Sri Lanka is a land of undaunted coastal beauty, pristine beaches, vast wildlife, and a paradise to witness the picturesque sunset which makes this island the ‘pearl of Indian Ocean’. Apart from its pristine beauty, Sri Lanka has come into the limelight for its exotic snorkeling spots which are ideal for exploring the world underwater. The cost of snorkeling in Sri Lanka is not too high as well.
For every adventure junkie who wants to dive deep and swim along with the marine animals, snorkeling in Sri Lanka is a must experience. These snorkeling spots are not only a place for the pro-snorkelers, because there are PADI training centers which will make the amateurs master the art of snorkeling. Let us help you figure out all that you need to know before taking a trip to Sri Lanka and diving into its clear blue waters!
Best Time To Go For Snorkeling In Sri Lanka
Diving and Snorkeling in the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean is an experience out of this world. For witnessing the best place to snorkel in Sri Lanka, November to April is the best time. Whereas to get the visibility of the marine world on the east coast, April and September is definitely the most preferred time of the year.
15 Best Sites For Snorkeling In Sri Lanka
While in Sri Lanka, indulge into a thrilling and adventurous journey of exploring the world underwater like snorkeling with whales in Sri Lanka at these snorkeling spots and take the best out of your beach vacation. We have given below the best places to snorkel in Sri Lanka that you must add in your itinerary before taking a trip.
- Hikkaduwa: Impressive Coral Reefs
- Pasikudah: Pristine Blue Waters
- Kirinda: Swimming Amid Shipwrecks
- Mirissa: Clear Waters
- Pigeon Island: Magnificent Coral Reefs
- Nilaveli: Diverse Marine Life
- Koggala: Calm Waters
- Weligama: Whales And Sharks
- Trincomalee: Colorful Aquatic Animals
- Kalpitiya: Largest Coral Reef In Sri Lanka
- Colombo: Wrecks And Fish
- Galle: Diverse Flora And Fauna
- Polhena Reef: Swimming With Green Turtles
- Unawatuna: Rare Marine Species
- Negombo: Clownfish And Anemones
Being the cultural beach hub of the country, Hikkadawu tops the list of best beaches for snorkeling in Sri Lanka. Located just 98 kms south of the Colombo city, this beach is a home to impressive coral reefs and abundant tropical fishes. This place is perfect for the skilled snorkelers as well as the amateurs who can learn some diving skills from the PADI instructors who are available throughout the season.
Settled at the district of Batticaloa, this resort town accommodates widely stretched pristine blue waters and deserted beaches. This beach is a perfect paradise for travelers who want to take a walk over the water instead of land and explore the marine life. And only this beach will let you dive and snorkel straight off a yacht and witness the awe-inspiring coral reefs.
Just 10kms away on the southeast coast of Tissa lies the picturesque village of Kirinda. This village is home to a pristine beach and a Buddhist shrine on the rocks. Alongside its magnificent beauty, this special diving spot also shelters Little and Great Basses wrecks. The best time of the year to visit these basses is between March and April. There is no diving center in Kirinda, but the dive centers in Hikkaduwa and Mirissa can take the travelers.
Suggested Read: Top Places For Trekking In Sri Lanka For The Thrill Seekers!
Another diving paradise in Sri Lanka is Mirissa, located at the southeast coast of the island. This beach has always been the first place to enjoy the view of whales. For the best snorkeling in Sri Lanka experience, head to Mirissa. However now this place has turned out to be a great diving spot. There are around 5 diving sites around Mirissa beach for both the snorkeling masters and amateurs. For beginners, there are training centers like Poseidon where they give PADI training courses for every level at best price of snorkeling in Sri Lanka.
5. Pigeon Island
For the serious adventure enthusiasts, Pigeon Island is the best place for snorkeling in Sri Lanka. This isolated island is also a home one of the main marine national parks in the country and a divers paradise. To reach the island one has to take a boat ride which takes approximately 15 minutes. One side of the island is adorned with magnificent clusters of coral reefs which are bordered by clear water. It is one of the best best places for snorkeling in Sri Lanka.
Snorkeling in Sri Lanka is incomplete if the resort town of Nilaveli doesnt rank the list. One of the booming tourist attraction of the country, this town is located in the district of Trincomalee. The town is adorned with white beaches adorned where tourists can enjoy a relaxing time as well explore the world underwater. The best time to experience snorkeling at Nilaveli is between April to September when the water is usually calm.
Resting at the south coastal region, Koggala is one of least visited beach in Sri Lanka. This coastal town still remains unexplored by the travelers yet its pristine beauty and isolation make it the best spot to enjoy a perfect beach vacation. Apart from its divine waters, this place makes a perfect spot for snorkeling in Sri Lanka. It s one of the best snorkeling beaches in Sri Lanka.
Suggested Read: 30 Soul Satisfying Things To Do In Sri Lanka In 2021
Weligama is another blissful snorkeling spot in Sri Lanka, located 30 kms east of Galle. Often called the Sandy Village, this place can also be explored by taking the Catamaran ride on the surface of the water and gives the chance to take a ride and explore the sea. While the enthusiastic snorkelers can dive deep and witness varieties of whales and sharks during the period of early November to Mid April. It is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Sri Lanka, Galle.
Trincomalee is the gem of the eastern coast of Sri Lanka and a paradise for the snorkelers. The Nilaveli beach settled at this area is the most famous launching pad for the divers. Just a few minutes away stands the Pigeon island which is the closest place which is home to the beautiful coral reefs full of colorful fish, anemone, nudibranch and many more marine animals and plants.
Hidden from all the tourist rush, Kalpitiya stands isolated in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka. For the enthusiastic divers and snorkelers, the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka lies just one hour away from Kalpitiya on a boat. This reef shelters a wide range of tropical fishes and one can also spot the manta rays, reef sharks and occasional turtles.
If you thought you could not enjoy the best snorkeling in Sri Lanka, then you were wrong. Taprobane East Wreck in Colombo is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Colombo where you will get the beautiful shipwreck underwater. The site is easily accessible from Colombo via boat. You must take an experienced diving instructor with you to avoid any unnecessary hassle, especially if you’re visiting Sri Lanka with kids. He will also guide you better about the best time to go snorkeling here.
For those wondering about where to snorkel in Sri Lanka, there is a snorkeling site right there in galle. SS Rangoon in Galle is known for its beautiful wreck underwater. Avid snorkelers have also given this site a good rating in terms of diverse flora and fauna. Snorkeling is just one of the water sports in Galle that you can try.
The best part is that this snorkeling site in Sri Lanka lies on the lower end of the difficulty. The maximum depth you can achieve here is 32 m with good visibility. Hence, we can agree that it is the best place to snorkel in Sri Lanka.
Suggested Read: 35 Most Beautiful Places In Sri Lanka You Must Visit In 2021
13. Polhena Reef
Polhena is among the best places to snorkel in Sri Lanka even though it’s an offbeat and rather unknown location here. It’s a great place to visit if you do not have a tight itinerary and have at least 5 days in Sri Lanka. Snorkeling in this area educates people about the conservation projects underway on Polhena reef that the locals and environmental authorities actively participate in. This fascinating and enriching tour gives adventure seekers a chance to swim alongside green turtles and observe these gentle beings in their natural habitat.
Rock Island is among the most popular places in Unawatuna and a great place to experience the best snorkeling in Sri Lanka where you can be a part of the underwater world even if it’s for a brief period. The crystal clear waters off the coast of Unawatuna have such vibrant and colorful fish and corals that they’ll be etched on your minds forever! You’ll find all sorts of rare and exotic species of aquatic fauna here that you have only ever read about in encyclopedias. And the best part – you don’t need any expensive gear or tiring training to find them!
This offbeat location offers an extensive two-hour tour into its clean and clear waters where you can get an undisturbed view of the amazing sea life of Sri Lanka. It’s one of the best snorkeling spots in Sri Lanka where you can feast your eyes on multicolored corals and fish. From beautiful clown fish playing peek-a-boo to colorful anemones swaying in slow-mo, everything about this underwater world will surprise you! All you have to do is collect your snorkeling equipment from your operator, take a boat ride to the reef, and dive in!
People are usually unable to get clear answers for “can you snorkel in Sri Lanka?” which is why we decided to compile some great spots for the same and share them with you! Now that you know where you can snorkel and you’re all set to take a dive to see tropical fish and corals, why don’t you book a Sri Lanka trip? Set out on a journey to explore the world underneath the crystal clear water of Indian Ocean and you will end up having the time of your life when you go snorkeling in Sri Lanka!
Frequently Asked Questions About Snorkeling In Sri Lanka
How safe is Sri Lanka from coronavirus?
Sri Lanka is one of the safe countries to travel right now. The government has taken strict measures as soon as the first case was observed and quarantined. Visa-on-arrival has been suspended for Chinese travelers at the moment.
Is it allowed to swim with turtles in Sri Lanka?
Yes. If someone wants to experience swimming with turtles while snorkeling in Sri Lanka, then Dalawella beach is the best place to go. It is a home to many turtles and a beautiful beach.
Where can one go for snorkeling?
Some of the best places around the world to go for snorkeling are Great Barrier Reef, Komodo National Park, Grenada, Baa Atoll and Madang.
Is it allowed to dive in Sri Lanka?
If someone is planning a trip to Sri Lanka, then they must definitely try out diving in the country. There are some of the well-known diving centers in Mirissa and Hikkaduwa where people can take a dive and enjoy the beautiful view of the underwater world.
When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?
The west and south coasts in Sri Lanka have the best things to offer during the months of December to March. While during the time between April and May till September is the best to visit the east coast.
How many days are enough to visit Sri Lanka?
Around 4-5 days are enough to explore Sri Lanka where people can witness the beauty of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bentota and Colombo.
Is Sri Lanka expensive?
Overall, Sri Lanka has been one of the cheapest countries where the person cost comes around $20-$30 per person a day on a shoestring budget. While for the people looking for better options, the cost comes around $50 a day approximately.
Is Sri Lanka safe for tourists?
Sri Lanka is quite a safe country for travelers to visit. Apart from being the land of coffee plantations, this country is also a booming destination in the tourism industry. The rate of crime is less here, but still, travelers should be cautious when in a new land.
What to wear in Sri Lanka?
Women can wear things like shorts, sundresses, tank tops while going to explore the streets. While the men can carry a cardigan, hoodie or a light jacket.
Which place offers the cheapest snorkeling in Sri Lanka?
Snorkeling spots in Polhena Reef, Unawatuna, and Hikkaduwa are said to charge very nominal rates for a snorkeling tour.
Are there sharks in Sri Lanka?
There are about 63 sharks and 42 rays in the waters of Sri Lanka, most of which are not deadly.
People Also Read: