Negombo is essentially a beach destination located on the west coast of the island 34 km north of Colombo and 6 km north of Sri Lanka's main international airport. Over the decades, Negombo has been quite a tourist hub just as much as other coastal cities like Galle and Trincomalee. One of the largest commercial cities in Sri Lanka, Negombo promises a fine destination in the tropics. Negombo is famous for its gorgeous sandy beach as well as the old fishing industry.
At a glance
-Area : 34 km2 (Metro)
-Population : Approx 165,000 (Metro)
-Distance : 35 km north of Colombo (1/2-hr drive on expressway), -Province : Western Province -Climate : Hot and humid over the year, average temperature lies between 24oC and 30oC and rainy from May to August and from October to January.
Negombo has one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka and this tropical sandy beach coupled with the surrounding star-class hotels attracts scores of tourists around the world. "Beach Park" of Negombo also attracts visitors. Among activities in Negombo water sports and diving are popular among the vacationers.
Being a fishing town and home to Sri Lanka's second largest fish market, Negombo is popular as a paradise of fresh seafood. Auctions of fish are held daily and visitors have opportunity to buy fish and even go fishing in the lagoon or deep seas with local fishermen
Initially built by the Portuguese to defend Colombo, the fort of Negombo was destroyed and rebuilt by the Dutch in 1640 on a pentagonal pattern with four bulwarks near the lagoon. Moats had been built to protect the fort and the gate was accessible through a drawbridge. Today, a few walls and the fine arched gateway inscribed with the date 1678 of this old Dutch fort can be seen and most of the fort remains ruined.
Lying in the Negombo lagoon towards south of the Negombo city, Muturajawela is a 6,000-hectare marshy land which is home to a variety of flora and fauna numerically 192 flora and 209 fauna. Considering the rich biodiversity of this marsh, it has been declared as s sanctuary by the government since 1996. More popular among birders, Muturajawela abounds with a large number of avifauna specially waterfowls such as herons and egrets. Sri Lanka Slender Loris can very rarely be spotted at Muturajawela which is also home to a number of ichthyofauna.
Muturajawela Marsh Centre provides much assistance to visitors in terms of education, boat rides etc. It is best to visit this beautiful march early in the morning or evening.
Yet another beach destination in the tropics, Marawila is a town located 27 km north of Negombo and 22 km south of Chilaw. The long golden beach with palm-fringed terrain has made Marawila a paradise of beach-loving vacationers from around the world. Hotels and resorts in the area offer accommodation, dining and facilities for water sports.