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Located in southern Sri Lanka some 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Galle, Weligama is a small, coastal town overlooking a calm, beautiful bay. Its beaches are amongst the finest on the island, boasting powdery, fine sand, seemingly endless seas that fade from dark azure to a lighter shade of turquoise closer to shore, and clear, light skies dotted with fluffy clouds.
Given its location, many of Weligama's attractions center around the sea. Surf the nearby waves; visit the unique Taprobane Island, once home to a quirky, wealthy Frenchman; relax on the beautiful beaches; and watch stilt fishermen at work.
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With several easy surf breaks, a shallow, sandy bottom, and an offshore coral reef, Weligama is perfect for beginners seeking to try out longboards for the first time. While the reef is shallow and does merit caution, the waves are frequent, and for the most part, fairly gentle. More advanced surfers may wish to charter boats out to the offshore reef, where the swells and breaks are considerably longer, higher, and stronger.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
From December to April, Weligama Bay is home to migratory populations of blue and sperm whales who winter in the warm, nutrient-heavy waters of southern Sri Lanka. In addition to the numerous whales, pods of spinner dolphins swim in the area. Often, boat operators will stop several hundred meters away and wait for the whales and dolphins to swim up to the boat out of curiosity.
Swimming and Snorkelling
Take a boat trip out of Mirissa Harbor, home to an Indonesian fishing trawler that has been restored for leisure cruising in Weligama Bay. Go swimming and snorkeling from the boat, and try fishing with a hand line.
Named after the ancient Greek name for Sri Lanka, Taprobane Island is a tiny rock isle attached to the island of Sri Lanka by a small strip of sand, which is often submerged by rising tides. Developed into a residence and tourist resort by the self-styled Count De Mauny-Talvande, Taprobane was one of the first European-built tropical residences to seamlessly blend into its verdant environs. Throughout the centuries, Taprobane hosted a number of dignitaries and VIPs, from aristocrats to business tycoons; today the villa is a luxurious, modern dwelling open to guests.
Unique to Weligama are stilt fishermen, who, rather than casting nets into the sea, perch atop the waves on long, thin stilts and throw fishing lines into the waves. Like many other trades, this profession is passed down from father to son, and the stilts themselves are a source of pride for the families.
Cape Weligama Resort
Comprising a total of 40 spacious and elegantly designed apartments and suites, this gorgeous resort provides spectacular coastal views alongside a whole host of impressive facilities to keep guests happy. Designed by the critically-acclaimed Thai architect Lek Bunnag, Cape Weligama Resort is nestled into the rolling hills on the very southern tip of Sri Lanka, and the views from each room over the jagged cliffs across the vast Indian Ocean are simply breathtaking. The residences are tastefully designed with traditional patterns, artwork and the surrounding tropical gardens are in keeping with the home-grown feel to the resort. Entry level residences here particular generous in size, and total floor space is doubled across the lavish duplexes. Away from the rooms, the resort presents a fine array of wining and dining options, including the highly-recommended ‘De Mauny’ restaurant. Alongside an on-site spa for pampering next to the sea, the resort has a crescent-shaped infinity swimming pool with 270-degree views across the dramatic shoreline of this stunning region of Sri Lanka.
A lush 2.5-acre island off the coast of Weligama, Taprobane Island was the home of debonair French-English Count de Mauny-Talvande. He first saw and swam to the island in September 1927, describing it as "a red granite rock, covered with palms and jungle shrub, rising from the Indian Ocean - an emerald in a setting of pink coral." The north side of the octoganal house faces mainland Sri Lanka, which is accessible on foot by wading through the 200-yard narrow strait or even by elephant or sedan chair! Cool white terrazzo floors, high wooden ceilings and deep-blue silk curtains with Art Nouveau brocading add to the elegant ambiance of Taprobane. It was in these storied halls that Count de Mauny-Talvande received kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, aristocracy, writers and eccentrics.
The house has five spacious en-suite bedrooms, each with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Each bedroom features colonial style furniture, a mosquito net-draped four-poster bed, overhead fans and a spacious en-suite bathroom. All double rooms open onto their own private terraces with panoramic views out to the Indian Ocean and beyond, and there are tropical gardens, shaded terraces and an infinity pool to relax in. There is no fitness or business center. A staff of five, including a private chef trained in Sri Lankan and fusion cuisines, caters to guests' needs - in fact after arrival, some frequently never leave the Island until their departure.