Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and verdant rainforests, gardens and mountains. There are three reasons why you should visit this fascinating country. One, its culture and history are so deep and rich that people from all over the world find it difficult to resist visiting its ancient temples, palaces and modern museums, and experiencing its arts, people and local dishes. Two, as an island located in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, it is home to some of the best beaches in the world, colorful reefs and thrilling waves. And three, visit Sri Lanka to see beautiful Kalpitiya.
This is a small town about 150 kilometers north of the capital city of Colombo; just a strip of land beautifully cocooned in the middle of a beach and lagoon. Although tiny, Kalpitiya has a rich and long colonial history, still punctuated today by the Dutch Fort and a number of European churches. There are three important reasons why you should visit this area.
First, come to this place if you want to see and make friends with the ever-smiling dolphins, perhaps the smartest and most sociable marine mammal in the world. For some reason, these chirping marine animals love the waters off the shore and they are not in any way shy of people. They come in hundreds and even thousands, to the delight of local and foreign tourists. There are also a few sightings of blue whales and sperm whales, although these larger cetaceans are better seen at the other side of the country, off Dondra Point in southern Sri Lanka. There are 26 species of cetaceans often seen and observed in both the waters of Kalpitiya and Dondra. Whale and dolphin watching is a leading tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and it is sanctioned by the International Dolphin Watch and International Whaling Commission.
Second, make this place your take-off point as you go island hopping to the nearby Karaitviu Island. This scenic island is home to the mystical dugong, a large marine mammal that when seen in action underwater resembles a half-human-half-fish creature. The dugong, as well as its distant relatives, the manatee and sea cow, sparked the legends of the mermaids. The dugong is an endangered species and to see them in the wild is truly a unique experience. The island of Karaitviu may only be accessed by fishermen’s boats from Kalpitiya. As you visit the island, you will eventually be immersed in the adventurous lives of local Sri Lankan fishermen. As part of your island hopping tour, you may ask the fisherman to take you to the Bar Reef, Sri Lanka’s largest coral reef. Located about an hour away from Kalpitiya, Bar Reef is teeming with marine life such as manta rays, reef sharks, tiny fishes, and rare tropical turtles. It is a perfect site for snorkeling windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking.
Finally, visit Kalpitiya for its friendly townsfolk. The Western side of Kalpitiya is untouched by tourism, which means you get to see and experience authentic rural lifestyle and untainted hospitality of the local people. You can watch them as they fish in the night and buy directly from them as they return with their fresh catch in the morning. It promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in this beautiful island-nation in the Indian Ocean.