Things to do in Kalpitiya
Bird watching Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya, Kappalady
Ox cart riding in Sri Lanka at Elements Beach & Nature Resort in Kappalady, Talawila
Things to do in Kalpitiya and around
While most people who visit Sri Lanka head towards the south coast or Arugam Bay on the east coast for a taste of tropical beach life, several other beach destinations in Sri Lanka remain relatively untouched. Kalpitiya on the northwestern coast is one such destination. An exciting destination for kitesurfing and other water-based adventures, there are plenty of thrill-seeking and nature-based things to do in Kalpitiya. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya is also a great off-the-beaten-path place to feel the authentic life of the locals.
Kalpitiya is a peninsula surrounded by the Gulf of Mannar, Puttalam Lagoon and the Dutch Bay. Because of its geographical location, the region receives plenty of solid, steady wind conditions throughout the year, making it the best place for kitesurfing, wing foiling, foil boarding and other water sports in Sri Lanka. Elements Beach & Nature Resort is located in Kappalady, a quiet but beautiful village in the Kalpitiya Peninsula, just south of Kalpitiya town. From the international airport near Colombo, it takes about three and a half hours to reach Elements.
Because of its relative proximity to the historic cultural triangle in the central North of Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya is also a great starting and endpoint to combine ancient culture, wildlife with the beach vibe and the many watersports and outdoor activities. Kalpitiya is also famous for families of wild yet friendly donkeys roaming around freely. Sounds fun, right? Now you must be wondering what to do in Kalpitiya. Let’s dive in.
1. Kitesurfing in front of a remote Sri Lankan fishing village
Kitesurfing is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Kalpitiya, as the area is known as one of the top kitesurfing destinations in Asia. Over the years, however, the town of Kalpitiya and the surroundings saw a steep growth in tourism, which means that in the big lagoon there is quite some traffic in the waters. However, if you want to kitesurf in a pristine lagoons in front of an authentic, little fishing village, best wind conditions and with the guidance of a great kite school, you are in luck. Our kite school, Kitecenter Sri Lanka in Kappalady, right by the beach and the kite lagoons, allowing you to make the most of your holiday.
With flat water lagoons and steady-fast wind conditions, for about 300 days of the year, you can engage in kitesurfing, winging and foil boarding in Kappalady. Check this out if you want to know about the kitesurfing seasons in Kalpitiya.
If you fancy, we also organise kitesurfing tours and safaris to other nearby islands in Puttalam lagoon, Dutch Bay, Portugal Bay and Vella island.
2. Dolphin and whale watching in Kalpitiya
dolphin and whale watching. In Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya is by far the best area to spot the spinner dolphins in large shoals. From December to April, the continental shelf of the Kalpitiya Peninsula is the most promising spot to see dolphins and whales in Sri Lanka. Elements Resort organises dolphin watching tours in Sri Lanka for our in-house guests. About three nautical miles off the coast from Elements Resort, you can spot hundreds of spinner dolphins in Kalpitiya. If you get lucky, another two nautical miles away, you would come across the occasional blue whale, the largest mammal on earth.
3. Horse riding in Kalpitiya
Elements lately celebrated the arrival of two beautiful horses - Aquarius and Buddy. The horses have been trained by Ceylon Riding Club and in very good private hands. Well looked after, the horses are well balance in character and temperament. Skilled riders can enjoy horse riding on the beach in front of Kappalady Lagoon, beginners and children can experience the feel of sitting on a horses back in the arena or when guided by one of Elements skilled team members. You don’t want to miss this as it is one of the best things to do in Kalpitiya.
4. Visit St Anne’s Church in Thalawila
One of the most worshipped and historical Christian shrines in Sri Lanka, visiting St Anne’s Church is not to miss, and it’s one of the best things to do in Kalpitiya. At certain dates, the local pilgrims come here in large numbers. The history of the church dates back to the 17th century when the island was under Portuguese colonial rule. Today, Thalawila is a village dotted with palmayrah palm trees and sits next to Kappalady. In Thalawila, you can also see what looks like a lighthouse but in fact its the majestic St. Anns statue in front of a beautiful pristine beach. We also organise kitesurfing trips and downwinders to Thalawila through our in-house kite school.
5. Visit the Dutch Fort in Kalpitiya
A significant landmark of the Dutch East India Company during the Dutch rule in Sri Lanka, the Dutch Fort in Kalpitiya was built using limestone and coral. Used by the Sri Lankan navy today, access to visitors remains free here, but make sure to bring your passport and/or identity document.
6. Biking - cycling in Kalpitiya
Biking or bicycling is one of the best ways to explore and feel the authenticity of rural Sri Lanka. The area surrounding Kappalady and Kalpitiya remains relatively untouched compared to the busy southern and eastern coasts of the country. This means that you are left with plenty of rural villages to visit. Grab a bike at Elements, and go through Sri Lanka’s wild but stunning countryside. You can also pay a visit to the local markets in the area.
6. Scuba diving in Kalpitiya
Kalpitiyais only about to be discovered for scuba diving. Luckily the big scuba tour operators are not here yet. The many stunning dive sites and the rich fish life of Kalpitiya will make it a hotspot for scuba diving in the years to come. It is home to plenty of marine life from sea turtles, to dolphins, tuna, barracuda, moray eels, stingrays and colourful tropical fish. Elements Resort organises PADI diving courses and scuba diving tours with certified diving schools in the region. Read our blog post to know more about scuba diving in Kalpitiya.
7. Enjoy some beach time
Kalpitiya is home to some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, and Kappalady is undoubtedly one of the most untouched, secluded, beautiful and cleanest beaches in the area and it has the coolest and best beach bar all around by no doubt. Elements is located right at the beach, allowing you plenty of time to sit back, relax and unwind. We also have eco-friendly sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean, which is the perfect place for a mid-afternoon swim.
8. Kayaking and Stand Up Paddling SUP
The entire Kalpitiya region is home to many lagoons. The largest untouched lagoon system though is to be found in Kappalady, there is a nearly endless flatwater lagoon system surrounded by mangroves. Rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) from our watersports center and explore the lagoons at your own face. When the sun rises over the palms it is the best time to head out to explore these tropical backwaters while indulging in the absolute morning tranquillity. At this time the lagoons come alive with chirping birds and a few local fishermen throwing their nets for the daily catch.
9. Birdwatching and wildlife
As it remains raw and untouched, the surroundings in Kalpitiya and Kappalady are home to abundant wildlife. Some of these include families of donkeys, while the lagoons provide feeding and nesting grounds for both native and migratory birds, sea eagles, all sorts of herons, and kingfishers. During the winter season in Europe, a lot of migratory bird species come to the tropical countries for a warmer climate, which means that December-February is an ideal time for birdwatching in the Kalpitiya region. If you make a trip up north to Mannar, you could also spot groups of flamingos in the waters.
10. Fishing in Kalpitiya
The traditional livelihood of most people in Kalpitiya is fishing. Being a local fishing hamlet, you could see fishermen head to the sea every morning and evening in Kappalady. If you fancy, we can also organise a beautiful sunset or sunrise fishing tour to bring your catch of the day.
11. Eat at the Beach
Our in-house beach restaurant serves authentic Sri Lankan rice & curry. With your feet in the sand our two chefs organise amazing beach fire barbecues, serve the authentic local rice & curry or do the definitely best pasta in the entire region. Our chef worked for over 7 years in an Italian resort in the Maldives. Breakfast consists of various fresh tropical fruits, Sri Lankan staples such as appa or hoppers, bowl-shaped pancakes that could be enjoyed with a spicy onion sambal called lunu miris and at times self baked croissant au chocolat.