If you were wondering, Unawatuna is off-season and we wouldn’t really recommend it for swimming. As you can see, the beach in the middle of the strip is basically non-existent. The new breakwater is protecting the Kingfisher side up to the fishy wall (NB Restaurant), but after that it’s quite rough.
This could be anecdotal, but in our experience the beach at Unawatuna is getting worse and worse. If you look above, the waves are now literally crashing at the foundation of Happy Banana. Please note that we’re focusing on Happy Banana and not other places in the strip because this is where we’ve gone for years and it’s a bit of a shock to see it like this.
While the waves always come closer off-season, the constant building on the Unawatuna bay has, as far as we can tell, made the problem of beach erosion worse. Indeed, after doing some reading on coastal erosion, it seems clear that the only real solution is to not build so close to the water and allow the beach to naturally regulate itself.
As a stopgap the local authorities have built a rock breakwater at the Devale point. This protects the beach around Kingfisher, which is still swimmable, but it’s not a long-term solution to the eroding Unawatuna sands. A few years ago the government demolished illegal structures on the strip, things that were built literally on the beachfront, but the beach still keeps getting smaller and smaller.
Based on what we read (from Beachapedia), building hard structures on the beach is basically never good and things like breakwaters are only stopgap solutions. Because the Una strip is so built up, the beach has less freedom to naturally regulate and maintain itself.
Basically, it’s sad but true that the places we enjoy the beach from are also damaging the beach. It should come back in season (around November, December), but right now the beach is not looking so good.