Lighthouse Surf Spot, Your Guide to Arugam Bay’s Best Kept Secret

Wondering whether Lighthouse Point is worth the 45 minute ride from Arugam Bay? Whether the waves are good, if the lineup is busy, when to visit and if it’s worth staying the night? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers. 

It was easily the most memorable few days of our trip to Arugam Bay. Four nights sleeping in stilted cabanas open to the jungle right on Lighthouse Beach. Every morning, waking up at first light, a 30 meter walk to the ocean, maybe 4 other surfers at the peak, and we just kept hitting wave after wave after wave. 

Fun drop ins, nice peeling right handers, 100 meter rides, a great face for turns. It was so much fun. 

A surfer taking a high line on a wave at Lighthouse Arugam Bay

After each 2-3 hour session we’d all get out and share breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever meal it was at the only restaurant around, before someone would pick up their board and head back out again. The rest of the group slowly following after we all let our food settle. 

We’d surf 3 sessions a day, every day, with the same group of new yet familiar faces on our almost private wave. No elbows out, just a sharing and supportive vibe, all of us pushing each other for one extra turn, maybe attempting the occasional party wave cross over and just having a good laugh. 

Lighthouse point, it’s the way surfing should be.

Two surfers attempting a crossover at Lighthouse surf spot near Arugam Bay

Why visit Lighthouse surf spot

If you’re in Arugam Bay or thinking of going, you’ll most likely know this is the land of peeling right hand point breaks. Almost every spot is a point, and whilst this often throws up long 300 – 400 meter rides, big carvable faces and if you’re lucky, a little barrel. It also means the spots get very very busy.

If you surf Main Point in the center of town, you’ll be sharing the peak with 40-50 others, Peanut Farm maybe 20-25 and 15+ at Elephant rock. If you’re from Israel maybe that’s your style, but after 2 weeks of competing with locals and dodging beginners, I really wanted to find a nice quiet spot where I could relax and have fun.

A makeshift swing in the foreground and surfers in the background at sunrise at Lighthouse surf spot

Well, 45 minutes north of Arugam bay is a best kept secret. There’s a collection of 10 stilted cabana’s open to nature and immersed in the palm trees with their own private beach and practically a private surf spot. Because of its distance from Arugam Bay, surfers rarely travel this far and especially not for first light. So at Lighthouse Point, you will often only find 5 or 6 people on the peak, and a few times I had the wave all to myself.

Whether you want to stay for a few days or just commute from Arugam Bay, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, have some fun and surf the quietest spot in the area, then Lighthouse Point is the surf spot you’re looking for.

Lighthouse surf spot guide

The wave

There are 3 waves at Lighthouse and all of them are fun right hand point breaks with mellow takeoffs and nice long rides. 

  • Wave type: Point Break
  • Wave direction: Right
  • Takeoff: Mellow
  • Rides: 50 – 100 meters
  • Level: Intermediates / Advanced
  • Paddle out: Easy
  • Tides: Any
  • Risk: Low – a few rocks under the surface

Sangamankanda Point

To the right of the Lighthouse is the first wave also known as Sangamankanda Point. This is where the Tuk Tuks park if you come from Arugam Bay and all the surfers typically get in without knowing there are other waves to surf. It’s a mellow spot and great for intermediates, but not the most powerful wave at Lighthouse. 

A surfer on a wave behind the lighthouse near sangamankanda Point, Komari

The takeoff is soft and you can easily score 50 meter rides on this wave with only 5-10 people at the peak. Even in the shallows the depth is chest high with a sand bottom so it’s a safe ride. To paddle out just walk towards the rocks, hop in and swim out, there’s a few rocks under the surface when paddling out, but it’s fine at the lineup.

Lighthouse Point

To the left of the lighthouse and in front of Hilltop Cabanas is the second wave which is more powerful and holds longer rides. The take off is really close to the rocks but you’ll be rewarded with a nice open face perfect for high lines and always giving good vibes. 

A surfer on a backside drop in at Lighthouse Arugam Bay

Expect 100 meter long rides on this wave right to the shore, an easy paddle back to the peak and a good crowd to hang with whilst you repeat it all over again. This was one of my favourite breaks in Arugam Bay, if you venture to Lighthouse Beach this is the wave to hit. There are a few rocks under the surface here so be careful when you hop off the board.

Lighthouse Baby Point

If you walk further north away from the lighthouse into the small sand bay you’ll find the third wave peeling off the closest set of rocks. This is the smallest wave in the area but it’s also a lot more sheltered, so if the first two waves are blown out you can often walk here and it might be working. There are a couple of shallow rocks under the surface to take care of your positioning for the peak.

The lineup

Lighthouse is one the quietest spots in Arugam Bay, you will rarely find over 5-10 people on the peak. Most of the surfers here tend to be intermediates and there are no locals that religiously surf this spot. This creates a nice vibe where people are more chilled, there are not a lot of surfers competing for waves and everyone is typically friendly with good etiquette. It’s one of my favourite lineups in Arugam Bay. 

A big wave rolling into Lighthouse surf spot whilst only two people sit in the lineup

When to visit

The best time to surf at Lighthouse Point in Arugam Bay 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 100 meter rides.

The early morning hours just after sunrise are often the best times of the day to hit this wave. During this time, the winds are generally lighter, offering cleaner and glassier conditions with almost no one else around. The spots tend to blow between 11am – 12pm and settle again just before sunrise. But they’re never as clean as the early morning.

A longboard walking to the nose at Lighthouse surf spot Arugam Bay

Board type

Lighthouse is a relatively mellow wave. It’s best to bring a longboard or a fish. Shortboards are still welcome, but a bit of float is nice at Lighthouse.

Board rental

There are no surf shops at Lighthouse beach. Hilltop Cabanas and Lighthouse Beach Huts do have a few boards you can rent out for $10-15 per day, but this is really over priced compared to what you can get in Arugam Bay and the choice of boards is limited. The best option is to rent a board for $2-3 in town and bring it with you.

Surfboards on a rack for rent with the ocean in the background at Hilltop Cabanas

Beginners and lessons

If you’ve never surfed before or you’re surfing the white wash, we recommend avoiding Lighthouse Point. Even though the waves are mellow, there are strong currents that drag you around and few hidden rocks in the shallows. It’s best to do lessons at baby point in Arugam Bay until you feel comfortable on green waves.

Once you’re comfortable, if you still want a lesson or a guide, you’ll need to find one in Arugam Bay who will take you to Lighthouse point. There are no surf instructors based at this spot.


Where is Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouse beach is 25km north of Arugam Bay, and like everywhere on the east coast you can choose to get there by motorbike, Tuk Tuk or by car. To get to the beach you need to drive north of Panama until you reach Komari, turn right just after the town and follow the dirt tracks and signs all the way to the beach.

How to get to Lighthouse Beach


You can get to Lighthouse beach but the journey is far. We’d only suggest doing this if you’re going for a quick trip and you won’t be bringing a board. You can pick up a bike in Arugam Bay for $2-3 per day. 

Tuk Tuk

Our preferred way to get to Lighthouse point is with a Tuk Tuk driver from Arugam Bay. The cost is normally R3500 / $10 for a one way trip or $15 for a two way. The driver will wait for you at the spot and they will happily bring boards on the roof. 

Tuk Tuks driving over a bridge with surfboards on the roof on the way to Lighthouse Beach


If you want some air conditioning and a bit of comfort you can get a private driver from Arugam Bay. If you have a shortboard the driver might fit it inside the car with you, but you’ll struggle with a longboard. The cost will be $20 per way and they often won’t wait at the spot.

What is the beach like

A long golden sand beach, palm trees along the shore, no buildings and barely any people, Lighthouse Beach is stunning. Don’t expect any infrastructure, the only signs of humans are the derelict remains of an old lighthouse and a few fishing boats that haven’t moved in many moons. This is a beach you can really just relax and chill with nothing going on. 

If you’re not coming for a surf, potentially Lighthouse beach isn’t worth the journey unless you’re coming to stay. But if you’re on your way to surf, it’s a great place to bring a towel and chill for a few hours. 

Two dogs walk down a deserted Lighthouse Beach at sunset

Where to stay near Lighthouse Beach

If you’re looking for a really unique stay when you visit East Coast of Sri Lanka, you have to spend a few nights at Lighthouse Beach, it’s one of our top things to do in Arugam Bay. Empty breaks, stunning sunrise surfs and the most relaxing vibe we found on the entire east coast, why wouldn’t you want to visit. Here are the best places to stay at Lighthouse Beach. 

Hilltop Cabanas

Hilltop Cabanas is a collection of 10 stilted cabana’s open to nature and immersed in the palm trees with their own private beach and right in front of the main break. It’s the ultimate place to just relax, unwind and have a really unique travel experience. 

A women stands on the balcony of one of the stilted cabanas at Hilltop near Lighthouse Beach

What makes this place so special is the community. Because it’s small and isolated, you spend a lot of time with fellow travelers on the waves or chatting and hiding away from the sun in makeshift shacks. 

Every evening the owner, Thomas, would throw a communal dinner where we would all sit around and share stories or reminisce on who got the wave of the day. And this would continue on to having a few beers on the beach under the best view of the stars, there is no light pollution here, before getting an early night with the sea breeze rolling into the cabana and the sound of the jungle sending us to sleep. It almost had a kind of hostel vibe without the partying and with a private bathroom, a place to just connect with people and relax.

In the morning everyone would wake up naturally for the first light and we would all go hit the waves together. We stayed 4 nights here and it was some of the most memorable we’ve had in Sri Lanka. Rates are about $25-50 a night and you should book in advance to avoid disappointment. If you get the chance we highly recommend staying at Hilltop Cabanas.

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The makeshift shacks of Hilltop Cabanas overlooking the surf near Lighthouse Arugam Bay

Lighthouse Beach Hut

If you’re looking for a budget option, Lighthouse Beach Huts are the cheapest place to stay. The cabanas and facilities are more basic than Hilltop but you’ll still be right on the beach and get similar chilled vibes. The crowd here is a lot younger, but everyone is still staying to surf and relax rather than party. You can stay at Lighthouse Beach Hut for $10-25 a night.

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Niketh Villa Komari

If you’re looking for some of the basic luxuries over a beach hut then Niketh Villa Komaria is the only choice. This hotel is a 5 minute walk south of Lighthouse Point surf spot and still right on the beach. All the rooms come with a double bed, balcony, aircon and the hotel has a pool. The price is more expensive at $100-300 a night. But if you want to stay right on the surf without being in a beach hut, this is the only place to choose.

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Things to know

Where to eat

Although Lighthouse Beach is very isolated and empty, there are two restaurants you can try if you get hungry, with Hilltop Cabanas being one of our favourite places to eat in Arugam Bay.

Hilltop Cabanas Restaurant

Thomas runs an unbelievable restaurant at Hilltop Cabanas. He describes his food as a blend of Sri Lankan and Indonesian vibes with a twist of European quality. And it really shows, you can get dahl curry and greek salad mashups, kimchi and eggplant arancini tapas, pumpkin paneer wrapped in curry leaves and homemade tofu with satay sauce made with the peanuts from the locals down the road. 

Prices are anywhere between $6-10 per meal for really high quality and Thomas hosts community meals in the evening if you want to stay and share some food with some fellow travellers. If you’re looking for a different vibe for a post surf feed, we highly recommend eating at Hilltop Cabanas.

Lighthouse Beach Hut Restaurant

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Lighthouse Beach Hut has a restaurant where you can get the classic rice and curry and good iced coffees for cheap. The cost is $2-3 per meal. 

Nearby supermarkets

There are no supermarkets at Lighthouse beach, if you need anything you’ll need to bring it with you. The closest supermarket is a small local shop in Komari where you can get really basic things and you get water, beers or a few snacks at the restaurants in Hilltop Cabanas or Lighthouse Beach Hut.

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.

Internet Connection

Lighthouse beach is remote and the internet doesn’t work here very well. Hutch and Mobitel SIMs have very limited connection and Dialog is only fractionally better. If you visit, you’ll need enjoy the peacefulness of being slightly unconnected for a while, you don’t need a phone on the break anyway.

A surfer taking a high line on a nice right hand wave at Lighthouse Point

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