Diving Weligama

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Weligama, Sri Lanka


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Country: Sri Lanka  Area: Sri Lanka

Water Temp: 28 - 31°C (82 - 88°F)

Visibility: 5 - 25m (16 - 82 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 35m (16 - 115 ft)

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Weligama translates to mean “sandy village”, in reference to the town’s sand-swept bay. Located only 2.5 hours from the capital of Sri Lanka, this area is visited for its large number of nudibranches, pinnacles, blue whales, whale sharks and manta rays. The town itself retains that small fishing-village charm, making it an idyllic base for diving adventures.

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Weligama is located roughly 24 kilometres from the historic city of Galle. A scenic drive along coconut-fringed roads leads you into this picturesque fishing village located on the edge of a sandy bay.  The town revolves almost entirely around the ocean – bit it through fishing, diving, glass-bottom boat trips or surfing.

There are five dive sites located off the coast of Weligama, which have depths between 12 – 30 meters. Dives here often put divers in close contact with various Nudibranches and other colourful fish. Dives occur against a backdrop of large pinnacles and rock formations, which are favoured by eels, sea turtles, electric rays and moray eels. Some divers are even lucky enough to see Blue Whales, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.  


The dive season in southern Sri Lanka spans from October to May. During this time, the weather is pleasant and warm, and the water temperatures range between 28 and 29 degrees Celsius.

The monsoon season lasts from May to September.

The Boats & the beach, Credit

Marine Conservation

Weligama has seen an increased level of concern from the international conservation community given the degradation of reefs and marine life as a result of fishing practices and shark and whale poaching. Recent research has established a need for a marine protected area in the Weligama region. Unfortunately, there are few organizations that are specifically devoted to on-going and active conservation efforts. There are however somewhat more established initiatives in neighbouring Mirissa, which may have a positive impact on the marine life in Weligama. 

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Shore Diving

There is no shore diving off of Weligama. 

Dolphins! Credit

Boat Diving

The southern Sri Lankan dive season spans from October to May. During this time, divers are likely to see Blue Whales, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. All dive sites are accessed by boat, and have maximum depths that range from 15 – 30 meters, moving slowly out towards the deep blue. Rock formations and large pinnacles are some of the most geologically interesting features.

There are five sites that are typically visited when diving at Weligama. Dispa Rock revolves around an impressive pinnacle, which is often covered by triggerfish and barracuda. Moving out into the deep water also gives you a good chance at seeing Blue Whales, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. Yala Rock has some of the largest rock formations, which provide opportunities for swim-throughs. This area is favoured by turtles, lobsters, lionfish and stonefish. Patch Point is again different, in that dives here occur over large patches of small rocks that were thrown overboard by old merchant ships. This region is favoured by Triggerfish, Honeycomb Moray Eels, Stingrays and Powder Blue Sturgens. 

Liveaboard Diving

There is no liveaboard diving in the region. 

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How to Get there

International flights land and depart from Colombo International Airport (CMB) in the capital, or from Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) in southeast Sri Lanka.

Road Mirissa, Credit

Weligama itself is located between the towns of Galle and Matala. Rail, bus and the highway all connect Weligama to the rest of the country. It is roughly a 3-hour drive from Colombo along a newly constructed highway. 

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Where to Eat & Drink

Restaurant and nightlife options are somewhat limited in Weligama, given that it is a small fishing village.

Most restaurants are locally run, and offer up daily catches prepared with local flavours. There is also an extremely popular ice cream shop located across from the bus terminal. A few of the local lodges, hostels and B&Bs also have small restaurants.

A shop in Weligama, Credit

Additional options are available in the neighbouring town of Mirissa. Here, you will find a few more resorts and lodges that serve more international fare. There is also a very famous rotti shop in town. Traveling even further afield to towns like Unawatuna again offers up even more variety in terms of restaurants and nightlife. 

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Other Activities

Activities in Weligama are somewhat limited, and all revolve around the ocean. In addition to diving, there are a number of good snorkelling sites that can be accessed by boat. Glass-bottom boats are also growing in popularity. Otherwise, some operators offer sport fishing trips and whale watching trips. Surfing too is popular.

Whale watching, Credit

At low tide, it is also worth walking out to the tiny island of Taprobane. This island has served as an artist’s retreat for over 50 years. 

On land, there are a few small local temples that can be visited. Exploring this active fishing village can also be an interesting cultural experience. Additional activities are offered out of the town of Unawatuna, which is less than 30 kilometres away. Here, you will find a number of yoga courses in addition to various other dive operators. 

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Weligama is a small fishing village with relatively few options for travellers. For those who are looking for more variety and establishment, you might consider staying in the neighbouring town of Mirissa or Unawantuna. For those looking for a more authentic Sri Lankan experience – Weligama will be perfect.

Man fishing, Credit

The only hyperbaric chamber is located in a town called Trinconmalee at a military base. It is approximately 380 kilometers from Weligama and the drive takes about 5.5 hours.  

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Is it legal to go blue whale diving in Sri Lanka as of 2018?

i have been looking around at places to dive with blue whales. It is impossible to swim with whales in the united states. I like the sound of going to india, but is it still legal to dive with the blue whales... i heard there was a government ban 10 months ago.

Rating 6/10

Nice experience but a bit early

Weligama3 Dec 2014 - 4 Dec 2014 with Weligama Bay Dive Center

This was my first dive outside my home town (UAE, Dubai) and after many research we decided on Weligama based on the report that we might see big fishes. The weather was perfect and waves not too bumpy, but the dive was a bit disappointing. We were told that since the monsoon ended late, the big fish season would start end of December/start of Jan. We have not seen any Mantas, Whale sharks, reef sharks but we did see a lot of different star fishes, small fishes, a beautiful scorpion fish and few barracudas. Also few eels.

Over all, it was very nice but I was disappointed to miss the big fishes.

As for snorkelling, it was too dusty and there was almost no coral reef near the beach due to the fishing ships, though we saw few nice marine life, it was not as much as expected.

The Dive centre staff however were extremely helpful and pretty fun. I would lie if I said I didn't enjoy the dive and the four day and I would certainly be back but next time will make sure its the right season.

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Catherine Jones

Sharief, we will update the Weligama Animal Calendar to make it align a little more with your useful feedback.


Delphini Jo

Sri lanka big creatures have been long hunted by the fisherman.. nothing left :( pls update, you can check the accuracy via tripadvisor

Will Evermind

talked to a local divemaster that has been diving here for more than 20 years, and told me that the chances of seeing whales while diving are nil. You can always go deep into the blue and wait, but more often than not you'll just spend a boring hour without seeing anything. He confessed that it's just a lot of marketing.

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