About 1 km offshore from Nilaveli is the Marine national park of Pigeon Island, named after the blue rock pigeons that nest here. This rocky island has two small beaches and is a major draw among tourists for the excellent Snorkeling opportunities in the shallow waters of the bay. Although the area was affected by coral bleaching in 2011, live coral can still be seen here in addition to a number of tropical fish species and other marine life. Visitors are advised to be careful while walking barefoot on the beach as dead coral sometimes washes up unto the sand.
Pigeon Island is particularly popular at weekends and during public holidays. It is a good idea to arrive early as the island gets crowded by lunch time in high season, which extends from May to September. more