Visiting Pigeon Island, Trincomalee – A snorkel and A dive away

Renowned for its unique blend of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, Pigeon Island has evolved into a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This idyllic islet, officially designated as a national park, beckons visitors with its lush landscapes, diverse marine life, and a rich colonial past that echoes through the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch fort.

Where exactly is the Island?

Pigeon Island in Trincomalee | Image by Chiranmayu via Wikimedia Commons

Pigeon Island National Park has emerged as a recent addition to Sri Lanka’s expanding conservation areas, encompassing not only the small Pigeon Island located just a kilometre off the coast near Trincomalee but also a significant expanse of the surrounding coral reef and sea. Despite the unfortunate impact of the 2004 tsunami on much of its coral, the park boasts some of the best-preserved coral reefs in Sri Lanka, and is conveniently accessible in many ways.

Getting to the Island

Pigeon Island is readily visible from the northern coast of Trincomalee, its petite expanse measuring around 200 meters, yet situated just 1 kilometer off Nilaveli Beach. Access to the island is exclusively facilitated through organized boat tours originating from either Nilaveli Beach or Uppuveli Beach. The process is effortlessly managed, with numerous snorkelling and diving establishments lining the beachfront, offering tours and equipment rentals.

The Best Time to visit

Optimal conditions for snorkelling and diving adventures at Pigeon Island prevail from April to October, aligning with the dry season in northern Sri Lanka. During this period, you can anticipate clearer skies and more tranquil, transparent waters. While water clarity may vary throughout the season, choosing a mid-season timeframe enhances the likelihood of encountering the best conditions for clear water exploration. Consider visiting resources like Truly Sri Lanka for a better idea of the weather and optimal visit times.

Snorkelling or Diving?

While one might instinctively assume that Pigeon Island is better suited for diving, experienced visitors and instructors insist that opting for snorkelling is the more rewarding choice.  The shallow reef on the south side of the island offers an ideal environment for snorkelling, providing easy sightings of reef sharks, turtles, and abundant fish, a great adventure in Sri Lanka to seek out and experience for yourself.

Scuba Diving in Hikkaduwa – Explore beneath the waves

Embark on an exhilarating adventure beneath the waves with scuba diving in Hikkaduwa, a coastal gem in Sri Lanka known for its vibrant marine ecosystem and stunning underwater landscapes.

Diving Sites and Marine Life

Diving to explore Marine Life in Hikkaduwa | Image via Needpix

Explore Hikkaduwa’s renowned dive sites, including Coral Garden and Kiralagala Rock, teeming with colourful fish and fascinating coral formations. These sites boast clear waters and excellent visibility, providing divers with unforgettable encounters with Sri Lanka’s underwater wonders. Keep an eye out for majestic sea turtles gliding effortlessly by, making your dive an unforgettable adventure in Sri Lanka.

Equipment and Safety Precautions

Before diving, ensure your safety by checking your equipment thoroughly and following safety protocols. Always dive with a certified instructor or guide, and adhere to safety procedures such as buddy checks and dive planning. Properly maintained scuba gear and adherence to safety guidelines are essential for a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

Choosing the Right Dive Centre

Select a reputable dive centre with certified instructors and a strong commitment to safety and environmental conservation. Look for facilities that offer well-maintained equipment, small group sizes, and personalised instruction. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow divers can help you find the ideal dive centre for your needs.

Environmental Conservation and Responsible Diving Practices

Practice responsible diving by respecting marine life and habitats. Avoid touching or disturbing coral reefs and marine creatures, and refrain from littering or damaging underwater ecosystems. Participate in conservation efforts such as underwater clean-up initiatives to help preserve Hikkaduwa’s marine environment for future generations. For more information on responsible diving practices in Sri Lanka, check out popular travel blogs such as Truly Sri Lanka.

Accommodation and Facilities for Divers

Hikkaduwa offers a range of accommodation options catering to divers, from beachfront resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. Many accommodations provide diving packages and facilities for storing and rinsing dive gear, making it convenient for diving enthusiasts to explore the underwater wonders of Hikkaduwa.

Adventure Sports in Sri Lanka

With its sun-kissed beaches, tropical lagoons and pristine hill country, Sri Lanka is a bubbling pot of exhilarating activities. Discover some of the adventure sports offered by this tropical paradise.

Water skiing

water skiing
water skiing | Image via Unsplash

Whether it be jet or water skiing, riding a banana boat or even windsurfing, Sri Lanka’s water activities are endless. Make the most out of your adventure by visiting travel websites like Truly Sri Lanka for information on the best destinations for water sports.


Ella is the epitome of adventure in Sri Lanka. Seek a different kind of sailing by heading to the Flying Ravana adventure park featuring activities such as quad biking, abseiling, and the ultimate highlight, ziplining. Sail through the air between two mountains, and amid the adrenaline rush, gaze at your picturesque surroundings.

Lagoon canoeing

A lesser-known water sport in Sri Lanka is lagoon canoeing. Paddle your troubles away at lagoons in Tangalle or Unawatuna and discover an array of fauna and flora.


Experience first-hand the cool climes of Sri Lanka’s hillside by hiking through Horton Plains, Moon Plains or Knuckles Mountain range. As you do, be sure to take in the sights and spot a plethora of exotic flora and wildlife such as sambar deer, and if you are lucky, the stealthy leopard.


Surfing | Image via Unsplash

With its challenging swells, the beaches in Sri Lanka are any surfer’s paradise. Arugam Bay features daring surfing feats, while Hiriketiya Beach and Hikkaduwa offer manageable waves ideal for beginners.