Dolphin Watching In Kalpitiya

October 18, 2020

Dolphin Watching In Kalpitiya

Kalpitiya peninsula is widely known for dolphin spotting. That’s not all! Tourists can plan a visit to Kalpitiya to watch perfect sunsets.

The lagoon is especially known for adventure activities like wind surfing and kite surfing. Well, you could plan a long day at Kalpitiya or stay at one of the luxury hotels in this area. There is plenty to do around this peninsula. Dolphin watching in Kalpitiya is a popular activity and tourists should not miss the opportunity of witnessing the happy creature.

Here’s an elaborate post that talks about dolphin watching in Kalpitiya. In case you are planning a tour to this wondrous and vibrant island nation, you must know about the dolphin watching tour, timings, best month to visit, and the activities you can indulge in. Ready to dive into the article?

Note: This is especially meant for travellers who are keen to visit the island to witness the dolphins. Even if you are remotely interested in visiting Sri Lanka, read this post as dolphin watching is one of the most interesting activities.

Types of Dolphins You Can Spot In Kalpitiya

There are many types of dolphins in the world. In Kalpitiya, the most common dolphin you could spot is the ‘Spinner Dolphin’. You can find the following types of dolphins in Sri Lankan ocean

1. Bottle Nose Dolphin – Bottlenose dolphins can be found in warm waters across the globe. Sri Lanka is one of them. They have a lifespan of over 50 years and a big bottlenose dolphin could weigh about 1100 pounds. This specific type of dolphin has a height similar to a 6 ft man.

Bottlenose dolphins have a curved mouth and they are easy to train. In Sri Lanka, the locals respect the ocean and its aquatic creatures (especially the dolphins and whales). The dolphin spotting tour in Sri Lanka is ethical and does not harm the aquatic creatures.

The bottlenose dolphins always travel in a social group. They use squeaking and whistling to communicate with each other. If you hear whistling sounds, you would know that a bottlenose dolphin is near your boat. 

2. Humpback Dolphin – Sadly, Humpback dolphins are an endangered species. As per researchers and marine life experts, the humpback dolphins usually die in shark nets. You can find small as well as medium-sized humpback dolphins. If you get to see a humpback dolphin in Kalpitiya waters, don’t forget to click a picture.

3. Risso’s Dolphin – Risso’s dolphin is also known as the ‘Monk dolphin’. That’s what the Taiwanese fishermen call them! In Sri Lanka, it is easy to find Risso’s dolphin. These dolphins have the ability to hold their breath for about 30 minutes. Did you know that a Risso’s dolphin could weigh up to 500 kilograms? That’s a whopping number!

4. Spinner’ dolphin – Let’s talk about the most commonly found ‘Spinner’ dolphin. These are quite famous in Kalpitiya waters. They are specifically known for their acrobatic abilities. When you spot a spinner dolphin, the elegance of this creature will sweep you off the floor.

The Spinner dolphin leaps and spins! The whole act is quite interesting and is pleasing to the human eye. Spinner dolphins are relatively smaller in size. They weigh up to 80 kilograms and the gestation period happens to be around 10 months/304 days.

Best Season For Dolphin Watching In Kalpitiya

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Ready to see pods of thousand dolphins? If the answer is a firm YES, then Kalpitiya is the best destination. November to April is the best time to visit Kalpitiya for a dolphin watching tour. Why is that so?

During this time, the monsoon season comes to an end. The water is much calmer and the aquatic creatures are happy to come and greet you. Please note that Sri Lanka witnesses two monsoon seasons. November to April is the best time for wildlife safaris, adventure sports (water sports), and whale/dolphin spotting.

Although Sri Lanka is good for a holiday all-year-round, but November to April-end, the water is of comfortable temperature and weather is pleasant.

Another reason why it is the dolphin watching season is because the ocean stays calm. The water is not choppy or violent! This way the boat rides are safer and the chances of drowning are lesser. On second thoughts, good tour operators will ensure your safety and will give you the necessary gear to stay safe. Additionally, there is always an expert swimmer on the boat who would ensure that you stay secure.

When the sea is calm, it becomes easier to spot a dolphin. When the water is choppy and violent, the whales and dolphins cannot be spotted clearly. You must know that dolphins avoid choppy waters or the windy sea. The dolphin pods gather in the warm water to feed. Do you know that dolphins sing? It will be astonishing to hear them sing in their own language.

In the year 2005, Kalpitiya became a famous spot for dolphin watching. This is because a group spotted a number of spinner dolphins here.

Dolphin Spotting Tour – Everything You Need To Know

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Since you are keen to watch the dolphins at Kalpitiya, we will tell you everything about the tour.

For starters, it is best to head out for the expedition in the morning. Majority of the dolphin watching tours start early in the morning at 7 AM. This is a good time to head out because the weather is kinder and water temperature is perfect. The chances of spotting pods of dolphins is much higher in the morning. Avoid afternoon time as the weather turns harsh.

Choose a legit and famous tour operator. Generally, a boat would consist of 6 people. All the necessary gear is provided to the on-board travellers. The guide takes you to the ‘dolphin line’ where you can find hundreds of spinner dolphins playing around with the waves, swimming around your boat, and jumping up with joy.

There are certain do’s and don’ts to follow. We shall cover that in the next section. The operator picks you up from a spot/your hotel. Have your breakfast before starting and keep it light. Jump on to the boat and head off-shore.

The boat tour lasts about 3-4 hours. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing, enough sunscreen, and a hat. The tropical weather is kind, but you must be prepared for the bright sunshine too. Kalpitiya experiences some extreme humid months. The hottest months being May to July. Avoid heading out for a dolphin spotting boat tour during these months.

Only certified guides have the permission to take you for a dolphin spotting ride. They will tell you everything about the types of dolphins, the do’s and don’ts, and the plight of the aquatic creatures. Basically, it will be an enriching tour where you get to know everything about the ocean, the dolphins, and even the whales.

Since Sri Lankan locals are sensitive towards the whales and dolphins, they carry out the boat tour in the most respectable manner.The boat consists of 6 people (maximum) and a boat driver and guide tag along in the expedition. The operator carry a special dolphin watching pass. Make sure you are choosing a legit operator who abides by the law.

When you book a tour, you will come across packages. When there are 4-6 people on the boat, the cost is cheaper as compared to having one person on the boat. Another thing you must know is that certain tour operator offer private tours too. You can speak to them about the package! No matter how many people are there, the private tour will be tailor-made for you.

Do’s and Don’ts in Dolphin Spotting Tours

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Your Sri Lanka tour is incomplete without a fun dolphin spotting tour. If you are wondering whether you will spot a dolphin or not, let us tell you that the chances of spotting dolphins is high. Make sure you are choosing a good tour operator and not an amateur.

Before you book a tour, skim through the do’s and don’ts to ensure you have a safe and happy trip!


  • Find the best tour guide in Sri Lanka. An experienced tour operator will offer you the best package. Read the reviews and ratings of the operator. Thankfully,  you can get all these details online.
  • Make sure you get all equipment for your dolphin spotting tour. Wear your life vest at all times. The water is deep and accidents can happen. For your safety, wear the life jacket during the tour. Consider wearing glasses and a hat just to stay protected from the harsh sun.
  • Taking back memories with you IS possible. How about taking a water-proof camera along with you. When you head to Kalpitiya for a dolphin watching tour, it is possible that you will get to see more aquatic creatures such as the whale or other exotic fishes. The water is sparkling clean which means you might find more aquatic creatures. The dolphin is a confident, friendly, and happy creature. When they head to your boat to greet you, the camera will allow you to click a clearer photo. You can take a waterproof camera or you could invest in a water-proof phone case.
  • Allow the dolphin to come to you. Amateur boat drivers are quite rash! They speed the boat to chase the aquatic creatures. This is not the right way to approach dolphin spotting tours! Always let the dolphin come near you. If you follow the dolphins, they will get scared and would never come to greet you.


  • Never feed the dolphins or any other aquatic creature. The ocean is vast and there is plenty of food in the water. Please note that dolphins eat crustaceans, krill, octopus, squids, fishes, and plankton. They do not need human food or any other meat. Do you have to worry about their diet? The answer is NO!
  • Never try to touch the dolphins or any other aquatic creature. The dolphins may seem friendly, but they are wild creatures. However, they are not your pets. Dolphins are wild, free, and like to greet people from a far-off distance. Hence, you should never try to touch or mock them.
  • Young children and even some adults have a habit of teasing or mocking the sea creatures. Avoid doing that at all costs. Harassing animals is against the federal law. Always remember that!
  • If your boat driver is being harsh and is speeding the boat, it is your responsibility to correct them. Never indulge in irresponsible behaviour. Respect the habitat of the sea creatures.

What else does Kalpitiya offer?

Apart from dolphin watching tours, there are many more activities to indulge in Kalpitiya. Wish to find out more about these activities? Keep reading!

  • Serene Beaches: There are two stunning beaches in Kalpitiya – Kudawa and Alankuda. If you are interested to swim, these beaches stay calm and swimmer-friendly. No  matter what time of the year it is, the beach is good for swimmers. Head to the beaches at 6 PM and watch the sunset with your beloved.
  • Diving and Snorkelling: Since the water is crystal clear, it is quite inviting. Get snorkel gear and explore the waters. You will find a variety of fishes inside the sea. Also, the local accommodations in the area or even the luxury hotel can arrange diving sessions.

    There are many diving schools in Sri Lanka. Perhaps you can learn how to dive before taking a dip in the sea. Even non-swimmers can dive! However, you would need some basic training.
  • Windsurfing: Do a quick course on windsurfing. Since the water is calm, you will be able to indulge in this adventure activity. Avoid monsoon season for any water sports.
  • Whale Watching: Kalpitiya is a major spot for whale watching. December to April is the best time to spot the whales. You can witness the beauty of sperm whales here. Don’t forget to spot the blue whales. These are the largest mammals on Planet Earth.

You will also spot the following whales in Kalpitiya:

  • Dwarf
  • False Killer
  • Melon-Headed Whale
  • Bryde’s Whale
  • Cuvier Beaked Whale

The Indian blue whale is rarely spotted, but the lucky ones get to see them.

Please note that the largest coral reef is just 1 hour away from Kalpitiya. You can witness the beauty of reef sharks and manta rays. Although Kalpitiya is a pleasant spot to visit throughout the year, but we suggest travellers to avoid monsoon month.

Words from the Wise

Isn’t it surprising how one island houses all the beauty of the world? Sri Lanka is a wonderful place to visit. Whether you are travelling with your family or heading for a honeymoon, Sri Lanka will not disappoint you.

There is something for everyone on this island! Dolphin watching in Kalpitiya will lift up your spirits!

When the spinner dolphins perform their acrobatic spins, it puts a smile on everyone’s face. It is quite endearing, mesmerizing, and astonishing!

So, plan a trip to Kalpitiya and stay at one of the beautiful hotels in the area. Don’t forget to create a fun itinerary with snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, whale and dolphin watching as a part of the menu.


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Hi, I am Richard, I moved to Sri Lanka with my family in 2016. We launched the website so we can share what we experience, learn with anyone interested in visiting Sri Lanka. The country is such an amazing island. I invite all of you to be here at least once in your lifetime.