Whale Watching in Sri Lanka

Catching a glimpse of some of the world’s most majestic mammals in their natural habitat is a phenomenal experience one will carry with them forever in their memory box of truly breathtaking moments. And, if one can say that they have had a sweet encounter with the largest animal to ever live on this planet, a blue whale, hands down, it is a story worth listening to.

To sail away into the depths of the Indian ocean at sunrise, where there is glistening blue ocean stretched out to as far as the eye could see, and out of the blue, to catch a glimpse of a mighty blue whale creasing the surface of the water as they come out to catch a breath, and to watch as they dive back slapping their tail gently on water’s surface is truly an exhilarating experience.

Does this sound like an experience of a lifetime to you? Then, Sri Lanka should be on your bucket list, if not your next travel destination. Sri Lankan waters have been identified as one of the prime destinations in the world to sight Blue whales, along with other gentle giants such as Humpback whales, Sperm whales, Killer whales, Bryde’s whales, Fin whales, and pods of playful dolphins.

As the ocean surrounding this teardrop island is a feeding ground with tons of Krill for these graceful giants to feast on all year round, Sri Lankan waters become their playground as the ocean calms down with the passing of the monsoon season. Moreover, the blue and sperm whales migrate annually between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea through the beautiful coasts of Sri Lanka, turning Sri Lankan waters into an ideal destination to catch a glimpse of migrating whales.

The best places for whale watching in Sri Lanka:

The waters of this island are so gifted that no matter which time of the year you visit Sri Lanka, if you go searching for whales on the right coast at the right time, you are likely to spot these graceful giants.

Mirissa: Southern coast

Mirissa is arguably the best place for whale watching in Sri Lanka, and the ideal time for you to embark on this excursion is anytime between December to April, when the water in this region is calm. The journey in search of whales begins at sunrise as most boats set off from the Mirissa harbour around 6 am, carrying either a small group of about 8 people or large boats carrying about 50 people. During the 3 to 5 hours you are out on the gorgeous blue waters of Sri Lankan southern coast, you are likely to spot one or a few types of whales, including the mightiest of them all, a blue whale schmoozing through the waves, and pods of dolphins joyfully swimming beside your boat.

Trincomalee: North-Eastern coast

When the southern coast is experiencing monsoon waves and high tides between May to October, the whale watching moves towards the northeast coast of the island, which is by then blessed with calmer water. So, if you happen to visit Sri Lanka during this period of the year, your best bets in spotting whales are in Trincomalee. Unlike in Mirissa, in the waters of the northeast coast, you are more likely to spot sperm whales, while a blue whale is only likely to make an occasional appearance.

Kalpitiya: North-Western coast

If you visit Sri Lanka from December to April, Kalpitiya is the second-best place to go on a whale-watching excursion. Rich in both sunny beach views and lagoon views Kalpitiya peninsula is one of the favorite holiday destinations of Sri Lanka. Most whale watching excursion begins at dawn and during the 3- 4 hour search of whales in the northwest coast, you are likely to spot a sperm whale or two. And, even if you are not lucky enough to spot a mighty whale, the friendly smiles and the joyful playfulness of dolphins will leave you content.
No matter which time of the year you visit the pearl of the Indian ocean, you are in for a gorgeous treat of marine biodiversity, and if you are looking to have a whale of a time, Sri Lanka is just the place for you!