Water & Land Sports

For advice on the best surf in Sri Lanka in the different seasons, call our country experts. Combine the morning surf with beach guesthouses or luxury beach villas for the perfect surfing holiday. We have reviewed all the watersports centres around Sri Lanka’s coastline to advise you on the best hotel or region for your beach holiday. If your interest is waterskiing, diving, windsurfing, fishing or building sand-castles with the family, we can help arrange your perfect watersports holiday to Sri Lanka.

Overview

The warm waters - 27°C/80°F – around Sri Lanka’s coast encourage wonderful surfing, diving and snorkelling. The calmer inland waters offer windsurfing, water skiing, dinghy sailing and jetskis.



Where and When

  • East Coast April to September
  • South & West Coast November to April

Surfing

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Arugam Bay on the East Coast was home to 2004 National Championships. This area has been redeveloped since Tsunami with the Surfer and adventurous traveller in mind.  It still has a casual/hippy atmosphere but a few boutique hotels are emerging which are beautifully secluded. Two of our favourites are Kottukala Beach and Kudakalliya.

Kitesurfing is the up and coming extreme sport and Arugam Bay is the centre for coaching and German kite-sellers.

Hikkaduwa, Midigama and Polhenna Beaches in the south and west are good surfing beaches to explore.

Boards and gear are available for hire locally.

Do take local advice regarding strong currents and undertow in some areas. For the latest news on surf in Sri Lanka, visit www.surfing-waves.com or www.wannasurf.com.

Diving & Snorkelling

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On-shore reefs and coastal wrecks afford ideal diving sites to explore a colourful underwater world. Trincomalee and Arugam Bay have greatest visibility from May to September, when the seas are calmer. Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Mirissa on South and South West from November to April have numerous excellent dive sites with visibility up to 20m.

The Coral Sanctuary at Hikkaduwa is close inshore. Dive, swim and snorkel with the parrot fish, barracuda and green turtles.

Polhenna beach has a reef that you can reach on foot from the shore.

Snorkelling

Available at all the above sites. Pigeon Island off Nilaveli on the East Coast, Unawatuna Bay and the on-shore reefs of SW resorts are particularly recommended but do check the strength of the undercurrent with local beach operators on a daily basis as many lives are lost through ignorance . 

Dives and Courses

There are many water sports centres around Sri Lanka, and many P.A.D.I. recognised operators. Sri Lanka has a number of wreck dives around Galle, Bentota and Trincomelee.

Boutique Sri Lanka recommend and have teamed with the following companies for cost, experience, equipment, friendliness , and great locations year-round with well qualified leaders – introductory dives or courses.

Dive Centres

Company Location Time Of Year Comments
Dive The Snake Bentota November - March For further details on courses and booking, click here
Trincomalee April- September
Pearl Hotel Negombo November – April Dives Euro 25
Trincomalee from Negombo June – October Wreck Dives for minimum 3 certified divers Euros 150 each per day, including:
1 deep dive (40m) to Hermes Sunken Aircraft Carrier
1 dive in flat water (20m)
Submarine Diving School Unawatuna Bay November – April, July/August

Sri Lankan owner Gnare is extremely helpful and runs a professional operation but his internet acumen is less advanced and we are unable to provide a booking facility for his courses. He is happy to take bookings by phone or on the beach.

Padi 4 day Open water course - US$ 350
3 days Advanced course - US$ 250
1 dive - US $30
5 dives - US$ 125

For further details contact : Gnare on Tel +94 91 4 380 358 or email: gkoralage@hotmail.com

Coral Gardens Hotel Hikkaduwa    
Poseidon Diving Station Hikkaduwa   Tel: +94 (0)91 22 77294, email: info@divingsrilanka.com
Lets Dive Touchschule Medille, Tangalle   Tel. +94 (0)77 902073

 

Rafting & Canoeing

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The myriad of waterways in Sri Lanka offer a wide range of experiences from gentle guided canoe trips through the lowlands to thrilling white-knuckle rafting on the turbulent rivers.

Canoeing

One and two-man canoes – for solo or guided trips. Discover the backwaters, riverside villages and forests with a silent approach.

For further details, give us a call.

White Water Rafting

Rivers are carefully graded from 2-6 to accommodate families, beginners and experienced rafters. Children over 6 years are welcomed.

Best time to go is May-December when waters are highest and fastest.


Where to Raft

Grades 2/3 are Popular Excursions for beginners

  •  
  • Kelani River, SW of Kandy – “River Kwai” country. Organised (1½ hrs) trip from Kitulgala. Avoid Sundays when dam controlling water flow is closed.

Any very experienced rafters seeking big rapids should let us know and we will put you directly in touch with the best operators who will have up to the minute rapid conditions.

For day rafting packages, visit our review of Rafter's Retreat.

Kayaking

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Hanwella is a tropical paradise amongst rivers, mountains, forests and a rich ancient past, just an hours drive from Colombo. 300 meters of the River Kelani frontage is lined with a pebbled sandy beach. Kayaking (1 or 2 person) trips can be joined for the day and a beach lunch is included. Paddle, swim for a while and absorb the river wildlife en route. Guests are returned to camp in Hanwella.

Where to Stay

Rafters’ Retreat offers an excellent package of rafting and bird-watching, whilst staying in their fun tree houses.

Paradise Garden Resort, where your rafting thrills will be contrasted with accommodation in a private villa amongst organic orchards and a picturesque infinity pool.

Windsurfing & Water-Skiing

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Where: Bentota River is favoured for the keen water babes and sunbathers but Colombo Sailing Club on Bologoda Lake is also an ideal break for the business/ holiday maker.

For the experienced wind surfers, head just off the West Coast in December/March, but the strong breezes are very challenging.

West Coast is home to Holger Brummer’s ski camp and wake boarding training courses for the beginner to the advanced competitor.

When: December to March is ideal but July - September and November and April are often fine if the winds and undercurrent are suitable.

Lessons and equipment are easily available

Jetski

Strangely, still the latest “Look at me” sport on at Bentota River. Life jackets and full instructions are part of the safety package. Speeds of up to 50 mph are permitted.

 

Watersports Centres

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(Waterskiing, wind surfing, surfing, jet skis and kite surfing)

Company Location Comments
     
Sunshine Watersports

Galle Road, Aluthgama, Bentota

Tel: 0776211449  

Located on the river side in the Aluthgama town (next door to Sunilanka). Owner, Thusal held the National windsurfing Cup for 13 years and now runs a large watersports operation including fishing boat trips, jetskis, wakeboards, windsurfing etc. His equipment and teachers are of a high quality and he offers a courtesy pick up service to your hotel. He is a tad more expensive than his neighbours.

     

 

Fishing

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As with any island people, fishing has always been part of Sri Lankan life. You may try fly fishing for trout, cast in the surf or lagoons, challenge the big game fish or, in Boutique Sri Lanka’s case, dangle your rod in the river at night with a fine bottle of “Old Arrack”.

When to fish at sea

  • On West and South West Coasts - from October to March.
  • East Coast - from May to July
  • Inland – any time

Where to go

Trout river fishing – Nuwara Eliya in the Highlands. Traditional fly fishing, a legacy from the early European settlers. You will probably need a licence, and good equipment and clothing is not available locally.

Coastal lakes and lagoons offer good catches. The breakwater of Colombo Harbour is a popular spot.

Night fishing on the rivers, Game and sport fish and Deep sea fishing are plentiful, as they follow their prey inshore in the warm currents.

In particular, Negombo on the West Coast - Bentota and Weligama in the South West and Trincomalee on the East Coast.

Your catch may include:

  • Marlin
  • swordfish
  • queenfish
  • tuna, barracuda.

Boutique Sri Lanka can arrange fishing trips for yourself and friends, or you can negotiate a trip with local fishermen. Don’t expect Caribbean style luxury or costs, but a bottle of Arrack will be well received.

Recommended places to book private boats

River boats from:

Fishing boats from:

You will find willing ‘beach boys’ touting for this business, but be aware of their “commission”, as most will simply lead you to the above or the main local fishing harbours in :

  • Trincomelee town harbour, East Coast
  • Beruwala Coast South West
  • Welligama Harbour South

Golf

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An early settler on Sri Lanka, which offers three quality courses and others are under development.

 

Club Cost Comments Places to Stay
Royal Colombo Golf Club

         

 

 

 

           

  • Founded 1879, has an elegant clubhouse, coconut palm lined fairways and immaculate links.
  • Caddies are compulsory at all courses, but fees are so reasonable you will welcome the service.
  • Availability: Pre-booking is appreciated
  • Dress code: Usual club rules, shirts with collars, dress walking shorts or trousers; “decent” attire for ladies.
  • Equipment: Clubs and shoes can be hired.
The Residence and Havelock Bungalows are close by.
Nuwara Eliya Club  
  • Founded 1889 by the Scottish teaplanters. Cooler temperatures up here in the hills may be more comfortable.
  • Dress code and equipment hire as Colombo.
If you wish to escape the large tour groups after your game, try Anilana Craigbank.
Victoria Golf Club  
  • The newest club just 30 minutes’ drive east of Kandy. A wonderful setting at the foot of the Kunckles Range, where the views make up for any lack of expertise on the course.
Taylor's Hill

Just 10 minutes away you can spend your winnings in the beach boutiques, such as Club Villa ; relax with a spot of fishing and enjoy village life at the private villa Nisala Arana.

Cycling

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Sri Lanka is a perfect venue for the cyclist of any age or ability, with many safe trails criss-crossing the countryside.

Where: almost anywhere, except on the major roads – tourists’ wellbeing is not often a priority in the average driver’s mind!

  • National cycling trail – part open – from Wadduwa to Koggala – 240km, easily tackled in bite-sized pieces, 20-30km.
  • Ancient Cities of Polonnaruwa & Anuradhapura
  • Mountain range trail from Kandy – tough- quality mountain bikes needed
  • Ella – sleepy village in the Hill country with spectacular views of waterfalls, Tea, spice and rubber plantations
  • Hanwella – Mountain biking in the hilly countryside of the Western Province

When: Cycling days are best begun early before the heat of the day.

Hotels and equipment :Bicycles of varying standards are easily available, and many hotels offer complimentary/reasonably priced cycles and guides.

Illuketia Villa - South Coast
Nisala Arana Villa - Bentota
Horathapola Estate Bungalow
Elephant Corridor - Sigiriya
Don Diogu Villa - Wellawaya
Secret Ella - Ella
Victoria Golf Club - Kandy

Pre-planning is advised for those needing more sophisticated mountain bikes.

Price Guide for Bike Hire
Basic bicycle : From LKR 100/hour to 3000/day .

Mountain Bike Excursions

Day excursions can be joined at Adventure Asia camp in Hanwella, approx one hour North east of Colombo. Ride amidst tough terrain and alongside the River Kelani. Stop for a dip and lunch on the pebble beach.

Contact : Adventure Asia c/o Peter Stewart

Tel. +94 11 5 368468
Email: adventure@wow.lk

Cricket

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For many people Sri Lanka is synonymous with cricket; a national sport and impossible to avoid, as TV screens and radios reveal the commentaries from every corner of the street, office or bus.

For visiting devotees, tickets can be bought from the office of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka for International Test Matches or one-day matches. For club matches the choice is unlimited – check local newspapers.

The most important stadia are found in Dambulla, Galle, Colombo and Kandy – all centres of interest in themselves. More informal games may be found on any open patch of land where a few budding hopefuls gather with their schoolfellows.

For advice on the best surf in Sri Lanka in the different seasons, call our country experts. Combine the morning surf with beach guesthouses or luxury beach villas for the perfect surfing holiday. We have reviewed all the watersports centres around Sri Lanka's coastline to advise you on the best hotel or region for your beach holiday. If your interest is waterskiing, diving, windsurfing, fishing or building sand-castles with the family, we can help arrange your perfect watersports holiday to Sri Lanka.
Consultant Helpline: (0094) 11 2699213 (Overseas) or click here to email our consultants

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