|Main attraction||Marine life, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling|
Pigeon Island National Park consists of two small islands off the east coast north of Trincomalee. The island gets its name from the Blue Rock Pigeon, a native endangered bird that lives within the rocks in these islands. The islands were declared a sanctuary in 1963 for the purpose of protecting these birds. In 2003 this area was upgraded to the status of a National Park and the boundaries were extended to include coral reefs around them. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province, encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares.
During colonial oppression, Trincomalee was a highly strategic natural harbour that was valued by all colonial masters. This island only about 20 kilometres away from the harbour, was used as a shooting range by the colonials. Pigeon Island National Park is one of the only two marine national parks in Sri Lanka, the other being the Hikkaduwa Corel Reefs.
The two islands are called Large Pigeon Island and Small Pigeon Island. The Large Pigeon Island is fringed by a coral reef and is about 200 m long and 100 m wide. Its highest point is 44.8 m above mean sea level. The small pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets. The national park is situated within the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The mean annual temperature is around 27.0 °C (80.6 °F). The annual rainfall ranges between 1,000–1,700 millimetres (39–67 in) while most of the rain is received during the Northeastern monsoon season from October to March. During this period the sea is rough and windy on some days. The Navy will not operate their own boats or will not allow the private owners to operate their own boats during these periods. Therefore if you are visiting Trincomalee for the sole purpose of visiting the island, it’s best you have alternative plans in case the boats are not operating.
The reef here is shallow, making snorkelling almost as satisfying as diving, and it’s home to dozens of corals, hundreds of reef fish (including blacktip reef sharks), and turtles. This is an ideal place to spend your day under the shade of a tree or on the powder-like white sand. The recent surge of tourism has somewhat damaged the corals in the shallow areas by trampling while bathing.
A number of Hotels and Guest Houses have opened up along the sandy beaches of Nilaveli since the end of the war. There are Scuba Dive operators based in these hotels who organize dive trips. The National Wildlife Park Office lies at Nilaveli Beach and the entrance tickets to the island are the same as the entrance fee of any National Park in Sri Lanka as shown below. There is a hut operated by the local boat owners association where you could arrange a return trip. Boat operators will charge Rs 3000-5000 for a return trip to the island. These can be organized outside hotel arrangements. The islands are looked after by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The busiest period of this site is May to September due to the weather being the best during this period.
Pigeon Island Ticket Prices
|Description (Fees Applicable for Category 1 Park)||Price|
|Local – Adults||LKR 150|
|Local – Children (6-12 years)||LKR 100|
|Local – Student||LKR 20|
|Local – Children (below 6 years)||FOC|
|Local – Group Fee (per vehicle)||LKR 400|
|Foreign – Adults||USD 25|
|Foreign – Children (6-12 years)||USD 15|
|Foreign SAARC Countries – Adults||USD 20|
|Foreign SAARC Countries – Children (6-12 years)||USD 10|
|Foreign – Children (below 6 years)||FOC|
|Foreign – Group Fee (per vehicle)||USD 10|
|Taxes on total cost||15%|
|Entrance Fee per vehicle||LKR 300|
for example, for 2 foreigners with 1 child between 6-12 will have the cost of
|2 adults||USD 50.00|
|1 child||USD 15.00|
|Group Fee||USD 10.00|
|Tax (15%)||USD 11.25|
The above costs are for entry tickets for persons as gazetted in 2022. A ticket for the vehicle, as given above, has to be purchased separately.
Payments can be made in USD or equivalent LKR by foreigners. You can call 1919 (government information center) for the latest ticket prices. If you hire a private safari Jeep, the prices vary from LKR 11,000 to LKR 15,000 for a half day (4 hours) based on the park. For a full day, it’s double the cost of a half day.
For Pigeon Island, the transport is by boat. A number of Boat services are available on the beach. However this is regulated by the Sri Lankan Navy and during the monsoon or periods of rough seas, Boats are not allowed to take tourists for their safety. So if the sea is rough, remember there is a possibility that the boat services could be stopped and the visit may have to be cancelled.
Map of Pigeon Island National Park
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites
Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.
Travel Directions to Pigeon Island National Park
The Pigeon Island National Park can be reached through Dambulla and is approximately 280km from Colombo. If you are travelling from Colombo You will have to reach Kurunegala through Kandy Road or Negambo Road. From Kurunegala take the Dambulla – Habarana Road.
|Route from Colombo to Pigeon Island National Park|
|Through : Ja-Ela – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Habarana|
Distance : 291 km
Travel time: 6.30 hours.
Driving Directions : see on Google map