A key destination for nature lovers, Kalpitiya is a coastal area on the Western shoreline of Sri Lanka.
It sits on a peninsula - 48 km long and 6-8 km wide between the Puttalam lagoon and the Indian Ocean. 14 islands make up 1673 hectares of land which known as Kalpitiya and the area is designated as a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangrove swamps, marshes and vast sand dunes. The ocean at Kalpitiya is renowned for observing large pods of dolphins and whales, and with hundreds of spinner dolphins frolicking on the waters Kalpitiya is fast becoming a celebrated location for spotting them. Whales too, are regularly seen off the Kalpitiya shores with Sperm Whales and the occasional Blue Whale gracing the waves. The Bar Reef at Kalpitiya is the largest coral reef (307 square km) in Sri Lanka. Just an hour’s boat ride it is paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. Rich in bio-diversity, the reef is home to an incredible variety of tropical fish as well as manta rays, reef sharks and sea turtles.
Kalpitiya is a relatively untouched coastal area and is the ideal place for all types of water related activities, snorkeling being one of them. The best place for snorkeling is at the Bar Reef. This reef is the largest living reef in Sri Lanka and is home to over 156 species of coral and 283 species of tropical fish. One can also see Manta Rays, Reef Sharks and if lucky sea turtles. This reef is full of bio diversity and is a complex system of reefs which run parallel to the beach and extends up to the islands separating the Portugal bay and the Gulf of Mannar. This is a beautiful underwater spot and should be visited if you are going snorkeling. This reef can easily be reached by fiber glass boats. This spot has no strong currents and is only influenced by small tide changes occasionally as a result it is the perfect spot for snorkeling.
Diving is another popular past time tourists participate in when they visit the coastal paradise Kalpitiya. Visitors to the area can dive at the Bar Reef but in addition to this spot there are two other spots where one is able to see beautiful exotic fish making their diving experience unique.
The ridge is a spot where one can experience the ocean at a greater depth and is best accessible from Turtle Point Lodge. This ridge is 2 km in length and 30m in depth giving tourists the experience of a lifetime. Some of the fish that can be seen here include Rock Cod, Large Grouper and Hump head Wrasse. There are also underwater caves that can be explored.
The other spot is the Pearl Banks which is 3 hours away from Turtle Point Lodge and if lucky visitors may get the chance to see pearl oysters!! Diving is just one of the few incredible experiences that Kalpitiya has to offer therefore if you get the chance to go diving do not pass it up as you will regret it.
There are several priests who speak English and are able to answer questions regarding the kovil. When entering shoes must be removed and men have to remove their shirts too. One has the opportunity to say a prayer by the sacred tree, which can be found near the temple and take a cloth threaded in gold wrap a few coins and tie it to a tree.
This kovil represents punctuality, neatness and order and is a religious haven for Hindu devotees. It is also the focus of an extravagant Hindu festival which happens during 25 days in the months of July and August. Note that some displays of self mutilation by entranced devotees can be quite disturbing, especially for younger travellers.
Talawila is a small cozy town nestled in the Kalpitiya peninsula. It is here that the famous sanctuary of St. Anne’s stands. Legend has it that a boat dedicated to St.Anne which belonged to European traders was shipwrecked off of Talawila in the 18th century. In search of a resting place they found a banyan tree and placed a statue of St. Anne they had bought near the tree. Here the trader vowed to come back and make a church and it is this church that stands even today.
Thousands of devotees from all around the island and the world especially Catholics visit this church everyday. It is the perfect place for seeking solace and prayer. Although the surrounding may be unappealing the church itself is beautifully made. This church has it’s annual festival during August and attracts thousands of devotees. There is an atmosphere of calmness that surrounds the church and is everything you would expect an ideal church to be.
Kite surfing an up and coming water activity and there is no better place to do it than on Kalpitiya’s blue waters. The ideal time to kite surf is between the months of May to September. Wind levels range from 20 to 25 knots and sometimes even exceed up to 30 knots and as a result one is guaranteed a good kite surfing experience.
Kalpitiya has a range of areas for kite surfing making it suitable for people of all ages to try it out. There are flat water lagoons for beginners, wave riding spots for more experienced people and even sand banks and islands for excursions. There are 2 main spots for kite surfing; Kalpitiya Lagoon and Kappaladi Lagoon which are suitable for people that require it for free style, flat water, free ride and those who need instruction lessons. Kite surfing is an amazing experience and there is no other place to do it at than at Kalpitiya.
Dolphin and Whale Watching
Over the recent years Kalpitiya has become famous for being the best spot for watching dolphins and whales on the west coast. Fortunately Kalpitiya is situated in the area where these mammals pass when migrating as a result Kalpitiya tends to draw many local and foreign travelers to see these amazing mammals.
Although whales cannot be seen as easily as dolphins, Kalpitiya is the ideal place for whale and dolphin watching. The types of dolphins that can be seen include spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins, Fraser’s dolphins and the common dolphins. The ideal time to see dolphins is from November to March and you’ll quite often literarily see hundreds of them!
Some species of whales that can be seen include the largest mammal on earth; the blue whale, Bryde’s whales, sperm whales, killer whales, dwarf whales and if lucky the Indian Blue whale. These magnificent creatures are worth seeing and this is the best place to do so. There are many tours available daily too. Dolphin and whale watching is truly an experience which is quite unlike any other.
A saltern is a place of salt making. The process of salt making entails large pools of seawater on the beach which are kept under direct sunlight so that the water evaporates and leaves behind a residue of salt. These salterns can be found towards the Puttalam direction. It is a good experience to see how such an essential condiment is obtained and the process it has to go through to become edible salt. Not only is the visit to the salterns educational, it visitors will leave the premises enthralled.