Often referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an incredible place for world-class snorkeling and diving! Enclosed by a beautiful palm-rimmed coastline, there are many diving sites which provide spectacular sights ranging from abundant species of tropical fish and other marine life to breathtaking shipwrecks, making this beautiful tropical island paradise one of the best world-class diving sites!
Trincomalee, located on the east coast, is known for its vast, serene stretches of white sandy beaches, which slope gently into the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The sea in this area is calm and crystal bright, ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Pigeon Island, floating a few kilometers away from the coast, is a very small island, entirely covered with pure-white coral, which offers breathtaking underwater scenes of more coral, tropical fish, and other forms of marine life.
Further down the southeast coast, Arugam Bay is not only a world-class diving site but also a quiet place which offers fantastic snorkeling and diving experiences. A unique experience could be a short boat ride to the Basses Reefs, which are marked by two lighthouses, and one of the top diving sites in Sri Lanka. This coral reef is composed of two enormous reef complexes which are drawn out off the coast of Yala National Park. The underwater delights here are spectacular, ranging from clear blue water to ancient rugged sandstone formations, to an abundance of beautiful marine life.
The southern diving locations near Yala National Park are popular for their beautiful natural bays fringed with palm trees. The seas are slightly rougher than other coastal areas along this coast, yet the soft golden beaches and clear water attract many tourists with views of beautiful coral reefs and jewel-hued fish. Sea turtles are commonly spotted here.
The west coast is slightly rougher and more dynamic than the east. Most towns here are developed and have the most necessities required for tourism in which it thrives. The sea on the west coast is best for snorkeling and scuba diving from November to April.
For an avid diver, the coral sanctuary around Hikkaduwa should be a must, with a large shallow area enclosed by a renowned reef that is protected. Snorkeling is the most environmentally friendly way of enjoying the wonders beneath the gently crashing waves, and almost every property offers diving facilities.
The north-western coast has an untouched stretch of beautiful beach which offers remarkable snorkeling and scuba diving. The largest coral reef in Sri Lanka, the Bar Reef, is just an hour’s boat ride away from the coast. This breathtakingly beautiful reef is home to numerous species of tropical fish, including manta rays, sharks, turtles, and other forms of marine life protected by colorful layers of coral. Further out is Turtle Point Lodge, which consists of two underwater ridges, and the beautiful Pearl Banks, which is a protected home to rare pearl oysters and various other forms of marine life. Both spots are perfect for scuba diving opportunities. The underwater currents here are rather faint, making snorkeling and diving safe and pleasant activities.