Here are some of my tips having navigated the local area with young kids for two seasons. Now in November 2023, I have a 3.5-year-old girl and a 1.5-year-old boy. Both times we stayed in the Family Apartment, a great enclosed space for them to run and crawl about. There is a cot available and the beds are big enough for co-sleeping.
We always advise parents there are no safe swimming beaches in southwest Sri Lanka where there is surf. If you have kids who can not swim or are just learning, it is best to stick to hotel pools. Lifeguards are not yet a thing so you do need to be vigilant. We found some great buoyancy jackets from a company called Splash About www.splashabout.com that had everything swimming for babies and toddlers.
However, there are some sandy beaches with long shallow drops,
that make for good paddling and supervised swimming. Also some places with rock pools and no surf beaches in the region.
Ketature Beach has quite big waves and is quite a steep drop close to the edge. There is plenty of shade but just be careful swimming.
The beach to the left of Jungle Beach is ok on low swells. It’s the first bay if you walk around from KBH.
Weligama Bay is ok for a paddle but can be a bit grubby as it’s a town beach.
Secret Beach is just past Lazy Left, a hidden beach before the bridge in Midigama. Beach shack and cafe.
Unawatuna is very calm, it used to have surf but they built an artificial reef to protect the temple so it changed the seascape. Very touristy but has some nice shops and restaurants.
Kabalana – one of the cleanest and very shallow. No shade but you can get a cabana cheaply.
Toddler-Friendly Hotel Swiming Pools
There are some great hotels and dedicated areas with child-friendly pools. You just have to buy some food and drink and you can let your little ones use the pools.
Kurumba Bay Weligama -Restaurant and shopping complex with a shallow kid pool. Reasonably priced food and drinks. Watch out in the pool there is a hidden drop to to adult waist height. Has caught out a few toddlers without buoyancy aids.
W15 Hotel Weligama – Deep pool and lots of manicured grass to run about. Good food but hotel prices.
Marriot Hotel Weligama – You can buy a day pass including food. Big pool area with paddling and swimming pools.
Sri Lankan Sun and Sunscreen
Sri Lanka’s sun is strong even when cloudy. The UV index is pretty low for a few hours at Sri Lanka’s consistent sunrise and sunset times, around 6 am and 6 pm. It is best to cover up and stay out of the sun the rest of the time between 11 am and 4 pm. There are some great kid’s UV full-cover beachwear on the market. Check out the major surf brands.
Of course, bring a broad-spectrum sunscreen. We prefer mineral sunblocks with zinc oxide and titanium Dioxide. Makes them look like ghosts but there are no prizes for sunburnt kids.
Weaning in Sri Lanka
Yes, this is possible we weaned our baby in Sri Lanka, and there is plenty of local produce to make purees. Mango, banana, papaya, carrot, sweet potato, potato, and coconut milk rice is the Sri Lankan standard Avoid pineapple goes down well but is particularly harsh on the exit. The cooks at KBH can help you prepare these. Bring some ice cube trays and some pots.
What else to bring?
Nappies. Sri Lankan nappies are expensive to buy locally, so pack from home. They take up a lot of space in your luggage but you will appreciate that space on the way home, there are lots of lovely things to bring back from Sri Lanka.
Child booster seat. There are only a few restaurants with child seats so bring a booster seat with a strap. We bought a classic Ikea baby chair with us and left it with The KBH family so there is one child seat there. There are a few child-friendly restaurants. Rise Italian Restaurant in Welligama has Ikea chairs and rabbit-shaped pizza.
For any other tips please get in touch.