Sri Lanka has captured the hearts of millions of tourists from across the world with its breathtaking coastal beauty, pristine beaches, spontaneous wildlife, and captivating sunset. Because of the above reasons, it is lovingly called the ‘Pearl of the India Ocean. Recently it has been attracting the attention of the tourists for its amazing spots for snorkeling. Snorkeling in Sri Lanka will let you experience the magic of underwater life, an experience like no other. You have experienced life on land but experiencing life underwater with its vast range of marine creatures will be an experience of a lifetime.
The following are Sri Lanka’s famous spots for snorkeling. These spots are meant not only for the pros but also for amateurs because there are PADI training centers in those spots that can turn even an amateur into an expert within a short time.
The best time to snorkel in Sri Lanka
The best time to snorkel on the South and West coast is between November to April. If you are interested in the East coast of Sri Lanka, then from April till September is the best time to visit.
14 best places for snorkeling in Sri Lanka:
Underwater in Bentota is famous for beautiful plants, colorful corals, and aquatic animals. In addition, there are shipwrecks under the sea for adventurous type snorkelers. There are 3 main spots to snorkel in Bentota. They are:
- Canoe Rock
- South Reef
A small town on the southwest coast of Srilanka, about 98 km from the City of Colombo, Hikkaduwa, is famous for its impressive coral reefs and marine animals. Known as one of the best beaches for snorkeling in Sri Lanka, the sea here has a beautiful underwater ecosystem. The shallow water here, also makes it a perfect place for first-timers. You can snorkel closer to the shore, not more than 200 m from the shore.
Passikudah is another snorkeling spot found on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Some of the popular spots here are the Passikudah reef and the British Seargent wreck. Passikudah is famous for its pristine blue waters.
Mirissa beach is famous for its clear waters. Do you fancy swimming alongside blue whales? If so, you must go to Mirissa beach. There are around 5 diving sites around Mirissa beach for both the snorkeling masters and amateurs. In Mirissa, you will be able to swim not only with blue whales but also with different species of turtles and marine animals. It is not something you can miss.
Kirinda is an amazing village located just 10 km away on the southeast coast of Tissa. There is a pristine beach and a Buddhist shrine on the rocks in this village. This special diving spot is known for the Great Basses shipwreck, an early 18th-century shipwreck on Great Basses Reef. There is no diving center in Kirinda, but the dive centers in Hikkaduwa and Mirissa can take the travelers
Pigeon Island is situated 1 km off the coast of the famous touristic beach Nilaveli. It is famous for its magnificent coral reefs. If you are an adventure lover, then this is the best place for snorkeling in Sri Lanka. Certainly, it is one of the most beautiful places to see underwater life in the country. It is closer to the Pigeon Island Marine National Park which got its name after endemic blue rock pigeons that inhabit the nearby island. This island is an important breeding ground for rock pigeons.
Nilaveli town is located in the Trincomalee district and is famous for its diverse marine life. It is bestowed with white sandy beaches and you may prefer to sit on the beach and relax or get underwater and explore. The best time to experience snorkeling at Nilaveli is between April to September when the water is usually calm.
This is an uncharted beach in Sri Lanka, lying in the south coastal region. Yet its clear waters and abundant marine life make it one of the beautiful spots for snorkeling.
Weligama is a town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The name ”Weligama” means ”sandy village” which refers to the area’s sandy sweep bay. This is a fantastic snorkeling spot in Sri Lanka. During the period of early November to mid-April, the underwater life is full of varieties of whales and sharks.
Kalipinya is found in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka. The good news for the divers and snorkelers is that the largest coral reef is found one hour away in a boat from Kalpitiya. A wide variety of fish, manta rays, reef sharks, and turtles can be seen in these coral reefs.
Explore Colombo’s deep waters with many diving sites off its shore consisting of shipwrecks and coral reefs. Taprobane East Wreck in Colombo is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Colombo where you can witness the shipwreck underwater. This site is full of glassfish, Napolean fish, Red lions, and stingrays.
Underwater life in Galle is famous among the snorkelers for its wide variety of flora and fauna. SS Rangoon in Galle is known for its beautiful shipwreck underwater. You can explore this site within 32 meters of depth and hence it is less risky.
If you want to explore an unconventional spot, Polhana Reef is the best. Here you will get a chance to swim alongside green turtles and observe these gentle beings in their natural habitat.
With just a mask, snorkel, and fins you can float on the water surface and watch the vibrant coral reefs, rocks, and coral reef fish below. It will be an amazing experience and an unforgettable moment in your life. Rock Island is among the most popular places in Unawatuna and a great place to experience snorkeling in Sri Lanka.
An adventure of exploration will give you an amazing opportunity to get a clear view of the sea life that inhabits the shallow waters just off Negombo. The colorful corals and the lively darting shoals of silvery fish will be a feast for your eyes.