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. 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! 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
Whale and Dolphin watching is a seasonal activity and sightings are certain in Kalpitiya. Whale & dolphin watching tours could be arranged in Kalpitiya and the ideal season is November to April.
Kitesurfing is another popular activity conducted off the coast of Kalpitiya. Kite surfing does require the highest possible wind conditions (monsoon). We reliably understand from serious kiters’ that the area around Kalpitiya is probably one the best in the world which possibly accounts for so many wind power generating projects have been undertaken there. From May to August the prevailing high winds is the best season for Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya.
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!