Hikkaduwa is a coastal town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka 100 kilometers away from Colombo. Beaches of Hikkaduwa has been a popular tourist destination since 1970's and was the most popular beach known internationally for a very long time.
One reason for the popularity was the large corral reef abundant with colorful marine life which made it one of the favored locations for divers. Today this reef has dwindled to a small patch due uncontrolled human activity and final blow came with the El Nino weather in late 1998 which killed a large portion of the live corrals.
In 1961, 110 acres of territorial waters off Hikkaduwa were given protection under the Fisheries Ordinance. In 1979, the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary was gazetted under the Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance. In 1998 it was upgraded to the status of a nature reserve and later to a national park . Hikkaduwa National Park is one of the only 2 marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The only other marine national park is Pigeons Island on the east cost of Sri Lanka.
Hikkaduwa beach area is comparatively developed as a tourist destination compared to other beach destinations with the exception of Negombo.
A range of hotels catering to a wide range of budgets are dotted along the beach and a choice food outlets catering to tourists are found along the beach and the main road.