THE WHALE WATCHING TRIANGLE, Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee
BEST FOR: Whale-watching, especially blues (Mirissa); dolphins and sperm whales (Kalpitiya); blue whales from the shore and sperm whales (Trincomalee).
DRIVE TIME FROM COLOMBO: 1.5 hours (Mirissa); 3 hrs (Kalpitiya); 7 hrs (Trincomalee).
WHAT’S NEARBY? The Dutch fort and port city of Galle (Mirissa); WiIpattu NP and the Barr Reef Sanctuary, for snorkelling (Kalpitiya); Many rural coastal fishing villages (Trincomalee).
Mirissa, in the south and dose to the Dutch fort and port city of Galle, is studded with luxury villas and great food. It’s probably the most developed for whale-watching tourism, following a media blitz in May 2008 that it was the best for blue whale. The encounter rate is on average over 80% in the months from December to March.
Kalpitiya, a peninsula in the north-west, is famous for its dolphins and periodic visits by super-pods of sperm whales, the largest gatherings in the world accessible to tourists. The peninsula is also close to Wilpattu National Park, while the Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary is great for snorkelling.
Trincomalee, in the north-east has a submarine canyon cutting in close to shore. Blue whales are sometimes seen from the pool-side of resorts with Swami Rock being the best shore-based location for get views of these wonders.