Negombo Lagoon, Sri Lanka, Negombo Overview

Negombo Lagoon is a large lagoon in south-west Sri Lanka with several small rivers and canals, with the Indian Ocean towards the north. The water body is full of numerous varieties of fish, crabs and lobsters that make it an excellent location for fishers. Tourists enjoy the relaxing boating ride on the lagoon and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Negombo Lagoon is known for its rich and flourishing biodiversity which spans over an area of about 35 square kilometres although it is only a few meters in depth. It has a wide variety of flora, fauna and mangrove forest that accounts for its ecotourism and conservation efforts. Negombo is a tourist hotspot with an extensive network of hotels, safe transport and certified guides which help in carefully exploring the area.

There is a boating ride which starts in the Dutch Canal and leads its way into the lagoon. Private boats are also present well equipped with life jackets and safety equipment and follow strict safety procedures to ensure a smooth tour for the guests. The boat ride also offers light refreshments throughout the journey.

A densely populated region also surrounds the area with sprawling rice paddy fields, coconut plantations, grasslands, fishing and agricultural grounds. Many hotels and resorts around the lagoon serve delicious and fresh seafood for the guests.

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Negombo Lagoon, Sri Lanka

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Things to do at Negombo Lagoon

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The guests can tour the lagoon by going on a fascinating boating experience. The backwaters even offer motorboat rides. The boating tour will cover the whole area and guests can engage in activities like watching birds, crocodiles, monkeys and other exotic species. Binoculars may be provided to the guests to spot the migratory birds. One can even go canal sailing in the Dutch canal.

Visitors can also stop at the small islands in the middle of the lagoon to walk on the cold sand, enjoy the scenery and sunset while drinking fresh coconut water. The place also has a bustling fish market where one can look at all the tempting seafood found in the lagoon, including gorgeous Blue Crabs, Rock Lobsters, oysters and many more. Local English speaking guides are also available to guide through the journey and give information about the lagoon and the various plant and animal species found there. The Negombo area also offers water sports like diving and coral reef watching.

Flora and Fauna

The abundant plant life in Negombo attracts several species of birds. Many water birds like cormorants, herons, seagulls, egrets, etc. can be easily spotted near the lagoon and along the boat ride. The area also serves as migration ground for several bird species. Other fauna includes monkeys, painted bats, otters and the rusty-spotted cat.

The Negombo Lagoon is also one of the few places where one can find real mangrove plants. The aquatic life is abundant with fish, prawns, crabs, molluscs, amphibians and sea reptiles. About 17 of these species are endemic to Sri Lanka.

History of Negombo Lagoon

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Negombo was initially a prominent and busy port of Sri Lanka. The Negombo lagoon would provide shelter to various naval vessels. This port exported large quantities of cinnamon and is said to be the main reason for the invasion by the Portuguese. Later, the Dutch took over and drove the Portuguese out. The two countries were able to come to a truce, but the canal that eventually joins the Negombo Lagoon is still called the Dutch Canal, which is about 100 kilometres long and used even today. Now it is a beautiful seaside resort in Sri Lanka.

Nightlife at Negombo Lagoon

The place has a few bars that are located mainly on the Beach Road. Due to the Portuguese and Dutch influence, the Negombo area has a lot of restaurants that serve a wide range of cuisines, including continental, Arabic, Turkish and even local Sri Lankan food. The prices can range from LKR 200 to LKR 3000. The main focus is on the fresh seafood from the lagoon and the beaches. You can even hire a Catamaran and head out into the ocean and enjoy a delicious barbecue meal while sailing over the sea.

Shopping at Negombo Lagoon

Negombo is one of the major cities in Sri Lanka with a wide variety of shops. There are supermarkets in several places selling everyday things along with fresh cinnamon, vanilla and also local shops selling beautiful handmade pieces that are suitable for many people with different budgets. One can also buy clothes and different kinds of fresh Sri Lankan tea. The Beach Road has several of these shops and higher end stores that attract tourists. The shops even sell intricately made jewellery with Sri Lankan gems. The food markets sell fresh and juicy tropical fruit that attract many visitors.

Tips while visiting Negombo Lagoon

Tourists are requested to wear comfortable shoes, sunglasses and hats. Cameras are allowed during the boating tour. The visitors are also advised to bargain the prices when it comes to choosing a guide. Large luggage and bags are not allowed.

The boating tour is not suitable for pregnant women and people with back problems. An adult must accompany all children. Smoking is strictly prohibited.

During your stay in Negombo, be wary of any pick-pocketers and people that will try to sell little trinkets and souvenirs to you.

How To Reach Negombo Lagoon

Negombo is a short drive away from Colombo and very close to the International Airport, making it very easy for tourists to explore this destination. A bus ride from Colombo will cost about LKR 75 and take about an hour. A taxi ride can cost about LKR 1500. Most hotels arrange for pickups. Once in Negombo, there are Tuk-Tuks available for travelling anywhere. The town of Negombo is just about 10 kilometres from Bandaranaike airport.

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