Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended Southern Province, Sri Lanka Cruises & Boat Tours

Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

1. Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

Set sail from Mirissa to witness the breathtaking sight of the planet’s largest mammal, the blue whale, in its natural habitat. Sri Lanka’s southern waters are rich in aquatic life. As well as blue whales, you might see fin whales, sperm whales and pilot whales, as well as many species of dolphins. Depart at 6:30 AM, ahead of the other boats. A complimentary breakfast of sandwiches and fruits will be served on board, along with water and tea or coffee. Knowledgeable guides are on board to answer any questions you may have and help you spot these wonderful creatures. The boat is fitted with a GPS tracking systems, to guide you to the best location to see these extraordinary animals. With over 90% probability of seeing whales and dolphins, you are promised a morning to remember.

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Galle Fort and Fish Massage from Colombo

2. Galle Fort and Fish Massage from Colombo

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 an outdoor fish massage parlor. Dangle your feet into a fenced section of the river to get treated to a massage by the fish. After, visit Galle Fort in Sri Lanka, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle Fort, or Dutch Fort as it is also known, is a fortification built by the Portuguese on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The final destination is the Ahangama fishing village for a stilt fishing photo shoot. 

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From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

3. 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 Colombo.

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2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

4. 2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

The sea off Mirissa between Galle and Matara is one of the best places in the world to see endangered blue whales. This two-day tour also gives you the opportunity to see some of the important places in the southern coastal belt such as Galle fort, Unawatuna beach, sea turtle hatchery and more. On day one, meet your tour representative and proceed to your hotel in Mirissa, En-route enjoy a Bentota and Galle sightseeing tour. Bentota beach is the most popular beach holiday destination in the island. Galle is one of the ancient sea ports of Sri Lanka and was an anchor point in the Silk Route. It was later discovered by the Portuguese where they built a fortress and the Dutch that succeeded them fortified it further. This fortress is today a World Heritage Site. During the Galle city tour, visit Galle Fort, Bentota Beach, Galle coastal area, Galle lighthouse, Kande Vihara, Cinnamon Island, a handicraft center and mask carving center. Visit a sea turtle hatchery project, spice garden at Matale where spices and herbs used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medication are grown. Then take a Madu Ganga boat ride to discover this Ramsar Wetland. Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary is the place where you can have a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world and see the creatures that inhabit the unfathomable depths of the sea. The famed coral gardens are located here. Just get hold of a glass bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and plunge into the ocean. Overnight stay in Mirissa  Day two is filled with whale-watching experiences. Miriissa off the southern Sri Lanka coast is one of the best-known places for the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet – lunge-feeding humpback whales and blue whales. Groups of whales construct enormous circular fishing nets with bubbles to catch vast shoals of herring and then launch themselves high into the air with their mouths wide open. This activity is most prevalent from November to April, but can be observed throughout year. 

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Lunuganga, Kosgoda and Balapitiya Day-Tour from Negombo

5. Lunuganga, Kosgoda and Balapitiya Day-Tour from Negombo

Start your day of adventure with a pickup bright and early at 7:00 AM when your chauffeur arrives to pick you up at your accommodation. After a scenic car ride (2.5-hours) you will reach the destination of Bentota. The first location you will visit whilst in Bentota is the Bawa estate in Lunuganga. While visiting the estate you will get to see the beautifully designed gardens that are now open to the public. Some of the buildings of the estate are also now a country house hotel. The tour of the estate takes 2-hours, during which, you will learn of the fascinating history behind this place.  Continue on your travels to Kosgoda for your visit to the Turtle Hatchery. Whilst here, you will get to spend 30 to 40-minutes learning about sea turtles and their conservation. One of people's favourite parts of the hatchery is the touch pools, deep tubs of seawater with baby sea turtles swimming in them. Visitors are allowed to pickup and handle them under supervision. There are also fully matured sea turtles of different kinds, receiving treatment for various ailments or wounds. Once you leave the Turtle Hatchery behind, you will venture to Balapitiva for your chance to go on a lovely Boat Safari in Madu River. Balapitiya is a little southern town lying in marshy wetlands. The area is a high bio-diversity zone that relies on the lagoon created by Madu River as it flows into the Indian Ocean. Your safari will take you on a ride down the river. You will get to see the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river and the forms of wildlife that call the roots home. Your guide will also take you to some of the larger free standing islands on Madu River. On one such island you will find an old Buddhist monastery.  During the safari, you will also get to try a very popular attraction, the fish massage. This ‘massage parlor’ is a hut standing on stilts in the middle of the river. A netted-in area contains the ‘massage fish’. You will be sitting on the deck of the hut with your feet in the water, while the fish work their magic. After this relaxing boat tour, you will return to Negombo around 2:30 PM. You will arrive back at your hotel at 6:00 PM for an evening of rest and relaxation after a long day of adventure.

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Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

6. Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

After being picked up at your hotel, hop onboard your Madu Ganga Magrove boat safari and explore the Madu River. See the mangrove forests and marshlands that surround the river. Stop at a cinnamon garden, and try some of the area’s famous cinnamon. The Madu Ganga River region is home to some of the best quality cinnamon in the world as well as a flourishing cinnamon industry. Afterward, marvel at the fishermen who stoically sit atop large branches planted in the middle of the water waiting for their catch. Continue to a local Turtle Hatchery, where your guide will introduce you to the many local varieties of turtles. End your tour with a visit to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort illustrates the unique interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. After discovering the fort, you will be returned to your hotel in Colombo.

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

7. 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!  

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Mirissa: Whale Watching Tour

8. Mirissa: Whale Watching Tour

Get the opportunity to see the world's biggest mammals in their natural habitat on this 5-hour tour. Meet your guide at Mirissa Pier in the morning and head out to sea on a 2-hour boat ride.  During this tour, you will have the opportunity to see blue whales, sperm whales, fin whales, occasional orcas, and many types of dolphins. As you approach the whales, the boat will slow down for optimal viewing. You will stop at a safe distance of at least 300 feet away, with your closest approach being at 100 feet, allowing you to watch the whales responsibly with minimal environmental impact. Learn more about the whales and their behavior from your onboard naturalist guide. Learn how to identify the whales that you see and how to tell when they are coming up for air. You will spend approximately 1 hour at the site. 

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Galle Fort and Fish Massage from Negombo

9. Galle Fort and Fish Massage from Negombo

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 an outdoor fish massage parlor. Dangle your feet into a fenced section of the river to get treated to a massage by the fish. After, visit Galle Fort in Sri Lanka, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle Fort, or Dutch Fort as it is also known, is a fortification built by the Portuguese on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The final destination is the Ahangama fishing village for a stilt fishing photo shoot. 

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Kalutara: Turtle Hatchery Visit, Boat Safari, and Galle Tour

10. Kalutara: Turtle Hatchery Visit, Boat Safari, and Galle Tour

The tour begins at 8:30am with pickup from your hotel and travels out of Kalutara towards the south-west of Sri Lanka. Arrive at the first stop of the day, Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, at around 9:30am. At the hatchery, learn about the 5 endangered sea turtle species that come to the shores of Sri Lanka to nest, and learn how the Kosgoda Turtle Care Program helps protect these nests until they are ready to hatch. At the hatchery, enjoy the unique opportunity to see, touch, and feed baby turtles as well as injured adults. After about an hour at the hatchery head to the bustling coastal town of Balapitiya for a boat safari along the vibrant Madu River. Enjoy a 30-minute cruise on the river learning about and admiring its flourishing ecosystem. On the boat, pass through secretive passages created by the mangroves and see basking crocodiles and other river wildlife. Next, visit one of the river’s small islands known for its cinnamon harvesting natives, then experience the restorative qualities of the infamous fish massage. At approximately 1pm take some free time to grab lunch and energize for the rest of the afternoon’s activities. Arrive in the city of Galle by 3pm and set out on a sightseeing exploration of this Old Colonial location. Discover the streets and landmarks of Galle, bursting with history, where Portuguese and Dutch settlers made their headquarters. Visit the Galle Fort, which is one of the best preserved fortifications in Asia, then admire the architecture of the Maritime Museum, Galle National Museum, and the local lighthouse. At the end of an insightful day, the tour finishes at 5pm and you will arrive back at your hotel at around 6:30pm.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Southern Province, Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Our guide Jeev was amazing. I actually enjoyed interacting with the guide more than the excursions. As far as the excursions we enjoyed the boat tour. It was informative and interesting. We also enjoyed the restaurant that the guide chose to eat lunch. Mama Coral Reef.

Great experience!

Was a pleasant trip to Galle, thanks to our driver Aaron! And thanks for the new experience having a fish massage, safari river and for the natural cinnamon tea which seems to be the best medicine!! Highly recommended!!

V good V good travel guide on board . But please get a public address system for him to use so that those at the back and downstairs can hear them

Everything went great, including picking up from another location. I can only recommend..

Versatile excursion and transport smoothly along the highway.