Located 167 km north of Colombo on the western coastal belt, Kalpitiya is an undiscovered destination in Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya, the long peninsula that separates Puttalam lagoon from the Indian Ocean, together with a string of offshore islands is emerging as a new tourist hotspot being blessed with a plethora of attractions as well as driven by the government's efforts to develop it as an attractive tourist destination.
At a glance
-Area : 16.73 km2 -Population : Approx 65,000
-Distance : 167 km north of Colombo
-Province : Northwestern Province
-Climate : Hot and humid over the year reaching max temperature
33oC and rainy during November and December.
Most popular for its stunning pristine beaches and as a dolphin & whale watching hotspot, Kalpitiya is essentially a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and gorgeous beaches in the tropics. Moreover, Kalpitiya offers you a host of activities to do both in the sea and in the air such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, paramotoring, dolphin & whale watching, and so on. What more.. this fantastic destination in the tropics offers you hot and spicy dishes of delicious sea foods like prawns, cuttlefish, crabs, oysters etc., prepared in natural way without additives.
Getting to Kalpitiya
You could get to Kalpitiya by bus. Buses to Kalpitiya (Route No. 6) leave from the Colombo Central Bus Station (private and public) in Pettah. On the other hand, you could get a Puttalam-bound bus and get down at the Puttalam town. Then take a bus at Puttalam town to Kalpitiya. Puttalam-bound Intercity A/C buses run to and from Colombo.
What to do at Kalpitiya
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
Kalpitiya is becoming a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Enthusiasts of aquatic adventures around the world flock to the Kalpitiya lagoon to enjoy adventures like windsurfing, kitesurfing and other activities. The windsurfing and kitesurfing season at Kalpitiya lasts from May to September. Hotels and resorts in the area offer facilities for these activities.
Paramotoring (Powered Paragliding)
For those who are into aero adventures, there is an opportunity at Kalpitiya to enjoy paramotoring. Paramotoring service is available at Udappuwa, a village 70 km south of the Kalpitiya Town.
Paramotoring is relatively easy to learn to fly, and being foot launched, do not need an airfield or runway. They can take off from an open, flat field with no need to find a hill site facing into wind, or even to wait for the wind to blow.
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kalpitiya is one of the few places for dolphin and whale watching in Sri Lanka and it is only at Kalpitiya that dolphins and whales could be spotted without sailing out to deep seas. The dolphin watching season at Kalpitiya begins in November and lasts up to March. During this season, thousands of dolphins could be spotted. It is best for whale watching at Kalpitiya from November to December and from March to April and during these seasons, Blue whales, Minke whales, melon-headed and dwarf sperm whales could mostly be spotted. Alankuda beach is the most popular for dolphin and whale watching at Kalpitiya. Hotels and resorts in the area carry out dolphin/whale watching tours.
Snorkeling & Diving
Kalpitiya is home to Sri Lanka's largest living coral reef "Bar Reef" which can be reached in a half an hour boat ride. Snorkeling and diving are done at the site of this spectacular Bar Reef in Kalpitiya. Hotels and resorts in the area provide facilities for snorkeling and diving.
If you are into kayaking, you can do it at Kalpitiya. Some hotels at Kalpitiya offer facilities for kayaking in the lagoon and coastline.
Attractions in and around Kalpitiya
Pristine tropical beaches at Kalpitiya attract hundreds of tourists from around the world. These undiscovered beaches in the tropics promise a host of recreational sports and adventures. Breathtaking coral reefs, giant marine mammals and coconut groves make these gorgeous beaches a heaven for holidaymakers.
Lying at the northern tip of the Kalpitiya peninsula, the fort built by the Dutch in 1666 and reconstructed in 1676 at the place where the Portuguese had a stockade and a Jesuit chapel is a landmark at Kalpitiya. The 4-metre tall rampart still remains in a good condition and the fort built of corals consists of a commander's house, barrack rooms, a prison, two tunnels and several go-downs. The Dutch logo at the entrance represents a palmyrah which indicates prosperity and an elephant; elephants were used to build the fort. The Fort is currently occupied by Sri Lanka Navy and permission to visit the site has to be obtained. A Navy guide explains everything about the age-old fort to the visitors.
Close-by the Dutch Fort is the Kalpitiya fishery harbour operated by Sri Lanka Fisheries Corporation. Small boats as well as trawlers could be seen at the harbour. During off-season fishing is carried out in the lagoon whereas during the season, these multiday boats sail out to deep seas for fishing. Tuna is the mostly found fish and a variety of fish are harvested. All fishing details are recorded and fish is exported with such details. Therefore, the ultimate consumer may find where the particular fish was caught.
Dutch Reformed Church
Presently known as Christian Reformed Church, the Dutch Reformed Church is a Protestant church built by Dutch in 1706. One of the oldest Protestant churches in Sri Lanka, the church is located at Mutuwella Road, Kalpitiya a few metres west of the Kalpitiya town. The church is currently abandoned yet it is remaining in a good condition. The original Dutch tombstones can still be found on the church's floor and belfry is also visible beside the church.
Bar Reef - Spectacular Coral Reefs
It is a complex of reefs stretching parallel to the coast from the northern end of the Kalpitiya peninsula to the islands. It has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish.
Talawila St Anne's Church
The Catholic shrine dedicated to St Anne lies in a beautiful location beside the seafront at Talawila, a township 17 km south of Kalpitiya town. Thousands of devotees throng here during the main feasts held in March and July.