humpback whale - coral triangle adventures

About Sri Lanka

Snorkeling with whales and dolphins in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the destinations we visit on our Coral Triangle Adventures snorkeling with whales toursOur tours clearly revolve around snorkeling on some of the most beautiful reefs on the planet. Each day our snorkeling sessions expose our guests to some of the coolest, most beautiful, and most colorful marine life in the world. With this tour to Sri Lanka, however, we are clearly going for a new angle: The BIGGEST marine animals in the world!

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon and now officially as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is located in the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of India and north of the Maldives. It has a rich history with human settlements that date back to over 100,000 years ago. Civilizations throughout the modern ages revolved around a buddhist life-style with great works of architecture, such as Sigiriya and the Avukana Buddha statue. Today, the independent nation is still largely buddhist and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

The waters around Sri Lanka are home to dozens of species of marine mammals including spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, melon-headed whales, orca, humpback whales, sperm whales and the largest animal ever to roam the planet: The blue whale! And what’s more exciting than see them frolic in the water while onboard our boat? Leaving our boat for the chance to snorkel with them in their natural environment! Whether it’s the blue whale, orca, or spinner dolphins, we are going to snorkel with them and hope to make that special underwater connection with our cousins in the sea.

We begin our snorkeling tour to see the largest marine animals, with a land tour to see some of the largest terrestrial animals, Sri Lankan elephants! Sri Lanka is home to over 5000 native elephants—they are a subspecies of the Asian elephant. During the months of September and October, hundreds of elephants gather at Minneriya National Park for what scientists described as the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the world. Our tour coincides with this event and we will stay near the park in luxury 5-star tented accommodations, to have the chance to observe this and many of the other incredible wildlife that thrives there. Wilpattu National Park is located close to Minneriya N.P. and we will spend a day visiting Wilpattu for the chance to see the Sri Lankan leopard as well as many of the other wildlife like the Sri Lankan sloth bear, elephants, water buffalo, and barking deer. For the avid birdwatcher, this is a special bonus as many of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds can be found in both of these remarkable parks.

This trip is currently not available due to ongoing discussions between the Sri Lankan conservation officials and tour operators. As such, future departure dates have not been published. Please email us for more information.

Blue whales are the largest animal to ever exist on planet earth - coral triangle adventures

The largest of them all…

Sri Lankan elephants are the largest subspecies of Asian elephants

Sri Lankan elephant

Spinner dolphins often leap from the water and spin, hence their name

Spinner dolphins



Map of general route and whale watching area in Sri LankaThe snorkeling tour begins and ends in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One round trip internal flight Colombo to Trincomalee. The overall length of this departure is 14 days, spending the first three days in the park and the remainder of the trip (eight days) on the boat.

This is a new departure and though we have the benefit of an experienced boat crew,  we expect a bit of flexibility in the itinerary that allows us to incorporate exploration, local weather, tides, and currents into our design. As always, this approach results in a solid, proven itinerary that not only delivers fantastic snorkeling opportunities, but also promotes a sense of adventure and uniqueness.

Day 1: Colombo
Meals provided: D
Meet in Colombo, Sri Lanka at our group resort for the expedition orientation and welcome dinner. Overnight in Colombo.

Day 2: Trincomalee / Hindu Koneswaram Temple / Ravana’s Cliff
Meals provided: B,L,D
Group flight to Trincomalee. Much of this day depends on our flight times. Time permitting, we hope to visit some of the local historical, cultural, and natural sights such as the Hindu Koneswaram temple, Fort Fredrick, the Dutch fort built in 1623, and Ravana’s Cleft (Swami Rock). Overnight in Trincomalee.

Days 3: Wilapttu / Minneriya National Park
Meals provided: B,L,D
Morning transfer to our safari lodge. The Aggressor 5-star tented safari lodge is located between Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks. Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park and is one of the best places to see the rare Sri Lankan leopard. Minneriya National Park is home to the largest gathering of elephants in the world. During the dry season, over 300 elephants from all over the North Central Province converge at the series of large watering holes located in the park. In the afternoon, we visit Wilpattu NP for the chance to experience some of Sri Lanka’s impressive big game such as leopards, elephants, buffalo, deer, crocodiles, and many other animals and birds. Overnight Safari Lodge.

sri lankan leopard in one of their national parks

A Sri Lankan…

Day 4: Sigiriya Rock Palace / Minneriya National Park
Meals provided: B,L,D
After breakfast we will visit the World Heritage Site of Sigiriya Rock Palace. Built in the 5th century AD, this palace/fortress complex is one of the first and best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. In the afternoon, we journey into the heart of Minneriya NP to witness the amazing event known as the ‘gathering of elephants’. Our front row seats to this spectacular event of nature allows us to watch the elephants play and drink around the massive water hole. Along with the elephants, we hope to see deer, buffalo, and other animals and birds that make their home in this beautiful park. Overnight Safari Lodge.

Day 5: Anuradhapura / Wilpattu National Park
Meals provided: B,L,D
In the morning we visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Anuradhapura was the capital for over 1400 years and is home to several stupas (massive dome-shaped structures made from sand and clay that house ancient Buddhist relics and are used for meditation) including the Jetavana stupa, a more massive and heavier structure than the largest pyramid in Egypt! In the afternoon, we visit Wilpattu NP for the chance to once again experience the wildlife of Sri Lanka. We hope to see Leopards, elephants, crocodiles, deer, and many other animals and birds. Overnight Safari Lodge.

Days 6 – 12: Sri Lanka Aggressor / Whale watching
Meals provided: B,L,D
Morning transfer to the Sri Lanka Aggressor. During the months of September and October, the seas around the northeastern side of Sri Lanka are abundant with marine mammals. Blue, sperm, and Bryde’s whales, orca, false killer whales, spinner dolphins, and striped dolphins are just some of the types of marine mammals that are consistently observed in the area. We will spend eight days cruising the coastal waters in search of these majestic creatures of the sea with the hopes of not only seeing them in their natural habitat, but to snorkel with them as well! Our daily schedule depends entirely on the type and time of our encounters and snorkeling sessions can happen at any time and last for minutes or up to several hours depending on the interest level of the whales or dolphins. Onboard Sri Lanka Aggressor.

Day 13: Colombo
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark and transfer to the airport for our internal flight to Colomobo. Evening dinner at the group hotel. Overnight in Colombo

Day 14: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B

What to Expect

On the safari days, mornings generally consist of walking around cultural and historical sites. These sites are all paved and along well established paths, though some of these paths may lead to elevated portions of the site. For example, the stairs that lead up to the summit of Lion Rock in Sigiriya Rock Palace. Comfortable shoes for walking are required on all of our visits to these sites. Our safaris are conducted from the comfort of Jeeps and there will be no extensive hiking involved. We will have the chance to walk in the parks, though this will depend upon the recommendation of our guide.

On the water, our schedule is truly based on the encounters we have with whales and dolphins. Generally, we will spend the mornings and afternoons searching for them, watching them from the boat and snorkeling with them in the water. Each day may be entirely different than the previous in terms of when we get in the water, the exact times for lunch (given we may see whales and have the chance to snorkel with them closer to lunchtime), and how long we have in the water. Our evening schedule (beginning around 4:30pm) will include snacks, a daily recap, and a presentation on marine mammals.

Water temperatures in Sri Lanka average around 29º C (84º F), though cooler temperatures may be experienced. We recommend at least a lycra suit to protect against the sun and no-see-um stingies that may float by.

Join Us!

Click on the tour date to read about trip details including accommodations, pricing, and how you can join us!

Sept 3 – 16, 2018
We are still finalzing prices for this departure. We hope to publish prices in July 2016
Accommodations: Sri Lanka Aggressor; Aggressor tented safari