Kalpitiya was a crucial trading hub of ancient Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Portuguese named it as “the island of Cardiva”. The area consists with Kalpitiya peninsula, islands and beaches. It is located 150Kms North to Colombo on a West coast of Sri Lanka, overlooking Puttalam on East and Indian Ocean on West. When comes to the marine life, the area is a vast marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, sand dunes to mangrove swamps and salt marshes. Kalpitiya has 14 islands that makes the land area of 1673 hectares in total. The peninsula is 48 Kms long and 6 to 8 Kms wide.
You will be able to see large pods of Spinner Dolphins and rare Sperm Whales out in the Ocean close to Kalpitiya. Dolphins are sometimes in pods of hundreds. Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales known to mankind. They are hunting giant squids by diving several hundreds of meters at a time. And occasional Blue whales as well. Boat rides available to visit them in their natural habitat. They can be spotted during the dry season which is December to April.
The Bar reef at Kalpitiya is the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka. Covering the area of 307 square Kms. Its only take an hour by boat to reach the reef. The reef itself made out with 150 different species of corals and it is home for large variety of tropical fish (283 species), manta rays, reef sharks and sea turtles. This is an ideal location for scuba diving or snorkeling.
Alankuda beach is the first beach developed under the 2008 tourism development program in Sri Lanka. There are many tourist hotels, restaurants built at the beach. Boat trips are regularly starting from the beach to see Dolphins and Whales. Also some of the popular water sports like wind surfing, sailing, kayaking and snorkeling are available on the beach.
60 Kms from Kalpitiya there is a one of a kind park called Wilpattu. The word “Villu” means wetland, Natural shallow lakes surrounded by grasslands. Hence the park is unique as it is in the dry zone in Sri Lanka but covered with wetlands. It was a reputed as a best place to spot leopards. But lately the population has dropped dramatically. Many mammals like elephants, sloth bear, deer and jackals made their home at Wilpattu. Bird watchers can spot over 200 species of birds in the park and also surrounding areas of Kalpitiya.
The Kalpitiya Dutch Fort was first built by Portuguese in 1666 to control the salt and cinnamon trades as well as pearl fishing. It is a small Fort contains chapel, a commander’s house, barracks, prison and others, and some are amazingly in a good condition.
Thalawila St Anne’s church is one of the most hallowed ancient Christian church in Sri Lanka. The origin of the church is doubtable. One is about European trader, when they shipwrecked off the coast of Talawila in 18th century, came to the beach and kept the statue of St. Anne in a banyan tree and vowed to return and build a church if their journey was succeeded. In another account is one poor Portuguese man was travelling from Mannar to Colombo, He went sleep under the tree on his way, where he was dreamed about light appear under the tree and woke up and saw St. Anne herself and told him to build a church there. And later she has given poor man some gold coin for the expenses of constructions. To this day the church is renowned for its miracle powers among many people regardless what their religions are.
Attractions Places & Activities for Tourists Kalpitiya
- Dolphin or Whale watching
- Jeep rides along the deserted sand dunes
- Deep-sea diving
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- Wilpattu National Park
- Bar Reef
- Alankuda Beach
- Kalpitiya Dutch Fort
- Thalawila St Anne’s church