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When you enter Mirissa Beach, you’ll probably notice a small tidal island that sits around 50 metres away from the coastline…what you’re looking at is the famous Parrot Rock in Sri Lanka!
This tiny rock mound can only be accessed at low tide, but when you climb over you’ll be treated to the best views of Mirissa Beach.
Although visiting this viewpoint seems straightforward, it is important to know a few things first before you attempt to visit.
Checking tide times and knowing what to expect is crucial so you don’t get hurt or damage any of your electronics!
Here’s a complete guide to the Parrot Rock viewpoint with everything you need to know.
Why is it called Parrot Rock?
To tell you the truth, when I asked around with the locals, no one seemed to know for sure!
There are a few theories. One is that it is shaped like a parrot head… which I can’t really see at all.
The second is that parrots used to live here once upon a time. But, again, there’s no sign of that now! All you usually see on the rock are crows that surround the place when the tide is in.
So, I guess that the name will remain a mystery for now. But, it’s still pretty cool to have an island named Parrot Rock!
How to get to Parrot Rock from Mirissa Beach
As soon as you enter the main strip of Mirissa Beach, you’ll easily spot Parrot Rock on the left-hand side of the tip of the coastline.
As the rock is a tidal island, it’s important to wait until low tide in order to cross over to the island safely.
Of course, you could cross over to Parrot Rock at high tide. However, you’ll be wading through waist-high seawater the whole way!
If the waves are relatively calm, it’s absolutely fine to cross over during the high tide if you don’t mind getting wet. But, remember to bring a waterproof bag or keep your electronics high above your head!
If it’s monsoon season, it’s been raining or there are high winds on your visit. I would strongly urge you not to climb Parrot Rock.
Not only could scrabbling over rocks be dangerous with turbulent waves, climbing up to the viewpoint would be a struggle as well. The walkway is muddy and fragile at the best of times but during the rainy season? Trust me, it’s a no-go!
Personally, I visited in October and the waves were always too high to attempt to cross over to the island. Eventually, I ended up storing all my electronics in my hotel to cross over in the sea! I didn’t want to risk destroying all my gear.
Always make sure to keep an eye on the tide during your visit. It can come into shore quite quickly and you don’t want to get stuck!
On that note, it’s always good to have travel insurance. I use World Nomads for their reliable policies, click here for a quote.
The best time to visit & top tips
The best time to visit Parrot Rock would be around sunrise as this is when it is less crowded and you’ll get perfect lighting. If you’re lucky, the sky will be beautiful shades of pinks and oranges too.
But, if you can’t face getting up this early, climbing up to the viewpoint at any point during low tide is a great time. Just expect there to be lots of people.
I would say that, although sunset is a lovely time to visit, it can get extremely crowded. Getting on or off the island will be a bit congested!
Although it looks relatively easy from afar, the walk up to the top of the island can be quite treacherous if you’re not careful.
The walkway over to the island is filled with sharp rocks and is quite slippy. Also, the stairs are uneven and it’s completely exposed. So, you’ll be scrabbling most of the way.
Make sure you have a sturdy pair of shoes on (like sandals with straps) to get over to the island safely and mind your step on the sharp rocks!
What to expect while you’re here
There is very little to do while you’re on top of Parrot Rock. It’s mainly a viewpoint so you can enjoy looking over at Mirissa, the ocean, and the gorgeous Sri Lankan coastline.
If you’re heading here for photos, there are plenty of opportunities on the rock to get a nice shot of the beach and of you.
After your photoshoot, if you wanted to relax for a while, there are a few spots where you can sit and look out over at the sea if it’s dry.
That’s your lot really! This cute tidal island is just a tiny mound in the sea. There are no facilities here.
An alternative viewpoint is Coconut Tree Hill!
If you’re heading to Mirissa during monsoon season and you cannot access Parrot Rock, I know your pain. In October, it took me ages to find the right moment. Even then, it was still a lot of effort with the strong current and waves.
The coastguard on the beach was warning people not to cross over as it was dangerous and there had been accidents. So, it must have really been bad!
However, don’t worry. There is an alternative viewpoint called Coconut Tree Hill that you can visit further up along the strip towards Sanda Beach.
This spot is far easier to visit at any time of year plus it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Sri Lanka.
If you carry on up the coastline, it will come into view pretty quickly. The whole journey on foot will be around 10-15 minutes from Parrot Rock.
If the waves are too strong to walk along the coastline, you can still head onto the palm tree hill from the roadside. The entrance is just a little further on from Bandaramulla Temple.
Looking for more places to visit in Mirissa?
Mirissa was one of my favourite places to explore Sri Lanka’s south coast.
After you’ve visited Parrot Rock, you could explore the main strip of Mirissa Beach. They have an amazing range of beach bars to relax in and sip a coconut.
You can head out on a boat trip and spot whales or dolphins that hang around these waters. Or, learn how to surf at one of the schools on the coast.
No visit to Mirissa would be complete without a visit to the famous No. 1 Dewmini Roti Shop. This place has any sort of Roti you could think of! I had an avocado one and it was incredibly delicious. They also do cooking lessons if you’re interested.
Or, you could discover the no-so secret Secret Beach which is an amazing spot to chill out on. I found as a solo female traveller I was bothered far less here!
Where to stay in Mirissa
I stayed in the super friendly Maison D’Hotes Sanda Beach in Mirissa which is just a two-minute walk away from Coconut Tree Hill. It’s also a 10-minute walk to Parrot Rock!
As my hotel was in a nice quiet area of Mirissa, I got to avoid most of the traffic noise which was bliss. All I could hear was the sounds of the waves crashing on the shores.
The family who run the guesthouse was so friendly and helpful. They gave me lots of tips for planning the rest of my travels through Sri Lanka.
My double room was also spotless and I woke up to a lovely homemade breakfast of Hoppers!