What we offer
We offer cinnamon tours and surfing lessons. Both have low numbers (max 6 for cinnamon experience, and 5 for surfing lessons) for a more personal experience.
True cinnamon is unique to Sri Lanka. Learn something of the historical, economic, health and agricultural aspects of cinnamon while enjoying cinnamon tea and cinnamon biscuits. Tour the cinnamon plantation, and harvest your own bit of cinnamon to take away with you. Watch, or get as hands on as you like (you will be shown how to do it!).
Ashan will give a cooking lesson, with cinnamon featuring in most dishes. Again, get as involved as you like. Help Ashan and/or take notes and pictures and/or chill in the garden and wander around. But you will definitely want to be involved when we all sit at the table! Typically there will be 1 meat curry, 1 dhal (lentil) curry, 1 vegetable curry, 1 tempered vegetable, 1 sambol, and rice. All suitable for vegetarians and vegans, except the meat dish, obviously! We don't provide a pudding. And we are not licensed, so if you would like to drink beer or wine, you will need to bring it with you. We provide drinking water. It is from our well, and is boiled and filtered.
The experience starts at 10.30 and lasts about 3 hours in all, then you'll want to go for a nap.
1. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear. If you want to really explore the estate footwear with a good tread is recommended.
2. The tour hut is shaded. Sun cream is never a mistake, though!
3. Don't forget your camera...
It is relatively recently that surfing has taken off on the south and west coasts of Sri Lanka. A rare sight as little as ten years ago - just a few surfers in Weligama and Hikkaduwa - some surf points are dangerously congested now. S.K. Town, between Matara and Dondra, is still much quieter than most popular places and has waves suitable for all levels, and so is great for lessons. Ashan finds that he is working in Hirikitiya just as often, though.
Lessons are for 60 minutes. If you would like 90 or 120 minutes, please ask Ashan. Boards are provided. The waves tend to be best in the early morning, but Ashan is happy in the water at any time!
Ashan has a very good record in getting learners up on their boards in their first lesson, so if that's all you have time for.... But a series of 3 lessons is recommended (with some practice between them). The first starts on the beach before moving to shallow water, where Ashan shoves the board from behind you to add impetus to the wave! He is very skilled at giving really practical tips to help you succeed. The second lesson has some remedial work on the beach, then moves to shallows and on out to deeper water, just in Ashan's depth. The third quickly moves to deeper water, where Ashan will be on a board next to you, encouraging and advising, and teaching the etiquette of surfing.
If there are 4 or 5 learners, there will usually be an assistant coach, too.
1. Protect yourself from the sun! Sunscreen, maybe a hat, and a t-shirt in the water, even in the morning.
2. As the beach is public and you will be in the water, do not bring valuables. It's advisable to leave jewellery behind in your room.
Shikra Cinnamon Team
Ashan is from Mihiripenna, near Unawattuna. He has worked in hotels and restaurants in Unawattuna and Talalla. As well as being the guide for the tour and giving the cooking lesson, Ashan manages the cinnamon estate. He absolutely loves surfing, and he loves sharing that passion through lessons!
Richard, who is from England, owns Shikra. A retired teacher trainer and education consultant, he was captivated when he saw the cinnamon estate, and hopes to share that captivation. Not a surfer, he prefers underwater, and is a diver.
Darmisiri is local, being from Kapugama itself. He is the caretaker and gardener. He must like the letter 'P', becuase his wife is Padmani, his son Pasindu and his daughter Parvani! Darmisiri can't swim, so no surfing or diving.
Indika is also from Kapugama. She keeps Shikra nice and clean. Her husband has done day work on the cinnamon, and her two sons and daughter are also familiar sights, especially her oldest son Lucky, who is a friend of Ashan's.