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Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

Updated on March 23, 2015
Dolphing Watching in Sri Lanka
Dolphing Watching in Sri Lanka

High Chance of seeing Dolphins in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is fast becoming a major destination to watch Dolphins and there are special Dolphin watching tour packages as well. Wildlife has always being a major tourist attraction for Sri Lanka and now marine life is fast becoming another major attraction. There are many reasons for the high number of Dolphin sitings in Sri Lanka, not only Dolphins but you have a great chance of seeing Whales as well. These Whale watching tours are conducted by fully qualified operators and utmost care is taken to safeguard the passengers. The boats are well equipped for sea travel and everyone will be given life jackets. And with most tours are accompanied by a well trained lifeguard. A typical trip will take around 3-4 hours and in months like December chance of spotting Dolphins are as high as 90%. If you enjoy seeing marine life then this is a must do activity in Sri Lanka and it can be a really fulfilling experience as well. Listed below are some of the best places in Sri Lanka for Dolphin watching.

Dondra Point Near Mirissa

Although you can find Dolphin watching tour operators in most parts of Southern coast, the best place for Dolphin Watching is Dondra point which is close to Mirissa town. The best months for spotting Dolphins are December and January and you have a good chance in March and April as well. You will mostly see Spinner Dolphins and you also have a good chance of seeing Sperm Whales. If you intend to take photographs you need a decent camera because you will rarely get a chance to get very close to Dolphins.

Tours start early in the morning around 6AM and can take up to 4-5 hours depending on the number of sightings. They spend as much time as they can so you will get at least one sighting of Dolphins. You will be given breakfast and bottled mineral water for drinking and they have toilet facilities in the boat. A prices vary depending on the operator, number of people in your group etc. Typically it can range between Rs.4000 to Rs. 8000, roughly it is around 40$-80$. One of the most popular Whale/Dolphin watching tours are operated by the Sri Lanka Navy. Check the official site for details about the boat and prices.

Bottlenose dolphins in Trinco
Bottlenose dolphins in Trinco

Southern beach is frequented by tourists so you wont have trouble finding accommodations in nearby towns. Hikkaduwa, Bentota have some luxurious hotels and there are plenty of small hotels/guest houses if you're looking for low cost accommodation.

If luxury is your thing then a villa inside Galle Fort is highly recommended. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO heritage site and you'll have plenty of things to do as a tourist as well.

Dolphin Beach near Kalpitiya

Another popular destination for Dolphin watching is the Dolphin Beach near Kalpitiya. This is not a area frequented by locals or tourists so you have a good chance of arranging a tour for a much cheaper price here. Here also a typical boat ride would take around 4-5 hours. Here also the best time to visit are during December and January.

Most accommodations can be found in Kalpitiya town and if you are looking for a luxurious stay then you may have to come to Negombo town. Kalpitiy area is also known for delicious seafood with various dishes made out of prawns and cuttlefish being very popular among tourists.


Although not as popular as Dondra point or Kalpitiya, Trincomalee is another place where you can watch Dolphins, especially Bottlenose Dolphins. Trincomalee is at Eastern coast of Sri Lanka and the best times to visit there are June and July. Nilaveli beach hotel and Amaya Blue are the only luxury hotels in the area but many more springing up to cater to the surge of tourists.

Trinco is more famous for Whales so if you want to specifically see Dolphins this might be not your place. However there are plenty of other places to visit in Trincomalee.

Best Places to Watch Dolphins in Sri Lanka

show route and directions
A markerKalpitiya Sri Lanka -
Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka
get directions

Dolphin Beach near Kalpitiya is great for Dolphin Watching

B markerTrincomalee Sri Lanka -
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
get directions

Trincomalee is another great location for Dolphin Watching in East coast of Sri Lanka

C markerMirissa Sri Lanka -
Mirissa Beach, Sri Lanka
get directions

Dondra Point near Mirissa is the best place in Sri Lanka for Dolphin Watching

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    • magodis profile image

      magodis 6 years ago from Colombo, Sri Lanka

      This is very good hub