In my experience most Sri Lankans tell fair prices for their services/goods and are just trying to earn enough money to take home to their family. Of course someone will try to take $10 from you instead of $1 if they have the chance. It will feed their children for a few days. If you are worried about people stealing cigarettes, buy a cheap pack of local ones and to give around freely. You'll lose $5 but make a bunch of new friends! If you are foolish and don't look around a bit before you go shopping, then it's your own fault if you get ripped off. Be a smarter tourist if you are worried about your money.
Mambos is awesome for a party. I went there earlier this year and have been there before. It's not a place to sleep, but who cares when you can party on the beach with new friends 24/7?! Good food at a good price, ok rooms, expensive drinks but good vibe.
Lets not get too romantic though...Contrary to what bluepool has described, the Mambos boys are not a bunch of fun-loving dudes. They can be very scary, aggressive and teritorial about girls, waves and the success of other hotels on the beach. Most have wives and silly girlfriends abroad, but still go after new girls for fun (and perhaps the potential for foreign currency to be sent their way in the off season). The incident reported by bigfunbigtime is not the only incident I have heard of that has occurred. Girls, be wary, the boys there are NOT single. Boys, be wary you don't try to pick up one of 'their' girls.
Go to Mambos for an awesome party, great chill out in the afternoons and decent food. BUT keep a friendly distance from the staff, if not, you will be fooled.
When I first read about these territorial beach boys at mambos, I figured it was just a few disgruntled guys that they didn't get to score with a girl. But all of these negative reviews about the beach boys at Mambo's are 100 percent true. These Mambo's boys are total tools, and they are extremely territorial about girls and waves (mostly girls!).
I booked a room at Mambo's because it was known as a party spot and as a girl traveling solo, I wanted to make friends when I arrived. I was traveling so that I could hook up with anyone, and especially not locals. I was just there to surf and make friends. I never once gave a remote glance or interest at a Mambo's boy. But these guys decided that they would cock-block any other tourist guy I tried to befriend.
When I was hanging out at the Mambo's Saturday nite beach party, I had just arrived and was looking to meet other travelers and get to know Hikkaduwa. I met several interesting male tourists and was just enjoying casual conversation. One by one, they were ALL threatened by a Mambo's boy and told to leave! It was a pattern, I would talk to a tourist guy for 10 minutes and then he'd tell me he was sorry but the Mambo's guys were making trouble and he had to leave! This happened three times in an hour!
By chance, I actually met and was able to talk with another solo tourist, a guy from Australia, later in the night. Maybe the Mambo's boys had their eyes on other girls at that point so they left us alone. I made plans to hang out with the Aussie the next day, and he was going to meet me at Mambo's where I was staying so we could go to dinner. When he got to Mambo's he was told he was not allowed up to see me! We got around this glitch and hung out that day together with other tourists just staying away from Mambos. The next day the Mambo's boys paddled out to him in the line up and told him to stay away from all girls at Mambo's and to pretty much get out of the water and leave Hikkaduwa! These Mambo's boys are a gang and they have a reputation of even stabbing tourists who don't oblige!
Needless to say, I checked out of Mambo's that day and never returned. It's my right to talk to whoever I want on MY vacation and I'm not going to let these guys control me, especially when I am the customer and I and paying them!
THERE ARE WAY BETTER PLACES THAN MAMBO'S IN HIKKADUWA. Places with friendly locals.
As for the surf, Mambo's isn't even in front of the main reef break. And there are at least five other places you can rent boards.
As for the party scene in Hikkaduwa, there are WAY better parties and clubs than Mambo's on a Saturday nite. Try Blue Moon on Tuesdays or Funky de Bar on Thursdays. Way better and way less Machismo!
Rusta Boys are guys who do nothing the whole day, they are just dependant on what they can get from tourists ( i.e. what is known as Gangsters or Losers)
you will find these guys mostly on the beach.. trying to be nice to you or scare you... but they all have one target.. to get your money...
you just have to simply ignore them.. do not start a conversation because it will not end unless you give some of your money
There are Violent locals in Hikkaduwa, These people live and work in a guesthouse/bar calles 'MAMBO'S' or 'A FRAME SURF SHOP'. The man who owns the place is called MAMBO, he has a surf team of locals, they will ATTACK you if you flirt and meet women (other tourists wanting a good time) who are drinking in the MAMBO bar. They believe that you are stealing women from them. Women need to take extra care as they only want to get into your pants, they are always in a group so beware.
I was attacked for having a good time (like anyone else on holiday), just because i wanted to chat and have fun with women. They even threatened to kill me, so take care and try not getting too friendly with them as they always ask where you are staying etc. then they know where to get you.
These guys will have the fillings from your teeth. They are con men and shoud be avoided at all costs, by simply saying no. Sometimes this needs back up of saying it several times, but avoid them. They are constantly talking about the tsunami and how it has financially crippled them, but this is not the case, a lot of people from nations who they are trying to rip off helped them, they just want more. Dont ask the beach restaurant owners to help you, they wont tell them to go away and are just as bad. Buddes Beach Bar (added 1000rps to our bill) and Blue Note hotel (Waiter asked for operation money) are prime examples of this, with even the waiters doing the same. If you want a massage, souveniers or anything they sell, go to the shops or centres and buy there.
Along the main road they also walk as well. For example, we paid 1600rps for some Aloe Vera Oil, then 2 days later saw the exact bottle in the super market for 150rps.
You will hear stories of needing rupees for operations for their mother or children, health care is free; 1% of cases need private referrals. You will be invited for lunch at their houses, this is a trap, the kids will be coughing and looking ill and you will end up paying more than a restaurant for your meal.
Simple solution is dont start a conversation. They ask where you are from, what work you do and where you are staying. Not to be friendly, just weigh up your financial situation. Tell them you are unemployed and from Russia is some advice given to us. Once contact is made they will not leave you alone, i had 5 of them sitting on my lounger at one stage.
Keep cigarettes hidden, they just help themselves.
I have just returned from a fantastic 10days being looked after by Mambo and the boys from A frame surf shop. They were well natured boys with a passion for surfing who are all creating a supportive environment for Sri Lankan Tourism.
Out of all the places i have surfed i found here to be the least territoral and the local boys were nothing but friendly. They understand well that tourism is important. One young budding surfer even said to me "you take this wave, i live here i have them all the time, its your holiday."
It is important to respect the locals at any break, specifically by respecting the rules of the water. most importantly...DO NOT DROP IN!! The surf god's made plenty of waves for everyone, so if your going to go out to surf, make sure you are well aware of surfing ediquite. If you arent you can expect to cop an earful from a local or other tourists in the water... this is not 'aggression' but a firm warning from others that you're not respecting the rules and you may be putting others in danger.
surfing is a high risk sport and having someone in the water who doesn't obey the rules is like having an unlicenced driver on the road. expect the same response.
Mambo himself is doing wonders for local tourism. He has a entrepreneurial mindset and a deep set passion for his home turf; paving the way for Sri Lankan surf. Additionally, he lends support to a bunch of young local boys who want to surf, by helping them out with a place to stay and food in return for help around his place. He is like the father of one big A Frame Family.
Its true that the boys do know how to have a good time and put on a good party, they also know how to treat western women. And all the women i met enjoyed spending time at Mambos place. Many of Mambos boys have western wives or girlfriends so ladies, you can feel safe going here and knowing you wont be harassed or made to feel uncomfortable. Gentlemen is all you'll find.
It is sad that one person wanting to vent from a personal incident between girl feels cause enough to bad mouth a Local Surfing Legend. Take any advice you read with a grain of salt especially if it appears to be emotionally fueled (or about a fight over a girl!!), or you could find yourself missing out on a great experience with some fantastic locals.
Cheers to Mambo and the boys and the future of Sri Lankan surf!
keep your hearts and minds open
take advice, but most of all seek for yourselves
Eventhough the sun does not look very strong... IT IS VERY STRONG... if you know that you can get burnt , make sure you use a sunblock cream..