A laid back coastal town on Sri Lanka‘s south coast, Bentota embodies the charm of island living. With easy-going fishermen, the age-old cinnamon trade and isolated beaches, Bentota captures the heart of all those who visit. There’s no shortage of things to do here, either. Here are our top 10 picks.
Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project
Avoid the hatcheries and head for the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project. You can experience these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, and maybe even witness them laying eggs in the sand.
Pristine golden beaches and stunning sea views are all yours. Bentota is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka, an idyllic place to soak up the sun or swim in the waves.
Madu Ganga River Safari
Cruise through the mangroves and explore the islands that dot the river. The Madu Ganga River safari is a must-do for nature lovers. With over 111 bird species, the Madu River is not only a bird lovers’ paradise but also a wonderland for biologists and ecologists, with a rich condensation of wildlife and plant life thriving within these shady mangroves.
Visit Kande Viharaya
A temple dating from the 1700s, the Kande Viharaya is a great place to gobble up some history while observing local life. A pioneer centre for Buddhist education in Sri Lanka, Kande Viharaya has a number of ancient sculptures, statues and colorful frescoes dating back to the Kandyan era (15th-19th century).
The turquoise waters beckon! Jet skiing, wake boarding, wind surfing, mono skiing, banana boat rides and canyoning can be done by the adventurous, active traveler.
Visit the Brief Garden
The Brief Garden was designed by Bevis Bawa, a well-known Sri Lankan artist who is also the brother of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The Brief Garden is laid out over five acres, and includes a profusion of tropical trees, structures and sculptures.
Explore the Galle Dutch Fort
About 50 kms south of Bentota is the Galle Dutch Fort, a centuries-old fortification that has been beautifully preserved. Sprawling across 87 acres, it houses ancient churches, museums and is a cultural hot spot where many art and literary festivals take place.
Visit Cinnamon Island
A cinnamon plantation dating back to the early 1900s, Cinnamon Island is located on a tiny, enchanting island. Visitors can witness the processing of cinnamon and learn about all of cinnamon’s uses. It’s a great excursion for an hour.
Explore the home of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, exquisitely designed with an array of rare flora. Bawa is credited as the pioneer of the architectural theory today known as “tropical modernism”, and Lunuganga is a magnificent example of his work.
Bentota is a popular diving spot. Head over to Canoe Rock, South Reef and Hundirangala to witness vibrant corals and large schools of fish, including Lion Fish and Porcupine Fish. If you need guidance or are a newbie to the sport, Sunshine Diving is a good place to start.
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