Forget rushing around with kids in tow—this laid-back, 10-day family vacation stays in one spot so you can relax and explore Sri Lanka at a gentler pace. Based in the south coast beach paradise of Dikwella, an itinerary of diverse day trips and fun excursions lies within easy reach. Hunt for treasure in the historic walls of Galle Fort, spot blue whales from your private yacht, hike through the mysterious wilds of Sinharaja Forest, and try your hand at surfing and snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.


  • Follow a treasure hunt through the historic fortified city of Galle
  • Meet rescued sea turtles at the Rekawa Hatchery
  • Go whale watching on your own private catamaran
  • Hike along the paths and bridges of the enchanted Sinharaja Forest
  • Learn to surf in the protected waters of Weligama Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Dikwella Dikwella
Day 2 Sri Lankan Mask Carving Workshop, Galle Fort Treasure Hunt Dikwella
Day 3 Koggala Lake Boat Ride, Cinnamon Island Visit, Evening Sea Turtle Watch Dikwella
Day 4 Cycle Through the Southern Countryside Dikwella
Day 5 Set Sail on a Whale Watching Tour Dikwella
Day 6 Discover the Sinharaja Rainforest Dikwella
Day 7 Learn to Surf the Waves of Weligama Bay, Afternoon Snorkeling Excursion Dikwella
Days 8-9 Beach Days in Dikwella Dikwella
Day 10 Transfer to Colombo, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Transfer to Dikwella

Dikwella's protected, crescent-shaped bay
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to the coastal town of Dikwella. Located at the heart of the sunny south coast, this small town feels relaxed and authentic, with golden beaches and turquoise waters drawing locals and tourists alike. Get settled into your accommodations, then head to the beach. Ringed by sandbars and coral reefs, this tranquil stretch of the coast is perfect for gentle paddling and watersports for the whole family.

Day 2: Sri Lankan Mask Carving Workshop, Galle Fort Treasure Hunt

Sri Lankan Mask Carving Workshop
Get hands-on with today's family mask painting workshop

Today masks are used for Sri Lankan performances and rituals, but ancient beliefs tell of their healing and protective powers. Learn fascinating, age-old techniques from your host in Kolam today, where masks are still traditionally made from a light wood called kaduru. Follow your host's guidance as together you mold your creations using sustainable resources such as recycled paper, kithul (treacle), kurundu (cinnamon), clay, broken tiles, beeswax, and even cow dung. Older children can practice carving the masks with adult help, while younger ages can opt to paint their own colorful creations.

Afterward, you'll head to the UNESCO-listed city of Galle, where you can explore 300-year-old fortifications surrounded on three sides by the Indian Ocean. Kids can learn more about Galle's swashbuckling past in an adventurous way with a treasure hunt that starts near the entrance at the Moon Bastion. Together you'll explore the fort's many atmospheric corners and alleys as you hunt for clues, discovering a new topic at each stop and finishing the experience with a lot of new knowledge and a nice cold treat!

Day 3: Koggala Lake Boat Ride, Cinnamon Island Visit, Evening Sea Turtle Watch

Releasing endangered sea turtles back into the wild
Learn about how a local community initiative releases endangered sea turtles back into the wild

Start your day with a relaxing boat ride on Koggala Lake, which is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife. Look carefully and you might see a monkey or crocodile trying to hide from sight. Stop at Cinnamon Island, where you'll see how cinnamon is harvested, dried, and ground, and try some cinnamon tea. 

This evening, head to Rekawa, where you'll learn about the endangered sea turtle species that return to their Sri Lanka birthplace to lay their eggs. The community-based Nature Friends of Rekawa's turtle nest protectors patrol the beaches to protect nests until hatchlings emerge. The nest protectors also organize nighttime Turtle Watches to educate the public and raise money to continue their program. Tonight, if a sea turtle swims ashore and lays her eggs, you'll be able to watch—a sight not to be missed.

Day 4: Cycle Through the Southern Countryside

Explore the rural Sri Lankan countryside by bike
Explore the rural Sri Lankan countryside by bike with a gentle family cycling tour
Head out into the countryside today to discover the local landscape by bike. Pedaling along meandering paths and lanes, you'll pass scenes of leisurely village life, local temples burning incense, and vibrant blue kingfishers flying overhead. The gentle 7-mile (12 km) route is kid-friendly, but tired little ones can also hitch a ride in the accompanying support tuk-tuk. Take a break for a refreshing hambili (king coconut) in an ambalama (traveler's shelter), or end with a scenic lunch at Kahanda Kanda to the north of Koggala Lake. 
Plan your trip to Sri Lanka
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Set Sail on a Whale Watching Tour

A blue whale off the coast of Mirissa
Spot blue whales off the coast of Mirissa

Whale and dolphin watching is one of Sri Lanka's most popular activities, and the waters around Mirissa offer some of the best in the country. Opt for a private whale watching excursion today for a memorable day spent on the water. Leaving bright and early, your chef will prepare breakfast as you sail, and afterward, you'll be invited to the bow and upper decks for the best views of these incredible creatures. Then it's on to Weligama Bay, where the yacht anchors near the Snake and Taprobane Islands—a lovely spot for the whole family to enjoy lunch and some swimming and standup paddleboarding.

Day 6: Discover the Sinharaja Rainforest

Spot exotic birds like peacocks in the misty hills of Sinharaja
Rise early today for an adventurous excursion into the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Dense, dark, wet, and mysterious, the primeval rainforest of Sinharaja is one of Sri Lanka's most important biodiversity hotspots and its last remaining lowland evergreen rainforest. The kids can play explorer as they follow narrow paths and wooden footbridges to explore the incredible World Biosphere Reserve—keeping an eye out for monkeys, snakes, amphibians, butterflies, and colorful birds. 

Day 7: Learn to Surf the Waves of Weligama Bay, Afternoon Snorkeling Excursion

Learn to surf in a safe and secluded area of Weligama Bay
Learn to surf in a safe and secluded area of Weligama Bay

Today you'll head to a secluded part of Weligama Bay, where you'll find a welcoming surf school nestled among the palms. Away from the hustle and bustle of the western coast, you'll be greeted with warm smiles as you prepare for a family surf lesson. Kids as young as eight can try their hand at catching a wave in a safe and fun environment, learning the basics on the beach before progressing to the open water. After the lesson has finished, rest your board on the warm sand and enjoy a refreshing drink under the shelter of a traditional beach hut.

The south coast offers some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, as well as some of the island's clearest waters for snorkeling and diving. After lunch, explore more of the colorful underwater world with an afternoon of snorkeling, taking your time as you paddle through schools of iridescent fish and their lush habitats. 

Days 8-9: Beach Days in Dikwella

Spend your free time discovering more of Dikwella and its underwater world
The next two days are free for you to do as little or as much as you please in your beach paradise. Book some watersports excursions, explore more of the coast, or spend your days at the beach, building sand castles and paddling in the warm waters. 

Day 10: Transfer to Colombo, Depart

A colorful Sri Lankan sunset at the beach

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).

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Map of Sri Lanka South Coast Family Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Sri Lanka South Coast Family Adventure - 10 Days