Sri Lanka is one of the top destinations in the world for whale watching, as there are several different species to see, including the magnificent blue whale. A fantastic spot to witness sightings of these breathtaking giants of the ocean is Mirissa, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Other known locations include Trincomalee along the east coast and Alankuda Beach in Kalpitiya. One of our Sri Lanka Escorted Tours includes a dolphin watching trip in Kalpitiya – .
Why go whale watching in Sri Lanka?
Witnessing a variety of majestic whales and other sea creatures at close quarters is a thrilling and rare experience not to be missed. From the minute you board the tour boat and depart from Sri Lanka’s beautiful shores, you’ll embark on an exhilarating adventure, where you can see and learn about the wonders of the cetacean species.
What should you take with you on a whale watching excursion?
So that you’re fully prepared for your whale watching trip, consider taking the following with you:
- Suncream, sunhat, and sunglasses.
- Appropriate layered clothing for the weather and flat shoes.
- Food and drink (if this isn’t provided).
- A fully charged camera or video camera.
- A pair of binoculars.
What time of year is best for whale watching in Sri Lanka?
It’s possible to go whale watching all year round from different locations in Sri Lanka. In Marissa, the best time is between late November and mid-April, as you’ll likely see fin, Bryde’s and sperm whales as well as humpback and minke whales. You’ll also see plenty of dolphins too!
To catch sightings of blue whales, the best time to go is between February and mid-March. If your trip happens to co-inside with these timings, whale watching could make for some special memories.
What types of whales might you see?
In the wild, blue whales can live for between 80 to 90 years. They are a type of baleen whale, meaning they are toothless marine mammals and have fringed plates of mesh-like material (baleen) attached to their upper jaws.
Blue whales weigh as much as 200 tonnes – their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant! Their gigantic size of up to 100 feet long makes them rulers of the ocean. They are the largest animals ever known to have lived on our planet.
Fin whales (or finback whales) are the second largest animal in the world, after the blue whale. A type of baleen whale, these grow up to 89 feet and weigh almost 74 tonnes. Fin whales have a reputation as being the “greyhound of the sea” owing to their long grey body and their ability to swim fast at up to 37km per hour.
Killer whales are also known as orcas. Interestingly, they’re part of the dolphin family, albeit the largest member. Killer whales are one of the world’s top predators with four-inch-long teeth and distinct black and white markings. They tend to travel in pods of up to 40 orcas to hunt their prey, which are other sea creatures such as seals, fish, and even some other whales.
The physical characteristics of sperm whales include their enormous heads and rounded foreheads. Sperm whales have the largest sized brain of any creature on Earth. Inside their heads is a mysterious substance called spermaceti. Scientists aren’t exactly sure what this substance does, but it’s widely believed that it helps with buoyancy; allowing the sperm whale to make deep dives of more than 3,000 feet before rising again.
The pronunciation for Bryde’s is “broo-dess”. They are the only baleen whale species that live all year round in warmer waters close to the equator. Bryde’s whales can dive to depths of around 300m and can reach a swimming speed of up to 24km per hour, although they usually swim more slowly at roughly 6km per hour. They have a similar body shape to fin whales.
Explore beautiful Sri Lanka
As well as whale watching, there are many other exciting things to see and do in Sri Lanka. This amazing country is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, world famous Buddhist temples, national parks and tea plantations, as well as stunning beaches.
Find out more about our Escorted Tours, where you can visit the very best sights and attractions that Sri Lanka has to offer?