The relatively undiscovered Kalpitiya peninsular and lagoon is located in North Western cost of Sri Lanka. 120 kilometers north of the capital Colombo, Kalpitiya is one of the most beautiful and untouched coastal stretches in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. It is known for its serene beauty and the archipelago consists of 14 islands. This verdant, narrow strip of land is separated from the main island by the Puttalam Lagoon on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, housing natural habitats of diverse fauna and flora.

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Although being increasingly seen as an attractive tourist destination, Kalpitiya Lagoon is a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves, swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. It provides nursing grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. In addition to boasting of being famous as the first region in Sri Lanka to commence Dolphin and Whale watching, with the highest dolphin sighting ratio of around 93%, and some of the largest schools of dolphins around the shores of Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya also home to the Bar Reef, considered one of the best reefs in whole of Asia, offering a breathtaking display of the aquatic wonders of nature in all its vividness, not only to look at but also to experience up-close as the sea conditions during November to April each year are absolutely perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving.

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If not for the Spinner, Bottlenose and Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins, Olive Ridley Turtles and the multitude of native and migratory birds seen around, then its best to keep one’s eyes open for the largest mammals on earth, the Sperm and Blue whales since the area is known as a breeding ground for these beautiful creatures or for the docile yet heavily endangered Dugong which is only found in this region. Recreational diving and snorkeling in the area are phenomenal, given the multitude of shipwrecks, Pearl Banks and coral reefs in around the Lagoon. The consistent and strong wind and surf conditions makes it a heaven for avid Kite Surfers from all over the world who flock to this region primarily during the months of May up to August each year, turning the skies off the coast of Kalpitiya into a kaleidoscope of color dancing over the Indian Ocean.

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Rich and bountiful in natural beauty, Kalpitiya’s history is no less interesting. Records going far back reveal that the peninsula was associated with the maritime trade and smuggling escapades since ancient times especially during the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Yapahuwa eras. It was first colonized by the Portuguese in early 17th Century with the arrival of the Dutch eventually resulting in the ousting of the Portuguese from here and elsewhere in the island. Historical records show that during the Dutch period of the island’s colonial history, the northern end of the peninsula was used as a strategic base for a military garrison and naval outpost to monopolies trade supplies to the mainland. A well-preserved Dutch-era fort (incorporating an earlier Portuguese-era church) occupied by the Sri Lanka Navy, and a Dutch church remain today. Nearby at Talawila to the south, a vibrant annual festival keeps alive its Portuguese heritage, at the ancient St Anne’s church festival, where thousands of Catholic devotees descend upon the tiny village to celebrate St Anne’s Day on July 26, every year.

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Dutch Bay Island being one of the largest islands within the Kalpitiya archipelago also has the needed infrastructure and natural features to offer a unique experience to any visitor. Diving around amidst the many shipwrecks and swimming in the shallow waters are among the prominent attractions offered in this island. Kalpitiya is located in an area where one can experience most of what Sri Lanka has to offer with minimum travelling time, such as Wilpattu National Park, recognized as a Leopard hotspot, Anawilundawa Tank and Bird Sanctuary, which is home to a wide variety of endemic and migratory birds and the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural triangle cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the ancient and marvelous Citadel is only about a 100 Km.

Unlike other tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya offer visitors a chance to see and experience more of Sri Lanka with much less time on the road and much less of a hassle. It is a base from which while having escaped from the congestion of the main cities, to explore our paradise isle.