• North West

North West

When heading north of Colombo, you will enter a region that consists of coconut plantations, vast sand dune beaches and pristine lagoons, sparkling in the sun. The remote coastal towns, Kalpitiya and Mannar, remain untouched by mass tourism, are a perfect destination for anyone who wants to enjoy peaceful sceneries and colourful local life, and discover the wonders of nature.

North and North WestThe North West coast, rich with cinnamon and spices, have attracted Arab, Chinese and Roman traders since the 5th century. With the colonisation, the coastal towns of Negombo, Chilaw and Kalpitiya saw the construction of forts and churches established by both the Portuguese and the Dutch. As a result, the population of the region is diverse with the majority being Catholics.

The seas off the coast of Kalpitiya are home to dolphins, whales, stingrays and several species of Marine turtles. Watersports are also available here. The lagoons and waterways in Mannar are a haven for flamingos and other migrant birds from October to March, while Wilpattu National Park has the most scenic landscapes with numerous lakes, diverse wildlife and fairy tale forests.

 

Kalpitiya

Set in between the deep lagoon of Puttalam to the east and the magnificent Indian Ocean to the west, Kalpitiya Peninsula is an exquisite coastal region located in the Western coastal belt, north of Colombo. It is an unrivalled marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangrove swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches.

Despite its natural beauty, Kalpitiya is remarkably untouched by tourism. Here, the visitors can get a real insight into the close-knit fishing community, and enjoy the various activities this region can offer. With the near-constant strong winds, Kalpitiya has the best kitesurfing conditions in South Asia.Or go snorkeling or scuba diving in Sri Lanka’s largest coral reef and discover an incredible variety of tropical fish, manta rays, reef sharks and even turtles. Canoe in the lagoon, or observe the large schools of dolphins playing in the offshore waters. Or visit the Dutch Fort and St. Peter's Kerk Church, and learn about Sri Lanka's colonial past.

Mannar

Travel from Negombo to the island of Mannar, overlooking the Gulf of Mannar. Though visually dominated by Hindu temples, mosques, and churches, the town represents a diverse mix of different spiritual traditions. Dotted with ancient baobab trees, native to Africa, and crumbling colonial edifices built by the Portuguese, Dutch and Brits, Mannar is a very intriguing place to visit. Go for a walk in the centre of the town and visit the Ketheeswaram temple, captured by the Dutch in 1658 and originally built in 1560 by the Portuguese. Though the interior is largely destroyed, the ramparts and bastions are intact.

 


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