There is no doubt that Sri Lanka is an amazing holiday destination; the island has exciting outdoor activities, an intriguing history, beautiful scenery, delicious food, and exotic wildlife- including the world’s two largest mammals! When you visit this paradise island make sure you go whale watching, this article will tell you everything you need to know before embarking on your ocean safari.
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. What sets Sri Lanka apart from other countries is that you can spot these gentle giants on almost every coast. Also, since the country is not too large it’s fairly easy to travel, so no matter where you are on the island you’re never too far from a whale watching opportunity!
- West Coast – Kalpitiya
- South Coast – Mirissa
- ast Coast – Trincomalee
Kalpitiya tends to get overlooked when choosing where to go whale watching in Sri Lanka, however, this small town is a hidden gem! Kalpitiya is an excellent whale watching location and it’s made even better by being the island’s #1 location for surfing and home to Sri Lanka’s largest offshore reef!
Whale watching in Mirissa is definitely the town’s most popular activity- second only to surfing! This idyllic seaside town has many tour operators that offer this service, and when you go during the season you are almost guaranteed to see a whale or two.
Found on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee’s seas are almost as calm as a pool during the peak season. The town is not only a great place to see whales but it also has a rich historical and cultural background. While you’re there make it a point to visit the ancient Koneswaram temple.
Another great thing about the island is that it doesn’t have the traditional four seasons, instead, Sri Lanka is blessed with eternal summer. With that said it does experience a monsoon season, however, the monsoon rains alternate between the coasts; for instance when the south coast is facing a torrential downpour, the north-east coast is revelling in the warm sunshine. Due to this alternative monsoon cycle, you’ll always be able to see the whales. Here are the seasons for each coast:
- Kalpitiya – November to March/April
- Mirissa – December to April
- Trincomalee – March/April to August/September
Whales are definitely the main attraction, especially blue whales. The blue whale season in Sri Lanka depends on the water temperature which in turn affects the migration patterns. During the latter half of the year (Nove – March) these creatures move southwards to the calm waters of Mirrisa, and when the monsoon rains come they move to the east coast.
Apart from blue, the warm waters attract a variety of other marine animals and whale species. Here are a few you may encounter:
- Blue whales
- Humpback whales
- Sperm whales
- Bryde’s whales
- Orcas and Whale sharks are also seen but not as frequently
- Green and leatherback turtles
- Spinner and Risso dolphins
Your tour operator will provide you with essential items like lifejackets and bottles of drinking water. However, there are a few things you can bring with you:
- Motion sickness medicine
Each region has its own fair share of whale watching tour operators so you can visit their websites and buy tickets online. Another option is to ask the hotel you’re staying at to organise the tickets for you.
- Kalpitiya – Jetwing Sea
- Mirissa – Jetwing Lighthouse or Jetwing Kurulubedda
- Trincomalee – Jetwing Vil Uyana
Found on the golden beaches of Negombo, Jetwing Sea is a great place for you to stay to catch the Kalpitiya whale watching season. The hotel is a stone’s throw away from the international airport, so you can spend a night here before starting your Sri Lankan adventure.
These two stunning hotels are situated in Galle and only an hour’s drive away from Mirissa. Jetwing Lighthouse is perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the azure ocean, while Jetwing Kurulubedda, found further inland, is shrouded by lush green trees and is showered with birdsong.
Jetwing Vil Uyana is placed in the heart of the cultural triangle, beneath the shadow of the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This beautiful wellness retreat is one hour away from Trincomalee and gives you the chance to experience Sri Lanka’s rich history and its stunning wildlife all at once!
Whale watching is undoubtedly a must-do activity when you’re in Sri Lanka. For more information on whale watching tours or tickets contact the hotels mentioned above.