Bentota
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended Bentota Cruises & Boat Tours

Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

1. Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your Colombo hotel to be transferred to Bentota. Once there you will enjoy some water sports, before taking a river safari down the beautiful Madu River. This river is a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares are covered with water and inhabited with 64 islands. This boat ride is a wonderful way to take a closer look at this complex wetland ecosystem, which is a UNESCO-listed site. The area is also protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as one of the last wetlands in Sri Lanka to contain a pristine mangrove forest. Once having explored the wetlands, you will transfer to Kosgoda to visit a turtle hatchery where you will see various breeds of sea turtles. Lunch at a recommended restaurant will follow before you transfer to Meetiyagoda, where you will visit the Moonstone Mine and workshop. Following the mine, you'll head to Hikkaduwa Beach to visit the Galle Dutch fort, which was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. It was later extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century, and in the modern age has become UNESCO-listed. At the conclusion of your cultural experience, you will transfer back to Colombo.

From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

2. From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

Begin your day at 8:00 AM at Madu River in Balapitiya for a boat safari. For one-hour, journey through the primitive depths of the mangrove marshes. Traverse the dark and dangerous caverns, formed by the thick mangrove forests, interspersed with stretches of bright open water.  The next destination is the Kothduwa Temple. This Buddhist temple is located on the island and is known as the Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The island is within the Madu Ganga Estuary. Madu Ganga is an archipelago of fifteen different islands and a lagoon. It is believed that a Relic of Lord Buddha was once sheltered in the Kothduwa temple circa 340CE.  Enjoy lunch then visit the Lunuganga Garden. Geoffrey Bawa was one of Asia's finest architects. He passed away in 2003. Lunuganga was Bawa’s country home. It sits in an enchanting atmosphere with glorious views. It is now managed by the Lunuganga Trust. Admire the home’s features and blissfulness. It is now run as a country hotel and the proceeds go to Negombo.

From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

3. From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

You'll be picked up from your hotel in Negombo, Colombo, or Mount Lavinia at 7:30 AM to drive to Galle and visit the Dutch fort. The fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument. Even after more than 400 years, it remains intact and well maintained thanks to the extensive reconstruction work done by Sri Lanka's archaeological department. Next, you'll visit Ambalangoda, known for its exquisite collection of native masks. Many generations of artisans have carved these beautiful artifacts. Afterwards, drive on to Balaptiva for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you'll take a boat trip on the Madu Ganga River. Discover the unspoiled beauty of the Madu Ganga estuary, a wetland ecosystem that opens to the Indian Ocean. Finally, you'll visit a turtle hatchery in Kosgoda before heading back to your hotel. Visitors can see the newborn turtles and even be a part of the process of releasing them into the sea!  

Bentota: Boat River Safari

4. Bentota: Boat River Safari

Bentota River, the third largest river in the country, is a perfect place to spot an array of reptiles and birds including crocodiles, snakes, bats and lizards, and this tour will show you why. Your boat safari starts from the Bentota River (near the the Bentota Bridge), from here, you'll embark on a 2 hour journey through this stunning natural backdrop.   This is a delightfully relaxing cruise that will take you through a canopy of mangroves in the magnificent riverine scenery, away from the world as you know it. This tour also comes with a convenient pickup and drop off service from your hotel.

Colombo: Bentota Beach and River Mangroves and Wildlife Tour

5. Colombo: Bentota Beach and River Mangroves and Wildlife Tour

Take a safari adventure on the Bentota river with this tour from Bentota beach in Colombo. Explore the lush habitats of the river in a powerboat. Learn about your surroundings from a local guide.  Meet your guide at the beach and hop aboard a powerboat. Capture stunning pictures of Bentota beach as you leave the shore. Follow the river through mangroves that provide a rich natural habitat for local wildlife and which help smaller fishing communities to thrive.  Keep an eye out for giant crocodiles, sea eagles, monkeys, snakes, monitor lizards, and graceful egret herons. Relax and connect with this natural setting and immerse yourself in the biodiversity of this unique eco-system. Return to Bentota beach.

Galle: Madu River and Galle Fort Guided Tour with Boat Trip

6. Galle: Madu River and Galle Fort Guided Tour with Boat Trip

Join this guided trip that combines a visit to Galle Fort, the UNESCO-listed ancient medieval capital of Southern Sri Lanka, with a riverboat trip on the Ramsar wetland of Madu, where you can immerse yourself in a mangrove forest, animals, and birds. After hotel pickup, your vehicle makes the journey southward along the spellbinding west coast beaches to Balapitiya and Galle. The old capital of southern Sri Lanka, built by the Portuguese in 1505, is the most popular tourist attraction in Southern Sri Lanka. Galle attracts thousands of travelers, food lovers, beach lovers, and shoppers every day. The Galle Fort is the best-preserved colonial fort in Asia. This ancient site is full of well-preserved houses, palaces, hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, and other constructions. On arrival, set out on foot with your guide who will lead you around the rampart and along the twisting narrow cobble streets laid out by ancient constructors. Marvel at an ancient church built more than 250 years ago. On the return journey, hop on a boat in the Mad River estuary, which is a Ramsar wetland comprised of 64 islands. The extent of the Madu River wetland is 915 hectares, and it harbors multi-varied bio-diverse eco-systems. 

From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

7. From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

Start your sightseeing adventure with a convenient pickup from your hotel and head to your first stop for the day, Balapitiya. Enjoy a boat safari down the beautiful Madu River. Take a closer look at this wetland estuary and explore its lush mangrove forests, gliding under the canopy of the forest tunnels. Take in the unique biodiversity of this region, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles and water monitors that inhabit these waters. Stop at one of the many islands to witness the locals harvest cinnamon and end your boat safari with a visit to the fish spa. Your tropical tour continues after a short break for lunch. Head to Handunugoda to visit the local tea estate. Discover the tea that this plantation is famous for, Virgin White Tea, and learn how this luxury product is made on a tour of the plantation. Next, head to Ahangama for a truly unique photo opportunity. Watch as local fishermen demonstrate on-water stilt fishing, one of Sri Lanka's most interesting traditional fishing methods. Speak to one of the local fishermen and learn how they do it. The final stop on your Sri Lankan sightseeing tour is the old colonial city of Galle. Explore the Galle Fort, one of the best-preserved fortifications in Asia. Visit the Maritime Museum, the Galle National Museum, and the local lighthouse. Stroll down cobblestone streets as you learn the history of this port city, including the periods of Portuguese and Dutch rule.

Bentota: Mangrove Lagoon and River Cruise

8. Bentota: Mangrove Lagoon and River Cruise

Discover local wildlife species along the Bentota River on a boat cruise. Spot a variety of wildlife including possible sightings of crocodiles, lizards, and monkeys along with an abundance of bird species. Board the boat near the bridge of Bentota. At the start of the cruise, pass some of the hotels located along the shorelines. Then, sail into the dense mangroves of the lagoon, home to a vibrant ecosystem. See the twisted root systems of the mangroves and spot various animal species along the shore and under the water surface. Keep an eye out for the river crocodiles who lurk just beneath the water's surface. Look overhead and see species of birds such as kingfishers, eagles, cormorants, or babblers. After exploring the lagoon, cruise back to the starting point to finish your adventure on the water.

From Colombo: Private Full-Day Bentota Tour

9. From Colombo: Private Full-Day Bentota Tour

Explore Bentota with a fully immersive tour that starts at Bawa’s estate in Lunuganga, continues to a turtle hatchery, and ends with a Buddhist monastery and fish massage. Learn all about Sir Geoffrey Bawa, the much-renowned lawyer turned architect who made the estate his country home. Next, visit the incredible turtle hatchery where you can learn all about sea turtles and their conservation. See baby sea turtles swimming in hatch pools. Visit Balapitiya before experiencing a boat safari on the Madu River. See the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river. Your guide will also take you to an island with an old Buddhist monastery. End your tour with a famous fish massage. This “massage parlor” is a hut standing on stilts in the middle of the river with a netted area containing the fish. Sit on the deck of the hut with your feet in the water, while the fish work their magic.

From Bentota: Private Galle Day Trip with River Safari

10. From Bentota: Private Galle Day Trip with River Safari

Start your day with morning hotel pickup at 8 AM and take a short drive to the Turtle Conservation Project. Find out about their work, then venture into the mangrove forest to discover native wildlife. Enjoy a riverboat safari, and keep your eye out for rare birds, crocodiles, and many other animals. After your river excursion, pay a visit to the Tsunami Museum where you can learn about the impact of the devastating natural disaster that destroyed the local villages in 2004. Continue to a herbal garden, a wood carving center and gallery, and a moonstone gem mining center. Next, make your way to the famous Dutch Fort of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Portuguese in 1588 and further fortified by the Dutch in the years after. Finish the day with stilt fishing, a method of fishing unique to Sri Lanka. Witness this incredible skill in person before it dies off. The tour concludes with drop-off back at your accommodation in Bentota.

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What people are saying about Bentota

The tour was very entertaining. The best was the boat tour through the mangroves of Madu Ganga. The guide was friendly and helpful. When tipping the locals, however, he let me run into the knife a little and in the end I got rid of a hefty sum. Please be careful when tipping! It is best to inquire beforehand what is customary in the country. Inexperienced