets crowded, it could be stressful to spend time here. If sitting in quiet and pondering is what you are fond of, try to visit the Coconut hill by the beginning of the day, ideally on a weekday.
There are a few stray dogs loitering around the road. Please beware if you are not comfortable around the canines.
Best time to visit Mirissa would be from November to February, the dry winter months. You could also choose to visit during the shoulder months of Oct and March/April. The dry heat of the tropics and the heavy monsoon showers along the island would mar your experience.
You can read my blog on how to plan a two weeks trip in Sri Lanka for the next winter vacation here.
Tips for the best photos:
Get a tripod and set it up. The ridge atop the hill is sloppy and can cause it to topple. My go pro did topple down.
On top of it, it is windy. The sea wind is gutsy and does not help. Use protective gears against that and weight down the tripod.
The best photo comes with a wide angle lens that captures a hilltop with an army of coconut trees.
A number of surfers can be seen in the water. You may capture one of them in action against the line of coconut trees. I imagine that would be a great picture.
If you can capture the moment the fishermen leave for the day’s catch, and I am talking about 100s of fishing boats, that would be an epic shot too.
Many wedding photography in Sri lanka take place at the Mirissa Coconut Grove. However there is no place to change meaning you might have to climb the hill wearing a full gown etc which could be challenging.
If you are into drobe photography, you would fall in love with the shots you could gather here!
While I was mesmerised with the view from the top, it was frustrating to see the ripples of crowds jostling to get to the top to get identical picture of the Mirissa hill, and disappear in a jiffy. They had little respect for the astounding nature they were lucky to witness. It was just a astage for them.
This is the major reason why I suggest to reach here as early as possible to spend a few moments of quiet.
On the way back, we used a pathway which seemed to be part of a private property. It was amid a garden, steep and pebbled but there than the scrambling we had to do on the way up. There were barbed wire and fences. The gate was closed so we Jugaaded our way out of it.