We found Unawatuna Diving Center through google and decided to follow the PADI Advanced Open Water in Sri Lanka. We are very happy with our choice, so happy that we even booked 4 extra dives, for a total of 14 dives!
The diving center has a partnership with Rockside Cabanas Hotel. They offer an extra early breakfast for divers and a tuk tuk service to and from the diving center.
Upon entering the diving center you are welcomed by the staff. It can be quite busy in the morning with divers checking their gear, testing their tanks and filling out the various forms.
We were introduced to our instructor Maxime and were briefed on how the course dives would be filled in. We felt very comfortable and confident with his teaching skills. We are PADI Enriched Air certified and when testing our Nitrox blend we were accompanied by the master blender himself. He's very friendly and mixes a near 32% oxygen blend.
We didn't rent any gear except for fins, but the gear that was rented out looked to be in great condition. There is ample space to rinse, hang and store diving gear.
The pre dive briefings were excellent. They have illustrations of the dive sites on a huge flat screen, showing you everything from the reef formation down to the coral growing on the wrecks.
We dove almost all of the sites and having visited the Rangoon wreck three times, each and every time the site was different. Visibility and currents have a major influence on the way to dive many sites. We even ended up doing a drift dive on one site due to the strong currents. If you have sea sickness, even a mild form, I highly recommend you take sea sickness medicine. The boat rides aren't that bad, but the rocking motion waiting to gear up was rough. You do have the option of gearing up in the water!
The boats are well maintained and the captains are all very helpful. The boats have a unique way of getting back to the beach though, the captain will slow down and aks all passengers to "hold the boat" and then he will drive the boat into the beach! It's a fun expierence!
All in all we had a wonderful time diving with Unawatuna Diving Center, the staff is great, the facility is clean and well run. We would definitely dive here again.
We were made to feel very welcome at the dive centre -
The guides after one dive tuned into our experience and type of diving and recommended sites for you but always leaving the choice to us with in safety limits. We dived as a group of three so nice to just us , this was apprecticated
The centre is well run we took our own equipment , it was securely over night and dry and out for us the next day .
Most of our diving was with Tharzan he’s an excellent guide allowed us to go at our own pace and pointed our sea life which he knew we were interested in - I saw so many new species of nudebranches and even point one out to Tharzan hadn’t seen before.
The guides also took trash bags so we also helped clean the sites and ocean as well.
Very good experience - would recommend Rockside Cabanas Hotel too same attention to detail and staff were friendly and attentive without being intrusive . We had an amazing time . Need to book well in advance to get a Cabana . Thank you for an amazing time
Did a total of 10 dives with these guys, including our PADI deep dive certification and wreck diving cert. Great experience and great team members. We had most of our own equipment, but what we needed to borrow was really in top condition. The staff was very and I do mean very accommodating with my daily bouts of sea sickness. They even managed to make me laugh while I was completely green :) Maxim was a wonderful instructor, and diving really was just fun. I would book the courses again and again. I thought the shipwrecks that we drove were quite impressive, but then again they were the first ones that I have ever done.
We lucked out on weather and visibility for 9 of 10 dives.
However, considering the owners were at the shop every day and we were there 5 days in a row, a simple "hello" or "thank you for choosing us" would not have been too much to expect.
The rest of the staff really is laid back and fun to be around. I would choose to dive with these guys again.
I think the costs are pretty average for Unawatuna, and as dorky as it sounds, I really did want to go with a safe company- and these guys have that locked down tight.
I think the dive centre is run by the two germans. From the first one, I wanted to know a little bit more about the dive sites and what to expect but he wasn't really in a mood for talking.
As it was quite spontanious decision to go diving and my girlfriend was in the hotel I wanted to let her know that I'm going to dive and when i will return. BUT the second german( I assume the both leading the dive centre) wouldn't give me the password for the WIFI. I told him that I didn't want to check facebook, read newspaper or anything similar just text my girlfriend. But he didn't give me the password.
If I wouldn't have done already the paperwork for the dives, I would have left the dive center. Fortuantley the resteraunt next door ( I think the name is summer garden) was so nice to let me quickly text to my girlfriend. Maybe the to german guys could adapte to the friendliness of the sri lankans.
Equipement quality was good, one girl had way to less air and they didnt't have an extra tank carried on the boat. so we had to switch tanks and the divemaster took one with less air. tarush the divemaster was good and friendly,
I have an Padi open water but the dive sites werent really exciting. more or less no corals not to many small or big fish. So what i have seen, I wouldnt really reccomend diving in unawatuna, but thats not the fault of the diving center.
I came to Sri Lanka on a family holiday just after qualifying as an open water diver back in the UK. I was very nervous, so opted for the ‘private coaching’ which is simply where you go out by yourself with a dive master. When booking the day before I asked specifically for a female dive master and was introduced to the wonderful Ashel. She was very kind & understanding and made me feel instantly at ease!
I opted for a two tank boat dive ~ first dive went brilliantly to plan, we saw puffer fish, parrot fish and angel fish to name just a few. Back on the boat I got very motion sick, so we returned to the shore and I was allowed to do my second dive the following day, no problem!!
Second dive was even better ~ we went to a different site and saw loads of parrot fish, lobsters, shrimp and even lion fish. The parrots came very close to us!
This place is great with quality equipment and staff who are understanding.
Just remember: you aren’t diving in the Red Sea. Visibility won’t always be fantastic, but it’s a great experience all the same.