Sri Lanka is a tropical island, and very little epitomises the magic of the tropics like a majestic waterfall! The Diyaluma Falls are the second tallest waterfall in the country, and visiting it is truly an experience of a lifetime. Its name translates to “rapid flow of water”, which is very appropriate and it is the 361st highest waterfall in the world! The Diyaluma falls are home to epic views and some of the best natural infinity pools in the world, and a quick google search will reveal photos that look too good to be true, (spoiler, it is true)!
The Falls are located roughly one hour away from Ella, making it a perfect day trip if you are staying in the mountain town. We are here to guide you through the best, safest and most enjoyable ways to enjoy this natural wonder.
You can take a tuk tuk from Ella to Poonagala through quintessentially lush Sri Lankan tea plantations, note that this might take over an hour as this is not the fastest mode of transportation, but it is scenic! Then it’s a 30 minute tramp downhill between long, dry grasses before the first glimpse of the upper falls comes into view. A short hike further and you’re standing on what seems like the edge of the world, watching the cascading water drop 220m to the valley below. You can view the waterfalls from a bridge at the bottom, but if you are able to, hiking to the top is well worth the time and energy.
Let’s briefly discuss what you should bring on a trip to the waterfalls. Water, and plenty of it is key! After you leave the parking area at the top of the falls you won’t find any stalls selling food or drink, so you’ll need to bring your own. The same goes for snacks, so bring some with you so you don’t have to leave the natural playground behind because of hunger! The Sri Lankan heat, and humidity, should not be underestimated – take more water than you think you need! With the temperature in mind, also remember to bring sunscreen.
As Sri Lanka is located so close to the equator the sun is strong, so you should always protect yourself. You should also bring comfortable shoes, and ones which you don’t mind getting wet. If you do have water shoes they are ideal for jumping in and out of the falls, but not strictly necessary. A good pair of comfortable shoes will be adequate, but less comfortable to walk around in damp shoes, of course! If you have a fast drying towel with you that could come in handy, but in the tropical weather you will dry off naturally quite quickly!
It should be noted that when in the year you visit the falls can make a big difference to experience. For example if you visit during the wet season (September to early December), the water levels are significantly higher so swimming in the lower Diyaluma Falls is not advisable. Of course, the waterfall is fuller so it is really a breathtaking sight even if the stronger currents don’t allow you to dip.
During the summer months when the water levels have dropped, you can safely enjoy a refreshing swim at the various natural pools, including right on the edge of the main waterfall. It’s basically the best infinity pool in the world, and definitely worth a chilly dip. A lot of the Instagram photos you may have seen are probably taken here – but please be careful as they are not safety rails!
There are a number of larger, safer pools at the upper Diyaluma falls, but never dive into a pool, no matter how inviting, without first checking if it’s safe and deep enough!
So what else is there to do, apart from swimming in the natural pools? You can also chill on the surrounding rocks, and wash the 220m of water thunder down next to you. Bringing a packed lunch and enjoying it with a view is something you’ll never forget! If possible, try not to sit in the sun for too many hours as heat stroke is always possible. Something else you can do is to have a chat with the local people you meet. Part of the joy of travelling is learning about other cultures, and we can guarantee that they will probably be interested in you as well. It’s important to embrace these travel moments, and chatting with locals is a great way to learn more about the local culture.
It is also worth mentioning that you can hire a local guide to show you the hike, and while not strictly necessary as it can be done on your own, it is a way to support the local economy. The guides can also ensure that you know where it is safe to swim, and keep an eye on conditions you may not be used to.
Often, visiting places we have seen hundreds of photographs of can be disappointing in reality. We are quite confident that this won’t be the case when visiting the Diyaluma Falls, it does live up to the hype – and swimming in natural pools, surrounded by lush tropical paradise will truly take your breath away.