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Meet the Cetaceans

Giants cruise the depths around this teardrop-shaped island. Blue whales and other awe inspiring species make frequent appearances, and the south coast offers almost guaranteed sightings in the season. Seeing these ocean titans at close quarters is a moment that sends tingles down your spine.

Spot these magnificent kings of the ocean at Mirissa on the south coast over the winter season, or the east coast in the summer, specifically at Nilaveli.

The south coast season runs from November to April, while the east coast gets in on the action during the summer months, as does Kalpitiya on the northwest coast in the winter. Watch dolphins and porpoises swimming close to the boat, and keep a look out for whales breaching the surface: great pods making their way through the tropical sea...

“ We were in 2 minds about the whale trip, the early start isn’t really us on holiday but the experience was amazing and we talked of nothing but the whales for the rest of the day. A really, really magnificent experience and humbling to the point of feeling quite emotional”.


For anyone with sea legs, it’s difficult to pass the southern resort of Mirissa and not find yourself, as dawn breaks, hopping into a boat and heading out of the harbour towards the open ocean. Cruise over waters that change from emerald green and azure to deep, deep blue as they fathom away over the drop off, and pause to await the arrival of the whales. 

In Mirissa, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you are pretty much guaranteed a sighting. Unless you’re a serious photography fanatic, we’d suggest putting the cameras away - successfully using a camera on a bobbing boat is one of life’s great challenges, and it’s good advice just to enjoy the moment. The majesty of these animals usually silences everybody and creates some extraordinary memories. 

We take our commitment to responsible wildlife encounters very seriously and only work with operators that are dedicated to high standards. Thankfully, the Sri Lankan authorities have strict rules that support this approach. If budget allows, the best way to see the whales and more is via a private charter out of Mirissa. Utter luxury aboard a stable catamaran means photography is easier (though still a serious skill). The food is outstanding, and the knowledge of the on-board naturalist completes the picture. Once you’re close to shore again, your mind whirring with images of the ocean, you can weigh anchor, break out the paddle boards and dive in.

We think you may like this journey…

surfing at Arugam bay

Sambol, Surf & Safari

Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.

Price from: £3,190 US$3,990
Ideal length 14 days
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