It appears that Arugam Bay in the off season (or low season, rainy season or monsoon season) is like Marmite; you either love it or you hate it! For those that live in Arugam Bay, most agree that it is the best time to be there.
The main reason is that life simply returns to normal during the months of November to March. Fishing and farming become the main occupations for the residents and there is a distinct lack of tourism, noise or parties. What this means is:
- lower prices (50% cheaper than summer in general);
- no need to make a reservation in the better hotels;
- less hassle in the street from vendors, agents and tuk tuk drivers;
- less heat (easier to go exploring during the day and to sleep at night);
- more chances to see wildlife in more lush and green surroundings.
These are clearly all positive things but there are of course some negatives, such as:
- the beach is dirtier as there is less effort from hoteliers to clean it;
- there are many hotels that say they are open but have reduced their staff, cancelled the internet contract, reduced the menu due to lack of demand, and reduced the level of cleaning service etc;
- the rain in December and January that can be heavy (the rest of the rainy season on the East Coast really is not very rainy and is usually limited to a day or two a week);
- the difficulty of finding more than a couple of places open to eat during the day or evening.
The subject of surf can be positive or negative whichever way you look at it. Some points continue to work well into the start of the off season, Baby Point being one of them. It is possible to find Main Point pumping in the middle of February and not a single person out in the waves but it does not happen often. You need to be lucky, off season in Arugam Bay is becoming more and more popular every year as people realise there are still many days of surf.
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Some of the more popular things to do during the off-season include:
Searching for a Hotel? Read the Ultimate Guide to Arugam Bay Accommodation 2018