To get your tropical living right is not that easy.
You don’t want your island too small or part of an archipelago. Nothing will be produced on the island, you will end up bringing every screw or a box of matches from the mainland or main island which would cost you a fortune in fuel for your speed boat…
Take Bahamas or Barbados which do look picture perfect but you can not have a life there. There is nothing except beaches or some mono-culture (like bananas or sugar cane) cultivation.
No industry, no proper agriculture… Everything needs to be imported and pass the customs guarded by corrupted officials, making living cost very high. And who wants to eat American long-life processed food in their private paradise?
On the other hand if you live on the cost of the mainland like in India or Thailand you need to travel for days or fly between the cities or sights of interest if you fancy a bit of change of scenery.
Geography of Sri Lanka is ideal in many ways. It is not a remote island, it is a proper country with varied climate zones, enormous bio-diversity, big cities of different character, vibrant capital (the number of visitors to Colombo increased in 2014 the most compare to any other city in the world). You get sophisticated restaurants, nightlife, fantastic sport facilities, good quality health care… But the island is small enough to get anywhere within a few hours.
It is easy and pleasant to travel in Sri Lanka.
If I fancy to go somewhere for a weekend or even a day, in a couple of hours I could be in completely different landscape.
Going from South Coast where I live to neighboring Uva province towards Yala National Park I would notice that the air from very moist on the coast will become much drier and instead of lush large-leaved palms I would even see cactuses along the road!
Street vendors will sell different type of produce – jambolas and rambutan, river fish and lots of corn cobs…
Closer to Yala elephants would be casually crossing the road.
If you are into wild life you can see as many species in Sri Lankan nature reserves as in Africa. National parks are not as touristy and well developed as in South Africa and way cheaper. Sri Lanka has long way to go to make their nature into money printing industry as South Africa did.
The same applies to diversity of flora. Huge variety of crops can be produced in Sri Lanka due to various climates in different parts of the county and extremely beneficial conditions – warm and wet climate will allow pretty much anything to grow in abundance.
Sri Lanka produces more than 800,000 metric tons of fruits and vegetables annually and exports both fresh and processed varieties to many destinations in the world. 90 per cent of the fresh product is targeted to the Middle East and the Maldives Island.
So if you are eating some super expensive dinner in one of the Maldives hotels and think that food is delicious, it all probably came from Sri Lanka. This is what my poor and lean new compatriots eat every day. The food we eat here is varied, nutritious and healthy, can not be improved for a million of dollars. (link)
Around Buttala you will see beautiful rocky rivers and waterfalls.
You can stay in one of the charismatic lodges along the river.
I would go for impossibly authentic textures and rustic details instead of comfort and high maintenance… But that’s me…
I would have a dinner of something totally “locally sourced” served in exquisitely under-lit conditions…
In the morning I would do a long yoga session in this hot savanna-like environment on a terrace of a cabana without walls but with private natural lily pond behind the bed.
or meditate in the tree-house at done…
then have a waterfall shower (coming from the half of a coconut trunk) of “cool water”, as they say in Sri Lanka. This means that the water is not heated, but you would not call it “cold water” either as the temperature outside is always high enough to make water just ever so slightly cool.
And now I am heading further inland.