Sri Lanka activities and attractions | River Cruising

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River Cruising

Sri Lanka is an island with many rivers, lagoons and old canals that meander past a myriad of landscapes before gently flowing out to the Indian Ocean. Cruise by remote rural villages, pristine white Buddhist temples, centuries old churches, lush green paddy fields, and mangrove marshes rich in birdlife.


South West: Bentota is blessed by the lazy waters of the Bentota River lined with mangrove marshes and ideal for watersports and river cruises.  Take a boat ride along the tranquil Madu River in Balapitiya past quaint rural villages and en route, visit the local markets, temples & craft and antique shops.  Kalu Ganga (River) which begins its journey to the sea on the western slopes of Adams Peak, Sri Lanka's holy mountain, is also ideal for river cruising and canoeing.  The divine waters flow slowly west, the banks lined with jungle, rubber plantations and village communities using the river in their daily lives. Exploring the lily covered backwaters, a haven for birdlife, with both Black and Cinnamon Bitterns often seen scrambling for cover as you paddle through the mangroves. River crusing can offer one of Sri Lanka’s most magical experiences.

South: Mirissa Water Sports, located in the south coast, offers river cruising down the Polwatta River lined with mangrove marshes.  A boat ride at dawn or dusk is ideal for bird watching as well as other animals like the purple faced leaf monkey, monitor lizards and the elusive mugger crocodile.

North West: An old network of canals covering about 130 kms developed by the Dutch, linking Colombo’s seaport to the North Western coastal towns of Negombo upto Puttlam still function as active waterways full of life.  These ancient Dutch canals were used for transporting cinnamon and spices.  Explore the canals of Negombo, lined with 17th century Portuguese and Dutch churches and coastal fishing villages.

River Cruise Operator: Mirissa Water Sports is a charitable organization helping to generate employment for the youth from the tsunami affected coastal areas.  Mirissa Water Sports offers watersports activities including river cruising, sailing, fishing, coastal cruises, sea kayaking, snorkelling and Whale and Dolphin watching for visitors to the South coast.  There are several watersports operators in Bentota that offer river cruising including Club Intersport and Lanka Sportreizen.

Useful Links

Mirissa Water Sports: Click Here
Information on river cruising, sailing, snorkelling, whale watching.

Building A Future (BAF): Click Here
Information on watersports, community development projects, upcoming events.

Lanka Sportreizen: Click Here
Information on watersports centres and facilities in Bentota, Kalutara, Negombo and Trincomalee.

Club Intersport, Bentota
Information on river cruising, sailing, waterskiing, surfing

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