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Written by Janani on June 3, 2020 Share on

Snorkelling in Sri Lanka – Top 14 places to Snorkel

Snorkelling is a fun aquatic activity; not just simple and easy, but also allows people of all age groups to participate. There are pretty much lesser activities, that you can participate as a family; i.e. from children to adults. Snorkelling is one of them. It allows you to have fun; so quickly with no risk. If you had already packed your bags all the way to Sri Lanka no matter whether if you are a solo traveller or a honeymooner, it’s mandatory that you snorkel there. Snorkelling in Sri Lanka provides you with a uniquely relaxing experience, completely different from its beauty of life on land. The cost of the snorkelling is quite not high.

Top 14 places for Snorkelling in Sri Lanka

Here’s a list of few places that are best suited for snorkelling in Sri Lanka

  • Hikkaduwa 
  • Unawatuna
  • Pigeon Island
  • Passikudah
  • Mirissa
  • Kirinda
  • Bentota 
  • Negombo
  • Kalpitiya
  • Weligama
  • Nilaveli
  • Colombo
  • Polhena Reef
  • Koggala

Hikkaduwa 

Hikkaduwa is a small town in the south-west coast of Srilanka, at about 98 km from the City of Colombo. With impressive coral reefs and marine animals, Hikkaduwa beach is one of the best beaches for snorkelling in Sri Lanka. The brilliant coral reef and beautiful underwater ecosystem found here, makes it one of the ideal locations for snorkelling in Sri Lanka. This beach offers excellent snorkelling opportunities very close to the shore; ie not more than 200 m from the shore. The shallow waters here, also makes it a perfect place for first-timers. The best time to snorkel is between 9 am and 11 am. 

Hikkaduwa - Snorkelling in Sri Lanka
Source: Google Images

Unawatuna Bay

The Unawatuna Bay, located at the southern coast of Srilanka is not just one of the world’s finest beaches; but it also offers an amazing underwater experience. Rock Island in Unawatuna is one of the best snorkelling sites in Sri Lanka. With no expensive gear and no training, you will be able to witness the beauty of rare and exotic marine life in the crystal clear waters of Unawatuna. The best time to snorkel is between 9 am to 12 pm.

Snorkelling in Sri Lanka
Source: Google Images

Pigeon Island

Few meters off the coast of Trincomalee lies the Pigeon Island. A snorkelling session here is a must for anyone who stays close to Trincomalee or Nilaveli. You do not just get to witness the breathtaking beauty of the coral reefs, but you also get to see a few varieties of sharks and turtles.  While snorkelling, make sure that you don’t enter the cordoned-off area as it is a protected zone.

snorkelling in Sri Lanka, pigeon island
Source: Google Images

Passikudah 

Passikudah is another east coast diving hotspot in Sri Lanka.  Most of the spots in Passikudah can be visited from Trincomalee also. But some of the popular spots here are the Passikudah reef and the British Seargent wreck. 

Mirissa

To make snorkelling in Sri Lanka more interesting; How about Snorkelling amidst Blue Whales? Sounds cool right.

Whale watching, mirrisa
Source: Google Images

Yes, With about 5 spots to dive in Mirissa, you get to snorkel amidst blue whales, turtles and many other marine species. Mirissa is also known for the Whale Watching tours operated from here. 

Kirinda

The Kirinda shelters Little and Great Basses Wrecks. The best time to visit Kirinda is during March – April. There are no diving centres in Kirinda, but those in Hikkaduwa and Mirissa can take the travellers to this special diving spot. 

Bentota 

The expansive areas of colourful corals, tropical fish and shipwrecks are what you get to see if you choose to snorkel in Bentota. There are 3 main spots to snorkel in Bentota

  1. Canoe Rock
  2. South Reef
  3. Hundirangala 

The small angelfish, large parrotfish, groupers and jackfish are some of the fish species you get to see here. 

Negombo

From the multi-coloured coral, the charming clownfish, the flamboyant anemones, many more surprises await you; in the underwater world of Negombo. Negombo is the best place to view the undisturbed marine life of Sri Lanka. All these make it an ideal place for snorkelling in Sri Lanka. 

clownfish - negombo
Source: Google Images

Kalpitiya

Blessed with a myriad species of fish and other tropical inhabitants such as Molluscs, Manta Rays, Sea Turtles and Reef Sharks,  Kalpitiya is a unique diving spot on the coastal belt of Sri Lanka’s Northern Peninsula. The largest reef of Sri Lanka is only about an hour away from Kalpitiya. All these makes Kalpitiya a must-visit spot when it comes to snorkelling in Sri Lanka. 

Weligama

With shallow reefs and rock formations, the bay of Weligama is an exemplary spot for snorkelling in Sri Lanka. The diving spot is about a 30 min Catamaran ride from the Weligama Bay. Here You’ll witness the beauty of varieties of eel, whales, sharks, nudibranchs and underwater mountains. The best time to snorkel here is between November to April. 

weligama Bay, snorkelling in Sri Lanka
Source: Google Images

Nilaveli

The resort town of Nilaveli is known for its white sandy beach. You may either choose to chill and relax on the soft powdery sands or get into the calm and clear waters of the Nilaveli to experience the beauty of Corals. The best time to visit Nilaveli is between April – September. 

Colombo

Colombo is one of the best spots for snorkelling in Sri Lanka, with beautiful views of Shipwrecks. You should be a bit careful when snorkelling with kids. Taking a guide along with you highly suggested when it comes to Snorkelling here.

Polhena Reef

If you were looking for a beach to swim and snorkel with turtles, then Polhena Reef is where you have to stop. The shallow Lagoon is protected by a reef and is a treat to our eyes, especially at times of low tides.  Along with snorkelling, education on conserving marine life is also conducted by the locals and nature enthusiasts. 

Koggala

Koggala is one of the unexplored beaches of Sri Lanka. However, the crystal clear waters and rich marine life makes it an ideal place for snorkelling in Sri Lanka. Tourist arrivals are pretty less when compared to the other beaches. 

Traveller Tips

  • Make sure you always snorkel in groups. Even if you are an experienced diver, do not snorkel alone. 
  • Always check the weather before getting into the water
  • Know your entry point and several exit points, before you start.
  • A pair of fins, mask and a snorkel is all you need. 
  • Can you wear glass within the mask? No, you will not be able to wear glasses within these masks. You can either wear contact lenses or go in for a Prescription Snorkel Mask. You may lose your contact lenses if water gets into your mask and hence wearing a contact lens is not suggested. 

There’s no doubt why Sri Lanka called the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. It is one of the beautiful and most visited tropical countries. Now that you know on where you can snorkel, What are you waiting for? Set out for your journey into the sea. Check out more suggestions on places to visit in Sri Lanka at Pickyourtrail.com. Also, Check out some of the amazing tour packages and let us help you have your dream vacation. Happy Travelling!

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