Sri Lanka is the right place for diving fans. Below you will find some of the best diving sites in Sri Lanka and some useful tips to travel to the country, such as applying for the mandatory visa.
Diving in the Indian Ocean
Sri Lanka is an island located just beyond the southernmost tip of India. With a coastline of almost 1600 km, it is not surprising that the island is known as one of the best locations to practice scuba diving. Much of Sri Lankaʼs coastline and beaches are still unspoilt, which makes for an abundance of exotic marine life; from tiny brightly coloured fish to mighty blue whales. Sri Lanka used to be an important stop for trade along the Silk Road. For this reason, there are relatively many shipwrecks in the waters around the island.
The waters in Sri Lanka are pleasantly warm throughout the year (the average is 27 degrees Celsius). Therefore, you do not need special swimwear, except if you plan to go deeper into the water. October to May is the best diving period in the west and south-west of the country, while May to October is the best time to scuba dive on the north-east coast.
Apply for a visa
Before you choose the best diving spots in Sri Lanka, you should first apply for a visa Sri Lanka. You can easily apply for the visa (ETA Sri Lanka) online. Applying takes about five minutes and the visa costs £44.95 per person. There are some conditions attached to the online Sri Lanka visa:
- Your passport must still be valid for at least 6 months after arrival in Sri Lanka.
- You must already have booked a return ticket
- You should have sufficient financial resources to pay for your stay.
If you meet these conditions, you can apply for the visa online without any problems, and after approval it will be sent to you by mail.
The best diving spots Sri Lanka
Because Sri Lanka has such a long coastline, it is important to find out in advance what the best diving locations are. Below are some of the most popular dive sites in Sri Lanka.
The small village of Kalpitiya is located on the north-west coast of Sri Lanka. This site is a marine reserve, which means that a great diversity of marine life can be found here, from fish to crustaceans and sea turtles. However, Kalpitiya is best known for the dolphins and whales that can be spotted there. The long-necked dolphin is not to be missed during a visit to Kalpitiya: these dolphins are also known as the "spinner dolphins" because they jump out of the water, spinning at lightning speed around their longitudinal axis.
The capital Colombo is mainly known for its broad cultural offer, such as the National Museum and the Pettah Market, but it is also an excellent location for diving. The waters around Colombo are especially known for the shipwrecks that can be found there, from World War I ships to recent ones from 2012. There are more than a dozen shipwrecks, some at depths of up to 57 m. Divers can swim among these shipwrecks to admire the coral reefs that can be found there.
At a distance of 15 km from the international airport is Negombo. Negombo is especially known because of Barracuda Point, where, not surprisingly, large groups of barracudas can be found. Besides Barracuda Point, in the waters of Negombo you will also find shipwrecks, just like in Colombo. The best known of these are the 112 metres Chief Dragon and an aircraft carrier from 1945.
Trincomalee is the main dive site on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is perhaps the most diverse diving place in Sri Lanka. Unlike the diving spots in Colombo, where there is little special to be found apart from the shipwrecks from the Second World War (such as Japanese "Zero Fighters" and British "Hurricanes"), Trincomalee also has a lot of marine life that is difficult to find elsewhere. At Black Tip Rock, you can find reef sharks, which sometimes swim around in groups of up to 20. White Rock is home to many species of stingrays, while Eel Rock is famous for its eels.