Kalpitiya - a paradise for ocean lovers

Despite its natural beauty, the western peninsular area of Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka is remarkably untouched by tourism. But for those lucky enough to visit, there’s a plethora of things to see and do! With the small close-knit fishing community dominating the lives of the local people, visitors can get a real insight into working life away from the city.

The specialty of Kalpitiya is the seasonal whale and dolphin watching boat excursions would could be done between November and April every year. Apart from this Kalpitiya is also a hotspot for the extreme spot of Kite surfing and world renowned by international professional kiters.

The Dutch Fort and St Peter’s Kerk church in the town itself are interesting examples of Sri Lanka’s rich history and colonial past.   Leisurely boat rides up the lagoon and canoe trips down the river are a pleasant way of exploring the coastline, whilst 4WD jeep rides along the deserted sand dunes between the ocean and the lagoon offer a unique way of watching the colourful evening sunsets. For keen scuba divers and snorkelers, the largest coral reef (most beautiful by far) in Sri Lanka. After watching the night fishing boats return in the morning, a visit to one of the fish markets offers the opportunity to choose the evening meal direct from the fresh catch!

‘Bar reef’ is only a half hour’s boat trip from Kalpitiya.  This beautiful reef is home to an incredible variety of tropical fish as well as offering sighting of manta rays, reef sharks and the occasional turtle!

The Bar Reef (off Kalpitiya Shore)

The Bar Reef is a system of coral reefs just offshore from Sri Lanka’s Kalpitiya peninsula. It has the greatest biodiversity of any coral reef in the waters around India and is one of the few pristine coral reef systems in Sri Lanka. It is a complex of reefs which stretch parallel to the coast from the northern end of the Kalpitiya peninsula to the islands which separate Portugal Bay from the Gulf of Mannar. It has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish. The Bar Reef was declared a marine sanctuary in 1992, the area of the reserve being 306.7 square km.

The Bar Reef can be reached by boat from the Kalpitiya Shore in half an hour.  With its tremendous variety of tropical fish, the colourful live coral reef is an ideal location for snorkelling, especially because the water is so clear. Diving is also excellent especially for beginners and can be done at shallow depths as well as up to 40 metres slightly further out.  Due to its vast size, there are numerous different dives that can be done – even a whole week would not be sufficient time to explore everything that it has to offer!

The Ridge (off Kalpitiya Shore) –

The Ridge is another interesting place which gives the divers the opportunity to explore the ocean at a greater depth than is possible on the Bar Reef.  It takes about 30 minutes to get there from the shore by boat, the location is easily accessible from TURTLE POINT LODGE.  The ridge spans 2 km in length and offers dives at a depth of up to 30 metres.  As well as the fish that can also be seen on the Bar Reef, Rock Cod, Large Grouper and Humphead Wrasse are also in plenty.   As an additional attraction, divers can explore the large underwater caves!

Pearl Banks (off Kalpitiya Shore) –

A little further away into the ocean lies the beautiful Pearl Banks where it is possible to see pearl oysters!  It would be a day excursion to explore this area and come back to shore.

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