December is one of the best months of the year to visit Sri Lanka, the south of the island specially. While the north is rainy and wet in December, the south is postcard perfect. If you are thinking of switching the snow for the sunshine, here are some reasons why Sri Lanka should be your new favourite winter escape.
The southern beaches are perfect for families in December since the waves are small and the shore is calm. There is very little rain and the beach bumming can get no better. Have a cold beer or king coconut by the shore while the kids run from the little foaming waves that hit the soft sands. The small waves are perfect for learning to surf this time of year.
This time of year is dry season for the south of Sri Lanka and so the heat is high and the skies are clear. Soak in the sun and wear flip flops every day. Be mindful of your skin and use sunblock and wear a hat when spending lots of time outdoors. The sun will be powerful so make sure you drink lots of water. When was the last time you spent Christmas in your bathing suit?
It’s perfect whale watching season
The southern tip of the island is like a whale highway at this time of the year. Hire a boat or go on a whale watching expedition to see if you can spot blue whales, humpback whales and even killer whales. Dolphins and whale sharks also make appearances in the waves. Don’t forget your camera!
The coast of Sri Lanka is home to plenty of water sports. There are amazing shipwreck diving spots, waves for surfing and wind for kite surfing. A bit further inland, in the hill country, you can do white water rafting, kayaking and waterfall free jumping. Our favorite kite surfing team is at Kite Surfing Lanka.
The National Parks in Sri Lanka are famous for the high count of wild animals that can be spotted crossing the roads or wandering around the elephant grass. Take an elephant safari or spend the night in an elephant hut up in a tree. Yala National Park and Gal Oya are both great choices for this time of year. There is also an elephant orphanage that takes in mistreated elephants
Sri Lanka, is full of lovely homes converted into holiday villas for families. Most of them maintain an old colonial style, including the furniture and decorations. Most villas have pools and gardens. Many also have coconut or fruit plantations surrounding them while others even have their own beach. Villas always have staff that will cook for you and tidy up the rooms while you are out. These private villas are great alternatives to the usual hotels. One of our favorites is Taru Villas.
Rice and curry feasts
The national food of Sri Lanka is the unforgettable rice and curry. Buffets have endless combinations of curries, vegetable dishes, sambols and types of rice to choose from. The rice is placed as a mound on the center of the plate and the curries and other preparations are served around it. All topped with a couple pieces of papadam that will help you eat it all with your hand.
Being so close to the ocean, seafood is plentiful and fresh. Crabs, lobsters, prawns, fish of all kinds and shellfish will all make an appearance at the seaside seafood buffets. There are also great Japanese restaurants that never use frozen fish for their sashimi or sushi. Ministry of Crab serves the biggest crabs on the island and the restaurants in Mt. Lavinia beach have the best fish curries you’ve ever tasted.
Sri Lankan Christmas cake
Coming to Sri Lanka involves tasting some of the world’s richest Christmas cake. The Sri Lankan Christmas cake is a fusion between the classic European fruit cake with Sri Lankan spices and nuts. Fans of festive fruit cake usually say that the Sri Lankan recipe is the richest and most complex of all the Christmas cakes. Grandmothers start preparing their cakes as early as August. When its time to give out gifts, little pieces of cake are wrapped in green or red foil and handed out like candy between all the family members.