Best Season for Whale and Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a mini paradise island where you can enjoy countless magical experiences. It has been acclaimed as one of the best places to travel in the world for consecutive years. There’s good news, especially for whale and dolphin enthusiasts, as Sri Lanka offers stunning encounters with these magnificent creatures in several locations. Read on to find out more about this amazing opportunity.

Best Places and Seasons for Whale and Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

Here’s a breakdown of the top viewing places and the best times to visit.


Although the best season for whale watching at Mirissa is from November to April, the optimal time to view them is from March to April. Arguably, this is the most popular spot, as Mirissa is known for its high success rates in spotting blue whales between December and April. The continental shelf is narrow and deep here, and it brings these gentle giants closer to the coast. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins are also commonly seen year-round, but during the monsoons, the sea is too rough to make any excursions out to see them.


Trincomalee is located on the east coast of Sri Lanka. While the whales spend most of the year down off the south coast, they make their way up to the east coast as the year progresses. The best season to go whale watching in Trincomalee is May to October, when the monsoon forces them to move away from the south coast. Sperm whales and Bryde’s whales are also commonly seen alongside the blue whales. Spinner dolphins also appear in abundance towards the end of the season.


Galle is not a location in which blue whales are commonly sighted; however, sperm whales, spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback dolphins can be viewed from here. Galle is situated in the south of Sri Lanka, and the best season is from November to April, when the seas are calmer. If you’re lucky, you can spot them from the top of the Galle Fort.


This northwest peninsula offers sightings of dolphin pods throughout the year, with the highest concentrations between November and April. Spinner, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen, with rare sightings of blue whales. At peak season, it’s possible to sight sperm whales.

The Sri Lankan Blue Whale

The Antarctic blue whale migrates annually between the cold Antarctic waters and warmer feeding grounds in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka’s south coast sits on their migration route, making it a prime spot for spotting them. The reason they are drawn to the Sri Lankan coast is the abundant krill on the continental shelf, which is the blue whale’s primary food source. The calm waters off the coast offer ideal conditions for feeding and breeding. Whales are mammals, and as such, they have lungs. They don’t have the ability to breathe underwater, but they can hold their breath for half an hour at a time. Upon surfacing, whales spout air and water through their blow-hole. They then dip in and out of the water for around three or four minutes, and eventually they dive back in. That’s when you will get to see their tail. With the responsibility of being host to these majestic animals, Sri Lanka has become a leader in responsible whale watching, with strict regulations that help to protect these gentle giants. The Sri Lankan blue whale is a highlight of any Sri Lankan wildlife encounter. These creatures are non-migratory, which is rare, and they belong to the pygmy blue whale subspecies, which is smaller than the Antarctic blue whale. The Sri Lankan blue whale can reach lengths of up to 24 meters and weights of up to 90 tonnes, and the Antarctic blue whale can grow up to 30 metres and weigh up to 200 tonnes.

Things to Know About Whale and Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

The most important thing to remember when setting out is that there is no guarantee that you will see whales on the excursion. The staff on board are dedicated and will ensure that if there are any opportunities, you will not miss them. There’s a higher chance of seeing dolphins and sea turtles, which will be magical as well. Book tours in advance with reputable operators who prioritise ethical practices and animal welfare. Arrive early for the best chance of seeing whales, as they tend to be most active in the mornings. Visit Apple Vacations for tailored holiday packages and excursions, and get ready for a breathtaking adventure on the Sri Lankan seas!