Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka stands on a shallow continental shelf which ends up in the South and East broadened towards the North.
The western and southern coast beaches begins from Negombo, 13kms north of Colombo and curves south along the coastline for 273kms up to Hambantota. This is definitely the better developed of the two circuits and accounts for most of the hotels and the resorts. South of Colombo it is called the ?Cold Coast? and the resorts stretch from Mt. Lavinia (a suburb of Colombo) along Wadduwa, Kalutara, Beruwala, Bentota, Induruwa, Kosgoda, Ahungalla, Hikkaduwa, Calle, Unawatuna, Koggala, We- ligama, Dickewalla, Tangalle and finally Hambantota. The southern beaches are sandier than the western ones and do not shelve steeply into the sea.
While the eastern and northern coast beaches stretches north in a gentle arc from Arugam Bay till Kuchchaveli approximately 275kms up on the eastern coastline. Fine beaches, typically wide stretches of sand and what seems like miles of clear, shallow water, pretty bays and coves, deep natural harbours, still lagoons and underwater coral gardens. The best ones are those of Nilaveli, Kuchchaveli, Marble Bay, Sweat Bay and Dead Man?s Cove, with its magnificent harbour, north of Trincomalee. The southern section includes the peaceful beaches of Passekudah, Kalkudah and Arugam Bay.