The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Negombo succeeds largely as a tourist-orientated beach resort, but there are things to do in this easy-going town other than visit the simple beach bars and restaurants or top up your tan and watch the fishing boats on the horizon.
The Muthurajawela Marshes – a tidal wetland area – lies to the south and several churches tell of Negombo's Catholic heritage. A century’s old network of canals, linking Colombo’s seaport to Negombo, still function as active waterways and, even though they are not particularly well kept, they can be explored by boat, cycling or by foot.
An experience that Red Dot can recommend is a trip to Wilpattu game park, a little light on game perhaps (although leopard sightings are quite common), but what it may lack in animal stocks it makes up for in beauty. You may also spot elephants, deer, water buffalo and sloth bear as well as a feast of birds and butterflies.
Activities in the somewhat remote coastal settlement of Kalpitiya are water-based. Boat excursions into the deep seas to spot whales and dolphins are possible only from December to April when the seas are calm. As in Negombo, you can also enjoy a range of watersports here including windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Nearby Kalpitiya, the Annaiwilundawa wetlands refers to a cluster of freshwater reservoirs which act as an important wetland for many resident and migratory birds. Further up the coast, Mannar is also a joy for the committed birdwatcher, especially during migrant season from November to February.