Whale Watching in Sri Lanka
Visit the only resident whale and dolphin colonies in the world, including blue whales & humpback whales
Sri Lanka is home to the only resident whale and dolphin colonies in the world.
Seeing a whale jump up above the water, hang in the air for a split second and then come crashing back into the water, for the first time in your life can be a life changing experience. When you go whale watching in Sri Lanka, you can see this happening on a daily basis.
Sri Lanka is home to the world’s only resident whale and dolphin colonies in the world. These large colonies are spread out around the coast of this small tear-drop Island and there are plenty of whale watching tours available for you to use to go see these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
With regard to whale watching, it is all about being at the right place at the right time. Below you can find information about where you can find whales around Sri Lanka and at which time of the year.
When to Go Whale Watching in Sri Lanka
You can see up to ten different species off the Sri Lankan coast, including fin, Bryde’s, minke, humpback, sperm, and of course a plethora of dolphins, between late November and mid April. However, to spot the marine meister, schmoozing its way through the waves, you will have to be patient. You will be able to see mighty blue whales between the months of February and mid March . A brief window, but you won’t miss it if you blink, that’s for sure. The reason why this is the best time to see blue whales in Sri Lanka is thanks to the tiny critter called krill – small crustaceans named by Norwegians and meaning, literally “small fry of fish”, and on which blue whales thrive as they migrate around the world’s oceans. There is nothing small fry about their predators though, even though this is pretty much all they eat.
If you are combining your whale watching trip with a wildlife safari to Yala National Park, February, March and April are perfect months to visit. Because even though the coastal waters are full the water tables in the national park are low, and so animals come out to exposed lakes to drink – giving us a wonderful show while they are at it. December and January are peak tourism season in Sri Lanka, when the October – November monsoon has passed, so if you want to avoid the crowds on board the boats, head there February and March, which is when the blue whales join the party anyway.
Where to Go Whale Watching in Sri Lanka
The southern coast around Galle and Mirissa are not only where the whale watching companies are located but also where watching the carnival of cetaceans is best. This is because the continental shelf here is very narrow and so you can access deep waters very quickly and easily. You can also access this part of the coast easily by taking the famous coastal train journey from Colombo to Galle, not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historic 16th century fort, but also a hub of funky little hotels, cafes with, of course, superb seafood.
Whale watching is still a growing sector in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, with most people visiting either for the Cultural Triangle or other wildlife watching and, in particular elephants which are the country’s national animal. Consequently, there are many organisations cashing in on cetaceans now, and so we recommend that you take care when booking and only go whale watching with responsible tourism operators. It is important for you and the whales that your whale watching experience is a responsible one. See, for example, if the trip is accredited by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and if the company has a responsible tourism policy. At the moment there is almost no government regulation in place with regards to whale watching, so the more people who ask for responsible whale watching policies, the better.