- Brave the rapids of the Kelani River
- Abseil down the Sandun Ella Waterfalls
- Climb above the clouds at Little Adam's Peak
- Explore the wilds of Yala National Park on a Jeep safari
- Snorkel with sea turtles in the coral reefs of Bentota
|Day 1||Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Kitulgala||Kitulgala|
|Day 2||Whitewater Rafting & Abseiling Adventure in Kitulgala||Kitulgala|
|Day 3||Transfer to Ella, Horton Plains National Park Hike||Ella|
|Day 4||Visit Ella's Nine Arch Bridge, Hike to Lipton’s Seat||Ella|
|Day 5||Climb to Little Adam’s Peak, Transfer to Yala||Yala|
|Day 6||Jeep Safari at Yala National Park||Yala|
|Day 7||Transfer to Bentota via Galle’s Dutch Fort||Bentota|
|Day 8||Snorkeling in Hikkaduwa, Visit a Turtle Hatchery in Bentota||Bentota|
|Day 9||Transfer to Colombo Airport & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Kitulgala
Welcome to Sri Lanka! On arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, your driver will be waiting to transfer you inland to the small town of Kitulgala. Set within an incredible wet zone rain forest, you might recognize this lush region as the filming location of David Lean’s 1957 epic, "Bridge on the River Kwai." The area's many nature trails and forests are ideal for bird watching, and rocky gorges and rushing rivers make it a prime spot for canyoneering and world-class whitewater rafting.
Day 2: Whitewater Rafting & Abseiling Adventure in Kitulgala
Adventure awaits today as you experience the thrill of whitewater rafting down the Kelani River. Suitable for both beginners and experts, the 90-minute trips travel along 3 miles (5 km) of incredible Class 2 and 3-rated rapids, with names like the "Rib Cage," "Head Chopper," and "Butter Crunch."
The adrenaline rush continues in the afternoon as you abseil alongside Kitulgala's thundering waterfalls. Start with a half-hour hike through the tea country to the Sandun Ella Waterfalls, which offer stunning panoramic views of the jungle-clad mountains. After some basic training and safety tips, you'll step off the ledge and make a thrilling descent along the 100-foot (30 m) cascade to reach the natural infinity pool below.
Day 3: Transfer to Ella, Horton Plains National Park Hike
Today starts bright and early, with a packed breakfast and a 6 am transfer to Horton Plains National Park. Located at the heart of the isle, this UNESCO World Heritage Site and eco-tourism hotspot is renowned for its sweeping green plains and wet montane evergreen forests. Altitudes above 7,000 feet (2,133 m) and a cool, wet climate create a unique and biodiverse ecosystem that shelters flora and fauna varieties found nowhere else on earth.
See its many wonders up close with a 6-mile (9.5-km) hike to the aptly-named World's End, a towering escarpment that falls dramatically to the lowlands and offers breathtaking views all the way to the distant southern coastline. Keep an eye out for the park's rare and diverse birdlife, as well as sambar deer, wild boar, otters, and maybe even a glimpse of the rare Sri Lankan leopard. Afterward, you'll continue east into the lush mountains and tea fields of the Hill Country to reach your accommodations in the charming highland village of Ella.
Day 4: Visit Ella's Nine Arch Bridge, Hike to Lipton’s Seat
Explore more of Ella today, starting with a visit to its famous Nine Arch Bridge. Located along the winding Demodara rail loop, the gracefully arched bridge spans 298 feet (91 m) and rises 78 feet (24 m) above the dense jungle and pastoral fields. Continue to Lipton's Seat for a gentle hike to one of Sri Lanka's most spectacular viewpoints. The Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton used to survey his burgeoning empire from this lofty spot, and today you can enjoy a similar panorama looking out across emerald hills and tea estates.
To reach the lookout point, follow the signed narrow paved roads from the Dambatenne Tea Factory and climb about 5 miles (8 km) through tea plantations. Along the way, you'll share the trail with Tamil tea pickers on their way to work, and enterprising locals sell snacks and drinks at the top. Afterward, you can cool down and rest tired legs with a visit to the Ellewala Waterfall near Wellawaya, where you'll find a beautiful cascade hidden in the dense jungles. The gentle falls plunge into a natural turquoise swimming hole, making it the perfect spot for a swim.
Day 5: Climb to Little Adam’s Peak, Transfer to Yala
Start the morning with a memorable climb past tea estates, waterfalls, and rice fields to reach one of Sri Lanka's highest peaks. Rising 3,743 feet (1,141 m) above the surrounding landscape, the gentle trek up Punchi Sri Pada or Little Adam's Peak rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views across the valleys and fields below.
Afterward, you'll get back on the road and transfer south towards Yala National Park. After settling in, you have the option of setting out for your first look at the park and its inhabitants on an afternoon safari or resting up for a full day of wildlife spotting tomorrow.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Jeep Safari at Yala National ParkRise early this morning to search for the elusive Sri Lankan leopard in the wilds of Yala National Park. Covering almost 621 square miles (1,608 sq km), the second-largest national park in Sri Lanka was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and its savannah-like landscape of dry thorn scrub and forest glades makes it the perfect environment for wildlife spotting. On today's Jeep safari, you'll spot a diverse array of flora and fauna, from peacocks to elephants, and if you're lucky, catch a glimpse of Sri Lanka's biggest cats.
Day 7: Transfer to Bentota via Galle's Dutch Fort
It's time to head to the beach! Meet your driver for a scenic transfer west along Sri Lanka's south coast today, stopping along the way to explore the colonial town of Galle. Surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean, the largest occupied fort in Asia was built by the Portuguese and later extended by the Dutch in 1663. The UNESCO-listed site spans over 90 acres, and amid the wealth of fascinating architecture, you'll find Dutch-colonial buildings, historic mosques, grand mansions, and museums.
Get back on the road in the afternoon and continue to the golden beaches and calm seas of Bentota. After settling into your accommodations, sample the local cuisine with a dinner of freshly caught seafood before watching a memorable sunset over the Laccadive Sea.
Day 8: Snorkeling in Hikkaduwa, Visit a Turtle Hatchery in Bentota
Just down the coast from Bentota, the clear, warm waters around Hikkaduwa are teeming with biodiverse marine life. Spend today snorkeling through this stunning aquamarine bay and its offshore coral reef—enjoying the clear, warm waters and spotting sea turtles, reef fish, and shipwrecks.
In the afternoon, you can visit a turtle hatchery in nearby Kosgoda to learn about Sri Lanka's many endangered species (like the leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead) as well as the efforts that support the island's turtle populations. Although October to April is the main laying season, some eggs (mostly green turtles) can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year. See adorable hatchlings, learn about the epic journey from egg to sea, and help support the conservation work that protects these remarkable animals.
Day 9: Transfer to Colombo & Depart
After a final morning at the beach, it's time to bid Sri Lanka farewell as your driver transfers you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels and ayubowan (the traditional Sri Lankan blessing of long life).