Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna are very popular spots. The first of all the places on the island to have a proper PADI dive center and PADI Training center. Getting some Scuba diving hours into your holiday is a no-brainer in Hikkaduwa or Unawatuna. There are at least 10 coral reef dive spots at all depths for all levels, like Hikkaduwa Gala and Barracuda Point. There are also lots of shipwreck dives to check out, none are more than 30 meters deep.
Trincomalee is on the east coast of Sri Lanka and it’s Nilavelli beach is the launch pad for most dives in the area. A few kilometers off the coast is Pigeon Island Marine Life Sanctuary, surrounded by coral reefs full of colorful fish, anemone, nudibranch and more. Another diving spot in Trincomalee is the ship wreck Irakkandy, an 18th-century steamer close to the coast.
Mirissa has always been famous for whale watching but now it’s gaining popularity for its great diving. There are around five dive sites in Mirissa. The Poseidon Diving Center has programs for beginners and also full PADI training courses to reach all levels. Mirissa is on the southeast coast of the island.
Another east coast diving hotspot is Passikudah. Some of the sites that can be visited from Trincomalee can also be visited from Passikudah but there are other spots close by like Passikudah reef and the Boiler Wrecks. The famous wreck British Sergeant is accessible from Passikudah.
Kirinda is a special diving spot, home to the Little and Great Basses wrecks. These spots can only be visited in March and April. The rest of the year the waters are way too choppy and murky for the diving to be any good. If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka during the peak Basses season, you should definitely consider this dive. There is no dive center on Kirinda but the dive centers in Mirissa or Hikkaduwa can take you.