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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Whale Watching Hotspots In Sri Lanka – A Fishy Guide!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Whale Watching Hotspots In Sri Lanka – A Fishy Guide!

As an island, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant array of wildlife that will leave its visitors completely in awe! Whale watching has become one of the biggest tourist attractions!



Mirissa has become one of the most popular places for whale watching in Sri Lanka, and recognizing this, this coastal quiet has evolved into a thriving hub for tourists who are eager to get a glimpse of these magnificent fish in the sea. Whale watchers flock to the island for a chance to see the world's largest land mammal and sea mammal! The blue whale has often been spotted swimming in the tropical waters off the coast of Mirissa and many tour operators such as Jetwing Eco Holidays will be able to plan your holiday to Mirissa and even to the several other locations in the country where you can spot whales throughout the year! The season for whale watching in this coastal town is between the months of November to April – right before the south west monsoon strikes the country; making it almost impossible to spot any whales due to the rough seas. The blue whale population are migratory; usually travelling from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal; however, there are even a few permanent residents!



On the east of the country, is the sunny city of Trincomalee, the island's second most popular hub for tourists who wish to watch some whales, especially blue whales! After Mirissa, the waters off Trincomalee are the most common spot to see the world's largest sea mammal. Whales have been known to swim quite close to the shore as there's a large submarine canyon which makes it one of the world's deepest natural harbours. The peak month to watch some whales in Trincomalee is March, while it has been noted there is a rare chance of spotting them by May, due to the onset of the south west monsoon. The season picks up again from July to September which provides calmer seas. You will also be able to see sperm whales, Bryde's whales along with pods of dolphins playfully swimming along the boat.


Kalpitiya Peninsula

Kalpitiya is about a four-hour drive from Colombo. The waters of Kalpitiya are most popular for spotting large pods of spinner dolphins, bottlenose and Risso dolphins. Sperm whales are the most common type of whales that can be seen here, along with blue whales, minke, dwarf sperm whales and melon headed whales. The ideal times to spot whales are from November to December and March to April.


Whale types

Besides the famous and large blue whale, some of the other types of whales which can be spotted are humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales, minke whales, dwarf sperm whales, Bryde's whale, pygmy killer whales, false killer whales, melon headed whales, Cuvier's beaked whale amongst many others!


Important things to note

Boat operators usually leave the harbour by 6 am, so that by 9:30 am you'll be in the perfect spot to watch the whale. Boats tend to make its way back to the shore before noon as the waters tend to get choppier around mid day. Do keep in mind that you are not allowed to swim with these wild animals and throwing anything over board is strictly prohibited.

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