Interested in visiting the dolphins off the coast of Sri Lanka? Head north along the west coast until you reach the town of Kalpitiya. As you enter Kalpitiya, familiarize yourself with tall and charming coconut trees lined up on massive pieces of land, providing for scenic views of the path you drive on. Another iconic highlight of the area are the beautiful windmills along the shores spinning at the speed of the wind at the edges of salt farms where you will see sacks of salt being dried up. These landmarks are what make Kalpitiya a truly unique destination to visit! Not forgetting to mention the activities the town is known for – dolphin watching and kitesurfing!
Kitesurfing is a popular sport in Kalpitiya as the winds and waters in this part of the Indian Ocean are ideal to help kitesurfers make their way across the water. Uncrowded spots and endless pristine waters are what kitsurfers are looking out for to practice this sport. Kalpitiya has a lagoon which is ideal as there are no waves, yet the winds are amazing. A number of kitesurfing schools are available in Kalpitiya for equipment rental and to provide lessons for those interested in trying out the sport.
Kalpitiya is the best place to observe dolphins in their natural habitat. During the peak season – from November to April, dolphin pods of up to 1000 can be seen at most given times. Accommodation options in all budgets are now available in Kalpitiya as tourism picks up in this part of the country. You can choose to stay in 3-4 star accommodation such as Dolphin beach resort, or try out a beach glamping experience at Kodev Kalpitiya, or stay in one of the many boutique villas located along the Kalpitiya lagoon.
A boat ride is then organized either from your accommodation or from the main navy point to head away from the coast, into the deep waters, in search of dolphin pods. Spinner dolphins, Bottlenose, Risso, and Indo-Pacific Humpbacks are some of the species that are spotted here along with rare sightings of whale species such as the Sperm Whale, Blue Whale, Minke, Melon-headed Sperm and Dwarf Sperm. The entire experience usually begins at about 7.00 am and takes about 3 hours, from start to finish, and by the end of it, you are left feeling absolutely satisfied!
Kalpitiya is located along the coastal waters that border the peninsula, which is a common habitat for several dolphin pods, and an ideal location for whale and dolphin sightings, without having to venture out too far into the ocean. A belt known as the “Dolphin Line” running parallel to the peninsula showed large sightings of Spinner Dolphins, which resulted in the town gaining a widespread reputation as a whale and dolphin watching destination in 2005.
The boat excursions usually begins from the Alankuda beach and are conducted by trained and certified guides who also have a basic knowledge in English so they can impart valuable knowledge to visitors with regard to the behaviors of these subtle creatures and the threats they face due to activities that disrupt their natural habitat such as noise pollution, over-fishing, chemicals and other negligent human disturbance. Visitors are advised to be mindful and avoid disturbing and causing stress to these enchanting creatures.
During the seasonal months, the sea is less rough, contributing to higher visibility of dolphins amidst the deep-sea waters. Dolphins from other parts of the world also migrate to this peninsula during the winter season – to get away from the cold waters. The famous Bar Reef is where guides are usually headed every morning with boats full of visitors to spot the common long snouted Spinner dolphins. These charming and playful acrobats put on a good show for their guests and are a delight to see!
December to April are the best months for whale watching in Kalpitiya, with March and April being the most ideal. Five types of whales (mentioned above) are seen here in pods of up to 7, 15, 20 or even 50! Currently on the list of endangered species, these mammals are the largest toothed predators/whales that exist on the face of the earth. Sperm whales have the largest brain in existence, which weighs four times more than a human brain. Many years of whaling has resulted in them becoming extinct from regions such as South Australia. Sperm Whales are sometimes spotted with sightings of pelagic seabirds.
How to include Kalpitiya into your Sri Lanka tour itinerary?
Tour consultants at Blue Lanka Tours can assist you with your travel itinerary and advice on the best way to include the west coast destination of Kalpitiya in your Sri Lanka holiday. Most often, Kalpitiya is coupled with Negombo or Chilaw, Kalpitiya next, and then moving onto Wilpattu National Park and other destinations in the hill country or cultural triangle as per your preferences. We have pre-planned tour itineraries in Sri Lanka that you can go through and if these don’t match your preferences, our team is happy to prepare a tailor-made tour package for you. Get in touch with us now to plan your holiday in Sri Lanka!