5 of Sri Lanka’s best water-sports
Sri Lanka’s monsoon weather patterns are such that one half of the island’s coastal waters are always in season for water-sports. From white-water rafting to scuba diving, the island is ideal for many water-sports and boasts one of the top ten surf spots in the world. Below are some useful hints and tips for those seeking some aqua-adventure in their holiday. For more information on these water-sports, Sri Lanka and our company, visit www.reddottours.com
White-water Rafting – Kitulgala
Suitable for both beginners and those with more experience, white-water rafting down the Kelani River is an exhilarating activity for children and adults alike. The 6.5km route features grade II and III rapids and takes approximately one hour, beginning in Kitulgala, a small town in Sri Lanka’s majestic tea country. Along the way, the rapids will ease off and you can relax and take in the stunning scenery: looming hills, waterfalls and endless greenery. Red Dot uses Borderlands, a highly reputable company which also offers kayaking and canoeing on the Kelani and a popular camping experience. Not suitable for children under eleven years.
Best time to go: May to December
Surfing – Arugam Bay
Listed as one of the top ten surf spots in the world, laidback Arugam Bay in the south east has long been recognised as the best place in Sri Lanka for surfing. There are several point breaks, including: ‘Surf Point’, which breaks at the headland in front of Arugam Bay and is suitable for beginners; Pottuvil Point, found at a deserted beach north of the town, which is suitable for those with more experience, and Crocodile Rock, a challenging spot just south of the main beach. Surfing is also rewarding in the youthful southwest town of Hikkaduwa and along the island’s south coast, particularly Weligama and the beautiful crescent-shaped Mirissa Bay.
Best time to go:
Arugam Bay – July and August
South coast – December to April
Wind-surfing – West Coast
Wind-surfing on the island was pioneered in Negombo by Lanka Sportreizen, a tour operator which specialises in adventure and water-sport holidays, and it remains a popular spot for the sport. However, it is the west coast town of Bentota which now claims the prize as the best place in Sri Lanka for wind-surfing. Strong breezes blow between December and March and you can surf either in the waters around Bentota’s beaches or on Bentota Lagoon. Wind-surfing is also possible in the east coast: head to the waters north of Trincomalee in Nilaveli.
Best time to go:
West coast – December to April
East coast – May to October
Scuba Diving – South Coast
Scuba diving in Sri Lanka is immensely rewarding in the western, southern and eastern coastal belts, but it is the south coast which is the most popular. Head to Unawatuna for dive sites of black coral, shipwrecks and numerous varieties of fish, or Weligama, which offers beautiful rock formations and a variety of marine life. The 40km reef known as the Basses, between Kirinda and Kumana, has sandstone reefs, ravines, pillars, caves and crevices and more shipwrecks. See a variety of exotic marine life in Trincomalee, such as Moray Eels and Sting Rays, and head to the PADI dive centre in Hikkaduwa to take lessons and get your licence.
Best time to go: All year round
Kite-surfing – Kalpitiya
Sri Lanka has excellent kite surfing spots for beginners as well as the more experienced, in the turquoise seas or one of the tranquil lagoons. The Kalpitiya Lagoon, sand banks, remote islets, reef, and the ocean provide ideal kitesurfing spots in the North West region. Red Dot Tours partners with Kitesurfing Lanka which is run by two experienced kitesurfers who are IKO (International Kite Boarding Organisation) certified and does kitesurfing in Kalpitiya. Kitesurfing Lanka also runs a kite school that offers introductory to advanced courses in kitesurfing. Equipment including the board, kite, harness, and boots are available for rent.
Best time to go: May to December.