Elephant Rock Surf Point and Beach, The Ultimate Guide

Looking for a new surf spot in Arugam Bay, to get out of town, explore some nature, or find a new relaxing beach? Welcome to our guide to Elephant Rock Surf Point and Beach, the wildest place you must visit on Sri Lanka’s East Coast.

It had been a fun morning, riding a moped around the fields and jungles south of the town, our first time getting out of Arugam Bay to find a new surf spot. We’d heard tales of quiet lineups, long right-handers, isolated coves, and wild Elephants roaming the beaches. But so far, we’d only managed to get a little lost after a few wrong turns on the dusty dirt tracks off the main road.

These were wrong turns in a good way, the right kind of getting lost. 

Hidden sand traps, marsh lakes, herds of Buffalo, and a working Buddhist temple. It was our own little adventure before we stumbled across the parking spot at Elephant Rock Beach.

A old makeshift wooden parasol and chair standing on it own on Elephant Rock Beach

What a stunning first impression, we walked past one lonely old weathered makeshift parasol standing on its own private black beach, through a gap in the trees, and around the base of Elephant Rock to the edge of a murky green lagoon. We could see the beach, just 20 meters away on the other side, but holding my surfboard and a choice between clambering along a steep rock wall or hopping into the water, we were a bit stumped about how to get there. 

After a few moments, one local came and pointed up the rock, whilst some others on the beach pointed to the water below. Knowing that nothing is more painful than dinging a board, we hopped into the lagoon and waded through the knee-deep water. One step, two, three, four. We must have only been 5 meters away before the locals pointed behind us and started panicking and mentioning words we didn’t quite understand.  

A rock in the foreground and a makeshift raft used to cross the lagoon at Elephant Rock Beach

The sixth, seventh, and eighth steps were much faster getting us quickly to the other side. We’d heard stories of crocodiles lurking in the lagoons, and losing a limb wasn’t up there on our travel bucket list. But funnily enough, we’d turned around to see nothing except the locals giggling with each other. It seems the stories from the past had left a slightly darker humour here.

But it didn’t matter, our momentary panic was soon replaced with bright wide smiles on our faces as we looked upon one of the most stunning, wildest beaches we’ve come across. Maybe we’d just found heaven.

A girl stands on the beach looking at Elephant Rock near Arugam Bay

Why visit Elephant Rock Beach

Despite the ‘partial drama’ of our first encounter, Elephant Rock Beach and surf spot is a safe destination and a must-visit if you’re in Arugam Bay. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lanka’s East Coast with a great viewpoint and a fun little surf spot. Over our trip, we must have visited Elephant Rock Beach 6 or 7 times, here’s why we think you should too!

The Perfect Beginner Surf Spot

If you’re a beginner surfer and you want to avoid the crowds at Baby Point or you’re looking to try a new wave, Elephant Rock Surf Spot is the perfect place to start. The wave here doesn’t have as much power as Main Point or Peanut Farm Beach so it’s a nice easy gentle get-up, but you still get long 30-50m rides to the beach, and nothing beats those bird-eye pictures from the top of Elephant Rock.

A beginner surfer on a wave taken from the top of Elephant Rock

Surrounded by Nature

Elephant Rock Beach is one of the most stunning places you can explore near Arugam Bay. Don’t expect sunbeds or many beachgoers, instead, you get to share this beach with wild Buffalo grazing on the jungle edge, little yellow crabs hiding in their homes, or wild Elephants watching you surf if you’re lucky. 

The beach is a long untouched stretch of soft golden sand with no buildings on it, only jungle and crocodile-filled lagoons for as long as the eye can see. If you want to find a remote beach with plenty of wildlife and surf vibes, Elephant Rock is one of the top beaches to explore.

A girl looks at buffalo in the distance from the top of Elephant Rock

The Best Sunset Spot

Sri Lanka has some of the best sunsets in the world and the East Coast is blessed with some unbelievable orange and purple skylines in the evening. The sun sets behind the mainland though, so you often need to watch it through palm tree silhouettes. 

Elephant Rock is one of the only elevated positions on the coastline, at about 100m tall you get perfect panoramic views as far as the eye can see. With beautiful reflections of the lagoon below and uninterpretted views to the horizon, it’s the perfect place to bring a few beers and watch the sunset from above the trees.

Read more: Elephant Rock Hike, Your Guide To The Best Viewpoint In Arugam Bay

A girl sitting at the top of Elephant Rock Arugam Bay at sunset

Elephant Rock Surf Point Guide

The wave

Elephant Rock Surf Spot is a nice fun right-hand point break that is great for beginners. The wave has a nice mellow get-up with a sand bottom so the risks are low but you can still get nice long 50 meter rides on some fun 2-4ft waves. It’s a great place if you’re starting to catch regular green waves and want to learn to ride the face of a wave or learn to turn.

A beginner on a small wave at Elephant Rock Surf Point Arugam Bay

If you’re intermediate or advanced you’ll probably want to avoid this spot and head to Main Point, Lighthouse, or Peanut Farm instead. If a big swell hits, Elephant Rock is a good place to try and avoid the crowds and find your own spot. You can swim out behind the beginners and there are typically only 3-5 good surfers out back on the peak. 

  • Wave type: Point Break
  • Wave direction: Right
  • Takeoff: Mellow
  • Rides: 25 – 50 meters
  • Level: Beginners / Intermediates
  • Paddle out: Easy
  • Tides: Any
  • Risk: Low / Medium – beginners everywhere
Local boys watch a longboard surfer on a wave at Elephant Rock Beach Arugam Bay

The lineup

The lineup at Elephant Rock Beach tends to be a beginner or intermediate level. It tends to be a friendly atmosphere, but it can get quite crowded with lots of surf schools using this spot. You should expect to have instructors push their clients on the waves in front of you on the odd occasion. But if you can surf, you can tend to sit out back where there are typically only 5-10 people sharing the peak.

Beginners riding foam boards at sunset at Elephant Rock Surf Point

When to visit

The best time to surf at Elephant Rock Point is generally between April and October, during the dry season. This period coincides with the Southwest monsoon which brings consistent swells to the East Coast of Sri Lanka and nice offshore winds. 

The best months are typically June to September when the sands have moved back fully after the winter monsoons, creating waves with a better shape and a higher chance of scoring those long 50-meter rides.

The early morning hours just after sunrise are often the best times of the day to hit this wave when the winds are lighter and the waves are cleaner. The conditions tend to get choppier around 11am – 12pm when the winds often pick up, but Elephant Rock is typically surfable all day. The winds tend to die down towards the evening making it another great time to paddle out and there’s a good chance of seeing wild Elephants on the way home too! 

Longboarder staring out to sea waiting for a wave a Elephant Rock Surf Point Arugam Bay

Board type

Elephant Rock Point is a really mellow wave so it’s best to bring a board with a bit more float, we recommend bringing a fish, groveller, or longboard.  

Board rental

You can rent a few soft tops and epoxy hardboards from the locals on the beach, which will cost about $5 a session. If you know you’re going to visit Elephant Rock for a surf, it’s best to bring a board from the town where you can rent them for $2-3 a day and you have a lot more options. You can bring them on the roof of a Tuk Tuk and a lot of the bikes have board racks.

Two guys are chatting next to the surfboards they rent on Elephant Rock Brach

Beginners and lessons

Elephant Rock is a great place to get a beginner lesson. You can organise a private lesson for $15 for 1-2 hours on the beach from the beach boys that rent the boards. If you want to save some money you can organise a cheaper lesson or join a surf camp in many of the surf shops in Arugam Bay town.

Makeshift shacks and locals renting surfboards at Elephant Rock Beach

Elephant Rock Beach Location

Where is Elephant Rock Beach

Elephant Rock is 6km south of Arugam Bay and it’s easy to get to. The hardest part is knowing where you turn off the road and which dirt tracks to follow. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered with a picture of the sign you need to follow.

  1. Start your journey by heading south from Arugam Bay along Panama road. The road will take you through a scenic landscape of farmland and rice paddies. It’s a really stunning area to explore.
  2. After 5 km you’ll cross a few bridges, the rice paddies will end and the terrain will start to get drier with many rock boulders with white letters painted on them. When you get to this part of the main road you’re getting close so slow down to look for the turn off.
  3. When you get to a white sign with the words “Historical Lanka Viharaya’ turn left onto the dirt track. The road will fork mid way near a small hut, keep following the sign to the right past the small lake.
  4. Keep following this dirt track, towards the end it will start getting a bit sandy so watch out if you’re on a moped. You’ll know you’ve reached the beach when you come across a little Tuk Tuk parking spot, you’ll know what I mean when you get there.
  5. Finding the rock from the parking spot is easy, just walk down the sand pathway and it will be right in front of you. Enjoy!
A man on a motorbike drives past the sign you need to follow on the way to Elephant Rock Beach

How to get to Elephant Rock Beach

Tuk Tuk

The easiest method by far is asking a local Tuk Tuk driver in town to give you a ride. They’ll navigate all the roads for you, drop you off right on the beach, and wait to bring you home. A return trip is about $5-10 depending on how good you are at negotiating. If you haven’t explored the beach yet or gone for a surf at Elephant Rock Point Break this might be the best option.

Two Tuk Tuks carrying surfboards cross a bridge near Arugam bay


Our favourite way to get to Elephant Rock is by moped, it’s the same way as the Tuk Tuk but you’ll need to work out the directions yourself. It’s a fun drive where you can explore the farmlands, stop off at the beautiful streams and try to find some elephants on the way home. You can rent a moped with a board rack for $7-8 a day from many hotels and guesthouses in town.

Where to stay near Elephant Rock Beach

Elephant Rock Beach is a remote location and there is no accommodation on the beach. If you want to stay nearby for some early dawn patrol then the best place to stay is in Arugam Bay. Here are a few of our favourite places to stay.

Surf Gangs – Best all-rounder

Surf Gangs is without a doubt our favourite place to stay in Arugam Bay for digital nomads. This is a relatively new property built by Tom, a super down-to-earth guy from New York, who has put so much care and attention into the quality of the rooms and the vibe he’s creating.

We spent 3 weeks here in total and just kept extending, nowhere else came close. For $40-50 a night you can get a giant balcony room 30 seconds from the beach with a stunning garden and a pool. It’s the small things that made this place so amazing though, the aircon worked perfectly and they had a fan, the showers had warm water with actual water pressure, the rooms and the sheets were cleaned daily and the internet actually worked. These may sound like basics, but if you spend some time in Sri Lanka you’ll get what we mean. 

In the end, Surf Gangs was such a comfortable place to work and enjoy Arugam Bay from there’s nowhere else we will choose to stay when we return.

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Two balconies and a palm tree of Surf Gangs Arugam Bay

Oasis Bay – Budget value

If you’re looking for a budget hotel with friendly staff and the best free breakfast, then Oasis Bay is a great option. At $25-30, it’s still not budget, but Arugam Bay does get expensive in the peak season, and nowhere apart from hostels will be really cheap. 

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The Spice Trail – Amazing quality

If you want more luxury and comfort then the Spice Trail is our top pick. This accommodation has amazing rooms looking out onto a super chilled pool area. If you’re looking for the best quality under $100 a night, Spice Trail is the place.

Book: See latest prices

The swimming pool at sunset at the Spice Trail in Arugam Bay

Things to know

Where to eat

There are no restaurants on Elephant Rock Beach. If you want to get some food you’ll need to head back to Arugam Bay or pop over to Peanut Farm Beach. If you’re planning on staying the day we suggest bringing some snacks with you.

Read more: 8 Best Restaurants in Arugam Bay + 1 Hidden Gem

Are there any supermarkets

There are no supermarkets near Elephant Rock Beach, it’s in an isolated location. You can purchase bottles of water from the guys renting boards on the beach, but it’s best to bring everything you need.

What to bring 

Anything you need, you can’t get much when you are at the beach. We’d suggest your boards, a beach towel, zinc, suncream, water, and whatever snacks you need.

A couple sit smiling at each other at the top of Elephant Rock facing south to Peanut Farm

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