Day 1: New Zealand– – Colombo
Head to the airport to catch a flight to Sri Lanka and touch down in Colombo. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to the hotel in Negombo.
Please note, some flights will depart the day before.
Day 2: Colombo – Anuradhapura (B,D)
Travel to Anuradhapura after breakfast. This location was an ancient capital of Sri Lanka and its acclaimed collection of ruins have helped it become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of the city’s gems, some of the greatest treasures are the domed dagobas (also called stupas) and the sacred fig tree, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
Day 3: Anuradhapura (B,D)
This morning sees an early start as the group goes out to experience a thrilling jeep safari at Wilpattu National Park. Some of the park’s most popular residents include wild elephants, spotted deer, mongoose and sloth bear – so keep your eyes peeled as you discover the beauty of Sri Lanka’s natural landscape. Return to the hotel for breakfast and then enjoy a tour of a local village in the afternoon. A part of the tour is a ride in a bullock cart; Sri Lanka’s oldest form of transportation. In the evening you will enjoy delicious dinner back at your hotel.
Day 4: Anuradhapura – Jaffna (B,D)
The trip continues to Jaffna this morning. Located on the northern tip of Sri Lanka, the city was an important strong-hold for the Portuguese and Dutch. See the Jaffna Fort, ruins of Portuguese churches and sacred Hindu kovils (temples).
Day 5: Jaffna (B,D)
Jump off of Sri Lanka’s mainland for an excursion to the nearby island of Nainativu to visit the isle’s Buddhist and Hindu shrines.
Day 6: Jaffna – Trincomalee – Passikudha (B,D)
Your group travels to Passikudah this morning. There is a stop of Trincomalee along the way where you will find Pigeon Island, a great location for ocean swimming, snorkelling or diving. Make sure to have your swimmers at the ready for some snorkelling!
Day 7: Passikudah (B,D)
Passikudah is one of Sri Lanka’s most picture-perfect beach towns and, happily, you have today to explore it at your leisure. Take a dip in the ocean, read a book on the golden sand or explore the town centre.
Day 8: Passikudah – Polonnaruwa – Dambulla (B)
Move onto Polonnaruwa, capital of Sri Lanka between the 11th and 13th centuries. Take in the remarkable ancient sites, stupas and shrines. From Polonnaruwa, the group journeys to Dambulla to see the Dambulla Cave Temple. This is cave complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds roughly 150 statues and paintings of Buddha. The first image was created more than 2000 years ago.
Day 9: Dambulla – Sigiriya – Dambulla (B)
Make the most of this morning’s free time before travelling to Sigiriya in the afternoon. Sigiriya, also known as Lion’s Rock, is one of the most dramatic sights in Sri Lanka. This ancient rock fortress is a former capital and royal palace, and visitors can climb to the top of the plateau for incredible outlooks across the surrounding area.
Day 10: Dambulla – Matale – Kandy (B)
The tour travels to Kandy today. En route there is a stop at Matale to visit an organic spice and herb plantation. There is a city tour of Kandy once you arrive and then you will visit the famed Temple of the Tooth.
Day 11: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Ella (B)
A transfer takes you to Peradeniya Railway Station to board a train for the scenic journey to Nanu Oya Railway Station. (Please note train travel is based on availability). Explore Nuwara Eliya, a picturesque town in Hill Country that has been dubbed the ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, before continuing to Ella for the night.
Day 12: Ella (B)
An early start this morning takes you to Diyaluma Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The banks of the natural rock pool make a great place for a picnic.
Day 13: Ella – Yala – National Park Jeep Safari (B)
Travel to Yala National Park this morning. The park sits on the south eastern coast of Sri Lanka and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. This evening, you will head out into the park on an exciting jeep safari for a chance to spot the park’s most highly sought after local: the elusive leopard. You may also see elephants, spotted deer, crocodiles and wild buffalo.
Day 14: Yala – Weligama – Bentota (B)
Today’s itinerary takes you to discover some of Sri Lanka’s lauded gorgeous beaches where you’ll see another of country’s famous sights: stilt fishermen.
Day 15: Bentota – Galle – Bentota (B)
Head to Galle today to take in the history and sights of this beautiful port town. Take a walk around the lighthouse, wander around the old town to see traditional lace makers and wood-carvers, or amble the streets inside the Dutch Fort. Later today there is a trip to the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project to see its hatchery.
Day 16: Bentota – Colombo – – New Zealand (B)
Head to Colombo and to enjoy the city tour. Colombo tour includes a drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. Visit Fort, the former British administrative centre and military garrison, Sea Street – the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area, a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings and the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. If time permits, you may also see the replica of Avukana Buddha & the Independence Square.
At the appropriate time, a transfer takes you to the airport to catch your flight home.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 17: New Zealand
Arrive home today.