Hotels Near Yala National Park in Sri Lanka

by Joanne Thomas

As Sri Lanka's largest national park, Yala is one of the nation's prime attractions for nature-loving tourists. Visitors seeking to observe Sri Lankan elephants, sloth bears, hundreds of bird species and the world's highest concentration of leopards are catered to by hotels in the towns and villages of the Hambantota District. The park's location on the southeast coast of the island allows you to stay in a beachfront hotel and enjoy the attractions of both the land and sea from one location.

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Peacock Beach Hotel

Peacock Beach Hotel is located in the town of Hambantota on the south coast of Sri Lanka -- a gateway to Yala National Park as well as several other parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the region. The hotel overlooks a wide sandy beach and a renowned surf spot. Its 112 guest rooms and suites are air conditioned, and all offer private balconies with direct views of the sea. Deluxe rooms come with a welcome fruit basket and complimentary bottled water. Guest facilities include a freshwater swimming pool, game room and shopping arcade. The hotel offers two on-site restaurants: One is a large dining hall with an unusual kaleidoscope-like ceiling and an international buffet; the other is an open-air beach restaurant specializing in seafood.

Hibiscus Garden Hotel

The intimate, 16-room Hibiscus Garden Hotel is surrounded by tropical vegetation in a secluded spot near Yala National Park. The property features an outdoor swimming pool, expansive lawns, and natural ponds that attract abundant and diverse bird life and troops of monkeys. Guests choose from room-only, bed and breakfast, full-board and half-board rates, with meals enjoyed in the open air restaurant that serves local specialties alongside international dishes. The hotel offers a menu of excursions including safaris in Yala, birdwatching tours, fishing trips with local fishermen and twilight boat trips to the bird island in Tissamaharama reservoir.

Arugambay Surf Resort

Arugambay Surf Resort is located in a seaside village known for hosting several international surf competitions. The resort attracts surfers and nature-lovers alike with its proximity to renowned surf spots, coral reefs for snorkeling and diving, and Yala National Park, which is about 40 minutes away. Guests rent surfboards and arrange lessons through the resort, or arrange safari tours of Yala. Twelve rooms are available, with a choice of rustic thatched cabanas on the beach or upper-floor guest rooms with balconies in the main building. The on-site restaurant serves Mexican, Italian and barbecue dishes, and opens early for breakfast.

Hotel Chandrika

Hotel Chandrika, located about 30 minutes west of Yala National Park, offers 20 guest rooms and some unexpected outdoor attractions in its lush jungle area, such as rope climbing, an obstacle course and a tree house reached via a rope ladder. The guest rooms are housed in low-rise buildings flanking a central garden and swimming pool, which features a swim-up cocktail bar with submerged bar stools built into the pool. Every guest room offers a private veranda. The restaurant offers Sri Lankan dishes as well as Indian, Chinese and European cuisine. Guests are also invited to a regular barbecue dinner served in the hotel's jungle area with bonfires and live entertainment by a calypso band.

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.

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