5 Unique AirBnb Stays In Sri Lanka

Hello beautiful,

With international travel on hold for the moment, I’ve been looking at some dreamy getaways on AirBnb. One country which I have been longing to explore has been the little island of Sri Lanka, just off the southern tip of India. With lush forests, exotic animals and amazing food, here are five unique places to stay during your adventure.

KINGFISHER ECO LODGE

Tissamaharama, Southern Province

“We had a wonderful three day stay in the Minivet lodge. The resort is small and beautiful with amazing views out on to the lake. The staff can’t do enough to help you and made our stay wonderful.”

Just a short journey from Yala National Park and nestled amidst the bird sanctuary by the tranquil Weerawila lake, the luxury tented lodges offers relaxation and rejuvenation. Enjoy organic cuisine sourced from local communities, while staying in eco-friendly glamping style lodges with a king size bed and private decking area, perfect for enjoying the sunrise and sunset.

≫ Find Kingfisher Eco Lodge on AirBnB | £56 per night

BANYAN CAMP

Uva Province

“The Banyan Camp is the place to go to unwind and be close to nature in the most tranquil setting I’ve ever been.

Perched on the edge of a lake, Banyan Camp offers a peaceful and idyllic escape. You can expect to wake up to natures bird song and shower under the stars, glide across the lake in a canoe and be immersed in the jungle throughout your stay. The Banyan Lodge is built using champagne and wine bottles, harvested timber and Palmyra leaf roof and the oil lamps, lanterns and solar bulbs provide a warm glow instead of electricity.

≫ Find Banyan Camp on AirBnB | £83-100 per night

WINE LODGE | BANYAN CAMP

Uva Province

“Staying at Banyan Camp was the highlight of our entire trip, it was just magical from start to finish.”

Staying in Banyan Camp, the Wine Lodge is a beautiful earth house made using, you guessed it, wine bottles. Along with upcycled doors and roof tiles, this 2 bedroom lodge was the first of its kind built in Sri Lanka and offers an immersive jungle experience with traditional meals provided. The

≫ Find The Wine Lodge on AirBnB | £156 per night

THE HIDEOUT ELLA

Ella, Uva Province

“Sitting in the nets watching the sunset was one of my most memorable experiences of our trip, then having breakfast delivered as the sun crept out and sitting out on the balcony was so lovely.”

The Hideout Ella provides two beautiful wood cabins built on a mountain facing an infinite valley & the famous Nine Arch Bridge. These cabins give a spectacular view with a cozy atmosphere, set exactly right for a getaway or romantic escapade. I think this counts as a room with a view, right?! Situated close to Little Adams Peak and Ella, hiking trails and local sightseeing are right on your doorstep.

≫ Find The Hideout Ella on AirBnb | £42 per night

ELLA MOUNT VIEW GUEST INN

Ella, Uva Province

This beautiful one bedroom apartment opens out onto a private wooden deck overlooking the mountains, valley and tea plantations. As you can imagine, the morning sunrise from the deck would be magical. With Ella just a short walk away and close by to 9 Arch and Little Adams Peak, this little getaway is a highlight for many visiting Sri Lanka.

≫ Find Ella Mount View Guest Inn on AirBnb | £62 per night


Which AirBnb do you like the most? Let me know in the comments! And just incase you are new to AirBnb and would like to book a getaway, you can get £40 off your booking when you sign up to AirBnb using my referral link!

Happy adventuring x


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Making A Positive Impact : The Great Barrier Reef

This series is about practical ways travelers can help make a positive impact on the areas they visit.

Hi my beautiful,

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef was an incredible experience I will never forget. The whole experience brought me so much joy, exploring such a special corner of our planet has really been a dream of mine for so many years. And the sadness I feel when I hear of its degradation really breaks my heart. Enjoying the reef should be a joy experienced for generations to come. So if you are planning to visit this natural wonder of our world, here are a few tips to make sure your visit safeguards its beauty for many more years.


Choose An Accredited Company

There are a few key signs to look for if you want to choose an eco-friendly company. Ecotourism Australia and EarthCheck both provide two levels of certification in which tour operators can commit to using sustainable practices and high quality tourism experiences. These companies are actively protecting the environment by adhering to safe practices and maintaining the high standard of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). You can see the list of approved operators on the GBRMPA website.


Follow The Responsible Reef Practices

There are some basic rules to follow when in the water, whether you are snorkelling or scuba diving, these few guideline will save not only the reef from harm but also yourself. Here are just a few points to remember while on the reef.

  • Practice good scuba diving – have good buoyancy, be aware of your equipment and move slowly
  • Avoid holding or touching any part of the reef, including corals and animals
  • Observe animals like whales or turtles from a safe distance
  • Enhance the quality of your dive experience by learning about the environment you’ll visit
  • Don’t take anything from the reef including dead coral or shells

See the full list of responsible reef practices at GBRMPA.


Contribute To Citizen Science

As the reef is so large, it is quite a challenge for scientists to collect frequent information across the entire length of the reef, and that is where citizen science (and you!) come in. ‘Eye On The Reef’ is a way for every visitor to contribute towards the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef by recording animals sightings, reef health data and other valuable information. However you are enjoying the reef, you can join in with citizen science by downloading the Eye On The Reef app and start contributing immediately to data collection. You can submit locations of animal sightings, photos of what you have encountered like marine pollution or coral spawning and it can also help you to identify the wildlife you come across.


Fight For The Planet

The biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is climate change caused by humans. And this will only change with action. So start right now to help give the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance of survival. So here are just a few things to do today for a better future.

  • Make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Commit to only taking one long haul flight per year
  • Change your diet to include more local produce and less animal products
  • Have your say at local council meetings and elections
  • Vote with your money by researching companies sustainability pledges.

I hope when you visit, you will take the time to explore the reef with the care it deserves and let it inspire you to help change its future.

All my love x


Getting Certified : PADI Open Water in Cairns

Learning to dive has been number one on my must-do list for a very very long time, for years actually. I had THE BEST time and super happy I waited to do it on the Great Barrier Reef. It was much more enjoyable diving in the warm tropical waters as I get cold easily so the thought of getting into cold water and getting out into a cold climate just wasn’t for me. I had previously done an introductory dive in the UK and I would recommend to do one before diving in and paying for the whole course – diving is not for everyone. This is my experience of the PADI Open Water Course with Pro Dive Cairns and I loved every second of it.

DAY ONE

The day was finally here! I had been waiting for  y e a r s  to get under the ocean and see what I have been missing out on so I practically jumped out of bed that morning. After an intro talk we did some classroom work, watched some videos, went over the theory of diving, safety bits and pieces which was all very interesting and a vital part of diving but I was eager to jump into the water.

The first of two pool training sessions begun after lunch where we all picked up a wetsuit, a BDC (buoyancy control device), a mask, a snorkel and fins. After doing the mandatory swim and float tests, I wriggled into the wetsuit and set up my gear.. and took it apart and set it up and took it apart and set it up.. you get the point. Understanding how to work the gear is the most important part of diving (after breathing of course) so we ran through all the little bits and what goes where and so on until we were each comfortable with our gear. This set up remained with us for the whole trip as it is important to be familiar with how your personal set up works.

It was a long stride into the pool and then we were all breathing and floating and learning that if you laugh water comes into your mask and blinds you and that this is a no laughing sport (joking – its so hard not to laugh and smile!). So we were taught how to clear our mask of water, breathe correctly, control our position in the water, equalise the pressure in our ears etc. The first day was a lot of fun and doing it with friends made it even better.

DAY TWO

The second pool training session started off day two and we went through the skills from the previous day, focusing on our buoyancy control. We practised an out of air situation, emergency ascent methods and breathing with a broken regulator (mouthpiece) which I hope I never have do again – it is quite scary to think about that happening while I’m diving.

We also got to try on lots of different brands and models of fins/masks/snorkels – there are a lot of options out there! Having a mask that fits you correctly is so so important, we were shown how to fit a mask properly and which mask we should get for our face shape. Post-lunch there was time to look around the store and purchase anything we would need for the boat – I ended up buying a mask/snorkel set, fins and boots and I  l o v e  them. They do take up room in my suitcase but I plan on doing a lot more diving so having my own gear makes me a happy diver.

Then came the final classroom session and the final exam. The multiple choice questions were fairly easy and with all the course material you can’t fail. With theory training complete it was time to take to the ocean for our first reef dive!

DAY THREE

I was up super early and ready to get diving, the boat left at 7am and we headed out to our first dive site on the outer reef. The purpose built dive boat had about 20 students and 5 instructors on board and there was still lots of room – everyone is really friendly and making friends is so easy. Three hours, one breakfast and one safety briefing later we were gearing up for the very first dive and let me tell you jumping into that water was incredibly exciting. This dive was fairly short as expected and we stayed knelt down on the sand but as we were all equalising, practising our buoyancy and doing a few skills a small spotted ray swam past – our instructor pointed and we all just stopped to watch it float on by. The second dive was similar to the first but we did get to do some swimming around the reef, adjusting our gear and getting used to moving in this completely new way – zero gravity is fun!

We ended the day with a snorkel around the shallow side of the reef as the sun was setting. There is so much so see from the surface so even if you aren’t a diver then still grab your fins and head out into the ocean – you will be amazed at the creatures you spot. We saw a white tipped reef shark resting on the bottom about 8m below us and we carefully followed a turtle as it gracefully went on its way.

DAY FOUR

Moving to a different location each time allowed us to see so many different types of dive sites from bommies and swim throughs to huge coral walls. Dives three and four allowed us to explore the dive sites more fully and gave us time to look around as they were slightly longer and not as much training was done. By the end of the fourth dive I was feeling so much more confident in the gear, my buoyancy and the way I was moving that I could almost not think about it – almost. We surfaced as certified open water divers and celebrated by filling out our log books, eating lunch and having a quick nap before the next dive. It’s true when they say all you will be doing is eating, sleeping and diving on a liveaboard.

The first dive without the instructors went well and we didn’t get lost or run out of air so I call that a success. We even went through a little swim through which up until that point I did not want to do any cave diving – but I loved it so I will probably do that at some point. I also learnt that navigation underwater is slightly more difficult than on land but we found our way back to the anchor rope without having to surface. 

At this point in the trip we were offered to become further certified to Adventure Diver, so of course I said yes, and so our remaining four dives were also training dives. This involves doing a night dive, a deep dive and two elective dives which were photography and naturalist.

The night dive was a highlight as I was pretty nervous about jumping in after dark and the dive brief did not help with talk about getting eaten by sharks and disappearing forever. With a torch and a glow stick attached to our tank so we could see each other, I hesitantly jumped in and we descended down the rope together. We stuck with the same site from the previous dive so I had a slight understanding of where we were going but it was still quite difficult to navigate – I would have definitely be lost and still out there if the directions were left to me. Surprisingly it was not as scary as it was made out to be and we could see quite a lot with all our torches. There was a significant lack of fish around with only the larger fish in the open water and close to the boat lights on the surface but we did get to see a nudibranch and a huuuge hermit crab. There were no shark sightings unfortunately as it would have been awesome to see one patrolling the reef but it sure was an awesome dive anyway.

DAY FIVE

The earliest dive so far started at 6.30am which was also our deepest dive. After learning about the added risks of deeper diving (narcosis, decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity – sounds scary right?) we descended down a huge sand ​​slope. I got to 27 meters all too soon and I just wanted to keep on going, there was so much more to see. The colours you are able to see also change with depth so my red fins were now a weird brown colour as the red light is filtered out through the water.

Our final two dives were the photography and naturalist training dives and for these we moved a lot slower, looking more closely at the animals and trying to get some photos – it is a lot more difficult than you think trying to get still images when there is nothing holding you in one spot. These last dives were my favourite dives, I felt sure of how I was moving and breathing and felt confident in both my own and my dive buddys abilities. There is for sure a whole lot more to learn and a bunch more courses yet to be taken but I cannot recommend diving highly enough to anyone. It has been the best course I have done in anything, having studied the marine world for a few years it was amazing to be able to see it for myself. And what better place than the reef of all reefs.

A huge thankyou to the team at ProDive Cairns and to my instructor Rafi, they were all amazing.

DIVE STATS

If anyone is a little bit more interested in the specific locations or other info I’ve included a few extra information bits below.

Reef Location 1 – Milin Reef  – Pools, Petaj + The Whale

Reef Location 2 – Flynn Reef – Tennis Court, Gordons, Little Tracey, Coral Gardens + Ski Slopes

Depths reached – 6.5-27.6 meters

Dive length – 22-44 minutes

Water temp – 26°C

Wetsuit – 3mm