If you’re looking up for Scuba Diving, you probably already know what the pros and cons of it are; to put it simply, it’s a type of underwater diving where divers use an apparatus that let them dive below the surface independently, unlike Snorkeling. To have an amazing Scuba diving experience, knowing the basics of Swimming will be immensely useful but not mandatory in many cases. Will the basic standards apply for Scuba diving in Sri Lanka? Well, here’s all you need to know about Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka.

What’s Special about Sri Lanka?

To begin with, Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the ocean and home to a number of golden coasts and pristine beaches. Specifically, 1,585 kilometers of coastline. Many of the shallow waters around these beaches are rich with exotic fish and coral reef beds worth seeing. These cannot be witnessed via a glass-bottom boat ride nor snorkeling. One must dive down the surface to steal these magnificent views.

In addition to this, Lankan coasts are protected naturally by mangroves which help maintain habitat for marine life. And Sri Lankan waters – especially the down south Hikkaduwa area, hosts several shipwreck sites from back in the 1800s.

Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka

First and foremost, you must obtain a diving certificate for safety purposes. Luckily many diving schools around the coastal cities in the country are authorized to give one. All you need to do is pay few rupees to get your certificate. You can also receive diving gear and equipment right here. Many of these schools offer packages, so if you already have your diver’s certificate, it’s best that you bring your own gear. In order to get your PADI diving certificate, it would probably take three days, so be prepared for a slightly longer stay.

Almost none of the scuba diving locations in Sri Lanka has shore sites where expeditions happen at the coast itself. Instead, it would take a 15-minute minimum ride off the coastline to reach the site. It is also why scuba divers in Sri Lanka must have swimming skills. Although the waters are fairly safe and there’s always the lookout, the coast is quite a bit far from the site.

Where to go Scuba Diving?

Being an Island with countless breathtaking beach sites, sometimes it is a real challenge to choose where to go scuba diving in Sri Lanka. Be it an amateur or an expert – we can confidently say that all these following locations on the island are top-notch for a tropical Scuba Diving experience.

1. Unawatuna

A famous tourist destination in Southern Sri Lanka, the waters of Unawatuna beach harbours Goda Gala Diyamba, Ralagala and few other Dutch shipwrecks that are now home to a variety of fish and sea anemones. There are many PADI certified resorts and diving schools around the area so it won’t be a hassle for you on your beach holiday.

2. Trincomalee

Bordering the Northeast coast of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee caters to widely different holiday seekers. It’s an infamous whale-watching destination. However, Scuba Divers also find this place to be a hidden gem. The unpolluted waters of Pigeon Island, in Trincomalee Beach, is a lush marine sanctuary housing exotic fish, anemones and coral reefs. The neighbouring sea strands are also famous Scuba Diving locations in Sri Lanka. So you can be a little adventurous on your Trincomalee tour.

3. Mirissa

South of Sri Lanka is glorified for its tropical coastal vibes that radiate along the palm-fringed beaches and beyond. Mirissa – yet another famous Whale Watching destination – has earned its reputation for Scuba Diving in the recent past. From the Lopsta Point for amateurs to Napoleon Point for breathtaking sightings and more, the waters of Mirissa is known for over 5 Scuba Diving points that any diver must visit on their relaxing getaway to the tropical south of Sri Lanka.

4. Passikudah

The Serene and Sensational East Coast is famous for its gorgeous Sunrises and Surfing experiences. However, Scuba Diving caught public attention a few years back. Most of its coral reefs are similar to those you’d see in Trincomalee. In addition, you will come across the famous British Ship Wreck that houses exotic species of fish. Unlike the South, Pasikudah is much laid-back, hence you wouldn’t find many diving schools around the area. If you’re an experienced diver, Pasikudah is ideal for Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka.

5. Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is one of the very first equipped Scuba Diving locations in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is known for its beautiful coral reef bed, crystal calm waters and sunny tropical climate. Located in the vibrant Southern Province, diving points in Hikkaduwa lay closely to Mirissa. Some of these points are Napoleon Point (can be reached from Mirissa), Black Coral Points, Kirala Gala Point and more. If you’re a newbie to Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka, we urge you to make Hikkaduwa your go-to place. Safety is always assured, and there are many diving schools around the area.

6. Kalpitiya

An untouched coastal peninsula located in the secluded Northwest of Sri Lanka, the 14 islands of Kalpitiya was discovered by tourists due to their unique geographical positioning and for Whale and Dolphin Watching. In recent years, Kalpitiya has gained attention over Scuba Diving. The highlight is witnessing the ‘Bar Reef’ – the largest Coral Reef in Sri Lanka, The Ridge and The Pearl Banks, which offer scenic views for underwater photography. It’s the ideal Scuba Diving location for beginners as ocean currents are relatively low. 

7. Kirinda

A Lesser-known tourist destination, Kirinda is a remote town in the Southeast of Sri Lanka, offering Scuba Divers something they’d least expect. The waters of Kirinda is a habitat for exotic fish, sea anemones and a gigantic reef bed extending 40 kilometres in length. The reef bed is known as the Great Basses Reef. Back in the day, it is said to be the cause of many shipwrecks. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway and a thrilling Scuba Diving experience, Kirinda is the ideal location for you.


Planning on going Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka? We hope this would help you get an understanding of how and where to go Scuba Diving on your next holiday to Sri Lanka.

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