West Coast

From Negombo (just 37km from Colombo) to Mirissa (155km from Colombo), the beach destinations lining the west coast each have their own highlights and character. 

With its large five-star resorts, exclusive boutique hotels, and picturesque beaches, Bentota is breathtaking. Apart from swimming, body-surfing or diving, you can jet-ski, windsurf, or enjoy a romantic river safari on the river and lagoon. Its shallow, safe conditions are perfect for families. 

Madu Ganga River Safari
The scenic beauty of the Madu Ganga is best enjoyed on a boat trip, the perfect vantage for watching monkeys eat fruit in the trees, water monitor lizards gliding slowly through the river, and cormorants, egrets and kingfishers waiting patiently on the banks. There are around 64 islands, from a tiny speck with a deserted shrine to one housing 250 families connected to the mainland with a very long footbridge. 

Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery
The sight of newly-hatched sea turtles scrabbling out of their sandy nest chambers on a beach and scuttling towards the open sea is a joy to watch. Visit Kosgoda to see the eggs being buried in the sand and the baby turtles released into the sea at night. kosgodaseaturtle.org

Moonstone mines
There is a string of mines along the west coast, each claiming to be the only genuine moonstone mine. They are all a bit of a tourist trap but you can watch the process of digging, sieving, washing and polishing these beautiful white stones – before being led to the souvenir shop. 

One of the most famous beach resorts on the west coast, it’s renowned for its diving and coral reef, which can be viewed by glass bottom boat. This is the place to watch fishermen hauling in their catch of the day. The nightlife here is great too.

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