Sri Lanka’s West Coast was once a land of extremes, with the north a diverse yet isolated area barely visited by tourists during the Civil War, and the south offering beach resorts dedicated to mass tourism. Today, vacationers are beginning to choose the beach side resorts north of Negombo and making their way to the Kalpitiya Peninsula to enjoy the wildlife and beautiful beaches, while the famously attractive southern resorts continue to draw an ever-increasing influx of visitors.
Home to the capital city and principal coastal resorts, the West Coast is Sri Lanka’s most developed region, and tourism is the main industry here. Stretching over 100 km (62 miles), the unbroken, palm- fringed coastline attracts many travelers to this part of the island every year. A diverse region, the West Coast offers attractions varying from busy commercial resorts, bucolic towns and pristine white-sand beaches. For centuries, this region has served as a gateway into the country for foreigners; Arab traders as well as European colonialists were drawn to its strategic position along the major trade routes. Even today, the West Coast provides visitors their first taste of the country, as a major international airport is located here.
With numerous coastal resort towns, the northern seaboard is now firmly on the tourist trail. However, rural life carries on as usual in the region’s provincial fishing villages. Further up the coast, the Kalpitiya Peninsula has much arable land and crops grow here abundantly. Yet it also has a few urban boutique resorts and is frequented by those who wish to escape the tourist rush. In stark contrast, the picture-postcard southwestern beaches have always been popular with holidaymakers. There are water sports on offer as well as opportunities to observe diverse marine life. Premier resorts, such as Bentota, have a selection of high-end accommodation options as we! as budget alternatives. The West Coast also attracts backpackers, who are drawn to the party atmosphere Surf in Hikkaduwa.
The seemingly endless West Coast is ideal for travelers seeking sun and sand. Towards the north of the province ms the largely untouched Kalpitiya Peninsula, carpeted y white sand beaches and boasting exceptional resorts centred around Alankuda Beach. The peninsula offers great kite surfing and whale and dolphin watching, and trips to Wilpattu National Park can be easily arranged from here. While travelling along the southwestern seaboard, many visitors choose to stay in the resort towns of Bentota and Beruwela, which are great bases to explore the surrounding area. Bentota is particularly well-known for its golden beach and characterful accommodation. In addition, visitors can undertake half day excursions inland to the fantastic Brief Garden and the enigmatic Lunuganga estate. Surfers and diving enthusiasts are naturally drawn to Hikkaduwa, while Kosgoda lures wildlife lovers with its numerous turtle hatcheries. more