At 220m tall, Diyaluma Falls in Sri Lanka, is the second-tallest waterfall in the country and a stunning spectacle of nature. When I first saw photos of this waterfall on Instagram I knew I had to visit this spot while I was in Sri Lanka.
The winding Punagala Oya stream strings together a series of gorgeous natural pools, before pouring over a sheer cliff face and dropping into the abyss.
The waterfall, locally known as Uda Diyaluma, is located around 40km south of Ella, making it the perfect day trip if you’re staying in this small mountainside town. We recently did just that, and I’m here to help you do the same.
The enormous rocky facade is peppered with lush, green vegetation, thriving in the mist of the falls.
Up top, the ceaseless flow of water has carved intricate channels and pools into the rock, weaving through the verdant mountain terrain.
These pools are amongst the best in the world for a scenic swim, with views that will take your breath away. If you’re planning a visit to Diyaluma Falls, here is a guide on how to soak up everything this beautiful spot has to offer.
I’ve included everything you need to know including the logistics of how to get there, prices, what to bring, what to expect and more. So come discover this stunning Sri Lankan waterfall with me!
Getting to Diyaluma Waterfall
We started our journey in the laid-back town of Ella, by chartering a Sri Lankan private car and driver to take us to the falls. You can arrange a chartered vehicle directly with the drivers in the streets.
Just be sure to negotiate a fair price – we paid 7,000 LKR for a car and driver to take us to Diyaluma Falls from Ella, and stop also at Ravana Falls on the way back.
Most private cars in the area tend to be pretty spacious, with enough room for several people. So if you’re travelling in a larger group, you can easily split the cost of the journey. By car, the journey takes a little longer than an hour.
Your driver will ask whether you want to go to the bottom of the falls and hike up, or head straight to the upper Diyaluma Falls and skip the trek. The Diyaluma Falls hike, from the bottom to the top, takes around two hours.
While I’m sure it’s beautiful and incredibly rewarding, we didn’t have much time that day so we opted to drive straight up to the top.
From there, you still get a bit of a walk, but it’s much shorter and more easy-going, leading downhill all the way to the falls.
At the parking area where we got dropped off, we found some locals who offered to be our guides. We chose to take them up on the offer and paid one of them 2,000 LKR to shepherd us on our journey.
While it’s not entirely necessary to have a guide, the falls can be tricky to find without one. Having a local with us made the whole adventure a hassle-free experience.
The 20-minute walking trail cuts through tall grass on sloping hills, weaving between tilted trees. Vistas extend out across the valley and the rushing sound of the falls grows ever-louder as you wander toward them.
It’s an incredibly scenic stroll and a real anticipation-builder. If you don’t want to risk not being able to find a driver and guide on the day you can also book a tour online beforehand, and be sure to have everything confirmed before you go.
Making the most of your trip to Diyaluma Falls
When you arrive, head straight for the main waterfall, where the river drops off the cliff. Here, you’ll find the main pools – a series of three natural infinity pools perched precariously on the edge of the enormous drop.
Needless to say, taking a dip here is amazing.
Up above one of the highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, you feel like you’re swimming at the edge of the Earth. The whole experience is a rare blend of thrilling and tranquil. One that few other destinations can offer.
I was afraid that Diyaluma Falls would be one of those Instagram vs Reality moments, where you drive and hike for hours to a beautiful photo spot that has nothing else to offer. I was very happy to find that that wasn’t the case.
After soaking up the main-pool magic and incredible cliff-side views, we trecked up-river to the upper Diyaluma Falls. Here, you’ll find a series of larger pools and smaller waterfalls. A perfect spot for some rock-pool-chilling.
If you’re an adventure seeker, you can brave the jump from the rocks into one of the pools. It’s about a 7-meter drop and a great little adrenaline rush.
There’s even a smooth, sloping section of rock that you can slide down into a pool. The area is pretty much a natural waterpark!
We brought some snacks with us and ended up spending the vast majority of the day in Diyaluma Falls.
We spent about 3-4 hours hiking up and down alongside the Punagola Oya river, swimming in some of the pools, diving in others and sliding down the natural rock slides.
When you’ve had your fill of rock pools, slides, jumps, and waterfalls, make your way back up the hill to meet your driver.
We asked our driver to make a stop at Ravana Falls on the way back to town and arranged to have it included in the price. Ravana Falls is a three-tier cascading waterfall running through a lush valley just 6km outside of Ella.
Ravana Falls are a popular attraction amongst visitors. And while it may not be as striking as Diyaluma, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It’s also one of the widest waterfalls in the country.
At the bottom of the falls, just a moment’s walk from the road, there are some lovely natural pools where you can swim and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. You won’t need long here, but it’s a really worthwhile stop if you have the time.
What to bring to Diyaluma Falls
You won’t need to bring much with you on this waterfall adventure, but I wanted to incldue some essentials to bring with you to explore Diyaluma Falls:
Plenty of water! The Sri Lankan heat is relentless and you won’t find food shacks once you leave the parking area at the top of Diyaluma Falls, so make sure to have plenty of water and some snacks with you. You can store in an insulated steel water bottle to keep it cool.
Sunscreen – Like above, the Sri Lankan sun is pretty strong, make sure to protect yourself!
Comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting wet or water shoes – if you want to jump and swim in and out of the falls, chances are you will be getting your shoes wet. Make sure you have comfortable shoes to walk in, or even better, water shoes that you can use when you climb out of the pools.
Fast drying towel – After swimming in and out of the waterfalls all day you will probably need something to dry yourself with. I like microfiber towels because they’re light, they dry quickly and don’t take up much space in your bag.
Where to stay in Ella to visit Diyaluma Falls
If you are travelling on a budget the best place to stay in Ella is Hangover Hostels, conveniently located within a few minutes from the Ella railway station and town centre.
We stayed here and loved it so much we ended up changing our later travel plans to stay in another Hangover Hostel in Mirissa. It’s a very sociable hostel and you’re guaranteed to meet new friends.
For a more medium-tiered budget why not try Mountain Heavens? Besides an epic pool with view they have comfy rooms and good food.
If you want a luxurious experience you can stay at The One Ella, just outside the city centre it offers a secluded forest experience and excellent service.
Final thoughts on the perfect day trip to Diyaluma Falls
If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to add Diyaluma Falls to your itinerary. A visit to these falls is a one-of-kind adventure that will leave you breathless.
The experience pairs epic rock pool adventures with one of the best waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
Besides Diyaluma Falls, Ella offers all sorts of fun experiences liking sunrise hikes at Little Adams Peak, the famous Nine Arch Bridge, the challenging Ella Rock hike and a super scenic train ride getting from Kandy to Ella.
I tried to include everything you might need to know to make the most of your time in Diyaluma Falls, I hope you find this guide useful in planning your time there!
Get ready for cliff-side thrills, sun-soaked swimming, and stunning mountain vistas as far as the eye can see.
Looking for more Sri Lanka travel tips? Check out these guides:
- Plan your elephant safari in Sri Lanka
- Hiking Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya – everything you need to know
- Discover the famous Dalawella Beach rope swing
- 10 awesome things to do in Mirissa