Located 5 hours up north from the commercial capital of Colombo, Kalpitiya is a remote fishing hamlet that is relatively untouched by mass tourism and serves to be one of the foremost destinations in the country to partake in water sports. Boasting of the largest natural coral reef of the island, along with 14 islands that are untouched by any significant man-made structure, enthrall in the rustic splendour of the abundant marine wildlife that takes refuge in the reefs and sit back, relax and enjoy the views of the serene Indian Ocean.

Top Reason to Visit

Bordered by the Indian Ocean and the Puttalam Lagoon, comprising of many islands and beaches that rack up some strong winds, the top reason to visit Kalpitiya is for its location, that is prime for the adventure seeker, looking to partake in some serious water sports, along with some amazing sight seeing of what lies beneath the turquoise waters of the area. Try your hand at some invigorating forms of surfing and awe at the very site of the largest mammal, while partaking in some dolphin and whale watching.

While You’re There

The great ‘Bar Reef’:

The fishing hamlet of Kalpitiya is famed for being the closest town that can access the largest reef in Sri Lanka, the ‘Bar Reef’. Moreover, the reef also proves to be one of the more unique places that is rich in marine bio diversity, boasting of a variety of tropical fish species, including some rare Manta Rays, Reef Sharks and the occasional Sea Turtle. Boat trips to the reef’s diving and snorkeling points run rampant during the months from November to April and it would be quite a pity if you miss out on such an amazing opportunity.

The thrill of adventure:

One of the many recent attractions that have sprung up in many travel itineraries is the water sports that can be done on the Kalpitiya islands and beaches. Due to being wedged in between the Puttalam Lagoon and the Indian Ocean, Kalpitiya experiences strong winds that can be felt by many. Many adventure seekers have taken advantage of the winds that are significant in the months from May to October and engage in some daring water sports, such as kite surfing, wind surfing, kayaking, stand up paddling and skate boarding to name a few. Looking to light up that adventure spark in you? Then Kalpitiya should certainly be right up there on your adventure to do list.

Witness the largest mammal in the world:

The months from December to mid-April is when the coastal area of Kalpitiya becomes a temporary haven for schools of dolphins and many species of whales that migrate from distant waters. Partake in an excursion to the deep blue and witness these interesting species frolic and mingle about with each other. If luck is on your side, you might be able to catch the mighty Blue Whale flap its dorsal fin high up in the air and make a big splash.

The beginnings of sustainability:

Similar to the adventure seekers, many sustainable developers have also taken advantage of the ferocious winds. The Alankuda Beach is where you can see the endeavours of sustainable development with the many windmills that stretch almost across the entire beach. This is just one of the many steps that have been taken by the government and the developers to promote Kalpitiya as a sustainable tourism hub. It is not only a haven to relax and partake in water sports, but also a place for reducing Sri Lanka’s carbon footprint.

Sunsets not to be missed:

Strolling along the beaches during the evening is a treat, as it provides an unhindered view of the bright star slowly setting across the horizon. It certainly gives a much more rustic and special feel knowing that you are surrounded by traditional fisher folk that inhabit the islands, along with the golden sandy beaches.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about in Kalpitiya is relatively easy, although it is a rural place. There are a number of tuk-tuks and busses that go about, however, make sure you research beforehand on the distance of your destination since the tuk-tuks can overcharge.

Weather: Kalpitiya experiences hot and humid weather throughout the year with temperatures averaging around 29°C - 30°C. However, the months from May to September prove to be, somewhat, stable with temperatures dropping to around 27°C.

Money: Due to the remoteness of the place, credit and debit cards are worthless, so it is important that you carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, LKR 50s and LKR 100s.

Clothing: Beach wear or whatever is comfortable for you is perfectly alright on the Kalpitiya beaches. Make sure though that you wear light / casual clothing when travelling around the town areas, since it can get really hot and humid, even during the season.

Safety: Kalpitiya mainly comprises of fisher folk that are very accommodating to outsiders, however, do be mindful of your belongings.

Meals and refreshments: Almost everyone eats at their resort due to the very few eateries established in the area. The kitesurfing camps too provide meals and refreshments for the traveller.

Looking to do something out of the norm in the Paradise Island of Sri Lanka? Well Kalpitiya certainly fits the bill in every aspect, with its beaches thriving with water sport activity and marine life, along with being a relatively untouched destination by mass tourism.

Title image by: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
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