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16-03-2023

Hidden Gems

Trip to see the Spice Plantation on Cinnamon Island in Sri Lanka Near Unawatuna


If you say 'beach holiday' to me, then the first place that flashes across my consciousness is Sri Lanka. The island nation of Ceylon is famous for its pristine beaches and relaxed inclusive vibe. But there is another side to this island country and that is it's amazing network of inland backwaters and lakes. So while visiting the world famous beach town of Unawatuna, we were suggested a trip to the Cinnamon island by the caretaker of the beach villa we had rented out for our family trip.
Cinnamon Island is a hidden gem of Sri Lanka. This small island is renowned for its cinnamon plantations and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich history and culture of Sri Lanka.
We started my journey by taking a scenic taxi ride and then a short boat ride to Cinnamon Island, which is situated in the Madu Ganga River. As I approached the island, I could see lush greenery and a calm river that surrounds the island.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by friendly locals who gave me a warm welcome and explained the history of the island. They explained that the island has been a cinnamon plantation for centuries and that they still follow traditional methods to harvest cinnamon. I was amazed to learn that every single step of the cinnamon production process is done by hand, from peeling the bark to drying the cinnamon sticks.Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon or Sri Lankan cinnamon, is famous for its distinct aroma, delicate flavor, and health benefits. It is obtained from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree, which is native to Sri Lanka.There are several reasons why Ceylon cinnamon is considered to be superior to other types of cinnamon, even the cinnamon available in the coastal state of Kerala in India. Ceylon cinnamon has a sweet, warm, and delicate flavor with a subtle citrus note. It is less pungent and has a more refined taste compared to cassia cinnamon, which is the most commonly used variety of cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon also has a lighter color and a softer texture.Ceylon cinnamon has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant properties. It is also known to improve heart health, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Our whole family was then taken on a guided tour of the cinnamon plantation, where I saw how cinnamon trees were grown and how the bark was harvested. The guide also explained how the cinnamon sticks were graded based on their size, thickness, and quality. The entire process was fascinating, and I was amazed at the dedication and hard work put into producing high-quality cinnamon. One thing i found particularly intriguing was the man who was rolling the spice and pounding it into a powder. He was a local with almost no knowledge of English, but he managed to give us an insight into the whole process. I was also very fascinated with the slight ghost of an 'almost 6 pack abs' that almost 70 year old man still sported. All that pounding of the spice was undoubtedly intense exercise too.  
After the tour, I was invited to enjoy a cup of cinnamon tea, which was prepared using fresh cinnamon bark. The tea had a unique flavor that was unlike anything I had tasted before. I also got a chance to sample other cinnamon products, including cinnamon oil, cinnamon powder, and cinnamon toothpicks. 
As the day came to an end, I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful and unique place. Cinnamon Island was a perfect blend of nature, history, and culture. The people were friendly, and the experience was unforgettable.
We finally bought some cinnamon bark, powder and some oil to take home as a souvenir, but a small tip here for those who will visit the place. Carry cash in local currency as the locals on the island won't be able to give you options of electronic transactions.
If you wish to know more then click on the link below for the video I shot of the island

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