Whales, Yoga and Kitesurfing – Kalpitiya at a Glance
Colourful kites dot the clear blue skies as you make your way to the beach. However, these aren’t your average kites and they are actually more reminiscent of parachutes rather than toys made from paper and string. As you get closer you can hear cheering, laughing and clapping till suddenly you see it– the small figure of a person attached to the end of this kite, gliding along the aquamarine waters and occasionally defying gravity!
Wedged between the Indian Ocean and Puttalam Lagoon, Kalpitiya is a haven; whether you’re trying to find an escape from city life, get back to nature, kitesurf or even just relax, Kalpitiya is the place for you. It redefines the meaning of ‘self-care’ and funnels it through a truly Sri Lankan lens; here are some of the best ways to spend your days in Kalpitiya.
Kalpitiya is definitely a kitesurfer’s paradise. What makes this town so special is that there are a number of kiting spots to choose from – each suited for a different level of kitesurfer. So, you can visit a different spot every day and have a completely different experience. Here, you can kite in different conditions in a small locale; the flat waters of the lagoon are perfect for beginners and for just zipping through the waters, or if you like a bit more excitement you can ride the waves of the ocean.
There are two kitesurfing seasons in Kalpitiya, the summer season (May – October) and the winter season (mid-December – mid-March). During these times there are excellent wind conditions which will make you feel like you are flying! If you don’t have the equipment or the experience, visit Kitesurfing Lanka, they have a kiting camp with all the necessary gear and a great kiting community.
After a long day of kitesurfing in the hot sun, it is likely that you will feel a bit stiff and sore the next day. Do not worry, the yoga classes conducted by fantastic instructors in Kalpitiya are bound to help stretch out those post-kiting knots in your body. Rejuvenate your body and soul while overlooking the gorgeous Puttalam Lagoon or the calming Indian ocean which surrounds the island.
While the water closer to the shore is peppered with kitesurfers, deeper in the seas surrounding Kalpitiya dwell the giants of the ocean. The town is the best place on the west coast of Sri Lanka to go whale watching. Between November and April, Kalpitiya is transformed into a whale-watching hub and the warm waters attract migratory whale species including blue whales, minke and melon-headed whales, with orcas having been spotted recently as well. Along with these gentle giants, your ocean safari is made even more exciting, thanks to the playful dolphins who inhabit the waters here.
A short drive from Kalpitiya is Wilpattu National Park which is a great place to visit on a day trip. However, bordering the park is the Kappalady Lagoon that is surrounded by a thick mangrove forest. The best way to explore this rich ecosystem is by embarking on a guided kayak tour. You can kayak over the murky waters and learn about the endemic species of flora and fauna within these forests.
Mangroves are truly amazing; they greatly help offset carbon emissions but are sadly being destroyed. The people of Kalpitiya are trying their best to save these verdant pockets. Hear more about the conservation efforts being carried out here during your kayak tour.
Scuba Diving & Snorkelling
Kalpitiya is also home to Sri Lanka’s largest coral reef, making it one of the best places to go diving or snorkelling. The beautiful reef is rich in biodiversity and this underwater world is bursting with colour; a variety of tropical fish, eels, octopus, rays and sea turtles swim through hard and soft corals turning the underwater world into a kaleidoscope of colour. If you have never gone diving before, there are local PADI certified dive centres where you can learn to do so. If you are travelling with young children, snorkelling here is amazing as well.