Where Can I See Dolphins in Sri Lanka

August 13, 2020

Where Can I See Dolphins in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Is Quite popular among the tourists for dolphin watching. With that said the next question that pops up is where can I see dolphins in Sri Lanka

Trincomalee and Kalpitiya are the best dolphin watching spots in Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya is the finest place to watch the dolphins from a close range. You can see dolphins on Mirissa too, but it is most famous for whales. In all these locations, you can watch the dolphins from close proximity. They swim elegantly and are quite people friendly.

Let’s cut to the chase and take a look at the spots where you can spot dolphins in Sri Lanka in detail

  • Kalpitiya –  Kalpitiya is located in Puttalam district, Northern Western province of Sri Lanka, which is closer to Colombo international airport. From Colombo airport, it will take around 3 hours to reach Kalpitiya and located 140km away from the airport. Dolphin watching in Kalptiya is one of the most famous tourist attraction among the tourist who loves marine life

    It will cost around 40 USD per person in Kalptiya.

    There are 14 islands around Kalpitiya, and some of the dolphin watching tours include tours to some of those islands too.
  • Trincomalee – Trincomalee is located on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka, which is a little faraway comparing to Kalpitiyat. From Colombo airport, it will take around 5 hours to reach Kalpitiya and located 240KM away from the airport. Trincomalee is also famous for whale watching. Although you have a better chance in Mirissa.

    It will cost around 35 USD per person in Trincomalee
  • Mirissa – Mirissa is located in the southern province of Sri Lanka. It will take around two and a half hours to reach Mirissa, and it is located 180Km away from the main airport. It is easier to reach Mirissa comparing to the other two locations because of the highway going nearby.

    It will cost around 50 USD per person in Mirissa.

    There are so many tourist spots around Mirissa, and it most famous for the whale watching tours. The southern province of Sri Lanka is full of amazing beaches. The famous Instagram photo location, which is called Coconut Tree Hill, also located in Mirissa.

The Best Time to Head To Sri Lanka For Dolphin Watching

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As a tourist, you would want to know the best time to visit Sri Lanka for dolphin watching.

  • Mirissa: The best time to visit Mirissa for whale and dolphin watching is between November to April.

  • Kalpitiya: The best time to visit Kalpitiya is mid-October to the end of April. The first week of April is a good time to spot the playful dolphins. When pods of thousands of dolphins surround you, it will be the most exhilarating experience

  • Trincomalee: The best time to visit Trincomalee is from July to mid-October. The sea waves are pretty good comparing to other months, which will ensure a good experience.

    As for the itinerary, the majority of the dolphin spotting boats leave in the morning. 7:00 AM in the morning is the best time to head out and watch the playful dolphins enjoying in their natural habitat!

If you are lucky enough, you would be able to spot the blue whales too. Dwarf sperm whales can be spotted while you are on out for a dolphin and whale watching excursion.

It will take around 2-6 hours for a single tour depending on the package you select.

Cost of Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

The cost for a dolphin watching tour in Sri Lanka will depend on the tour agent you pick as there are many services that operate at different rates. Normally it will cost around 35 USD per person which is 7000 LKR in local money

There are a variety of tour packages to choose from, which is always great. Some of the packages include a longer time. And some of the packages include Food and some snacks too. So make sure to find out what you and It will be easier to get a better deal if you can go for a few tour agents before you finalize on a one.

Types of Dolphins You Would see in Sri Lanka

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People are extremely curious about the marine world. It will be great to have at least one person in the boat who knows some information in detail. It will make the tour more meaningful. Isn’t it good to know about the types of dolphins before setting out for an adventure? This way, the kids would look up to you, and you will be able to tell them something new and exciting!

  • Spotted dolphin – Spotted Dolphins can be found in tropical oceans. As per the news, the life of Spotted Dolphins is in danger. They are being killed individually but can found in plenty in Sri Lankan waters.

  • Striped dolphin – The Striped Dolphin loves to feast on squid. They are smaller in size and have a different color on their body.

  • Bottlenose dolphin – The Bottlenose dolphin communicates through sounds. These are the most commonly found dolphins, and they are happy to live in pods of 10-30.

  • Fraser’s dolphin – Once Fraser’s dolphin grows to full adult size, they can weigh up to 200 kilograms. Although you would find them in abundance in the Pacific Ocean, it may not be difficult to spot the swift dolphin in the Indian Ocean as well. They prance around in the water in a group of 100 to 1000. Look at the water ripples they create with their swift movement!

  • Spinner dolphin – The Spinner Dolphin is the one who knows all the acrobatic acts! They spin and put up a brilliant show in front of the audience. This one happens to be a smaller dolphin, but they are extremely beautiful and playful.

  • Risso’s dolphin – A full-grown Risso’s dolphin can weigh up to 500 kilograms. You can spot them easily in the Indian or Pacific Ocean. It is one of the largest dolphins that you can find in the world.

The most common dolphin species you can spot are Bottlenose, Striped, Spinner, and Risso’s.

Now that you know about the types, it will be easy to spot them and which species they are. It is always good to do your homework before setting out for an expedition.

Few Facts About Dolphins

  • Dolphins are quite smart. They are considered to be as smart as the apes!
  • Dolphins are carnivores. They eat squid, fish, and crustaceans.
  • Orca is also a type of dolphin.
  • Dolphins are social and happy aquatic creatures.

Few Facts/Rules and Guides about the tour

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  • Sri Lanka is an island nation where the water is serene and untouched. The nation has pristine white beaches and a rustic beauty you cannot find anywhere else. Small fishes and bigger creatures such as whales and dolphins, live a harmonious life. The locals respect the ocean and do their best to not pollute the water bodies.

  • Please note that all these experiences are safe and dolphin-friendly. None of the dolphins are harmed during the excursion. Guests will be watching the dolphins from a safe distance.

  • Most of the tourists wish to play with dolphins and ride on their backs. However, Sri Lankans are considerate and sensitive towards animals and aquatic creatures. Travellers must respect the privacy of the aquatic creatures. However, you can watch the dolphins from close proximity. They swim elegantly and are quite people-friendly.

  • is a much-loved activity, and there are some environment-friendly options for those who do not wish to disturb the aquatic habitat.

  • The tour operators take special wildlife permission to carry out these excursions. The boat drivers and the guides would carry a permit. Without the permit, it is not allowed to explore the clear blue waters.

  • Since dolphin spotting Sri Lanka became popular over the years, the Government decided to restrict the number of boats. You will find many operators, but choose wisely and always read the reviews before heading out.

  • The plan should be not to chase the playful dolphins, but to view them from a safe distance. Sri Lankan locals respect the privacy of the aquatic creatures, and they believe in making the tour a pleasant and safe one.

  • The driver knows the best spots where the dolphins love to play and put up a show! You must follow their guidance for a happy tour.

  • Most of the dolphin watching boat operators include breakfast in the package. You can enjoy a lip-smacking breakfast, but please ensure that you do not toss the waste into the water body. As tourists in a foreign land and responsible citizens, we must respect the sea.

  • The experience is safe for children, and one can also watch the clear blue skies and other aquatic creatures.

Last Few Words

Overall, it will be a happy meet and greet session with the most playful creatures of the aquatic world. Riding on their back, touching them, or teasing them is not a part of the package. Beauty is good to see from a distance. It is their abode, and locals/tourists respect their love for the habitat. So, make your plans ahead of time and book the dolphin spotting tour.

Sri Lanka has so many more things to see. You will be amazed to find that the aquatic world has a lot more to offer! Tourists can enjoy snorkeling, diving, whale watching, and more. Sri Lanka is full of pleasant surprises!


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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.