How to Spend 1 Day in Bentota
Set on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast between Colombo and Galle, the beach resort of Bentota offers palm-fringed sands, a lagoon, lush countryside, and mangrove-framed waters rich in wildlife. Here’s how to sample its highlights in one day.
Morning: Discover the Sights
Start the day early by exploring the mangrove-lined River Madu on a sunrise kayak excursion. Paddle the placid waters as you watch for birds, monkeys, and lizards in the dawn light, with a guide on hand to provide navigation and commentary. If you prefer to stay on dry land, catch a village or countryside tour—getting to know Bentota by car, tuk-tuk, open-top VW Beetle, or bike. Sights and routes vary, but tours typically include a visit to a turtle hatchery to see the local work being done to protect endangered sea turtles and stops at temples, markets, rubber farms, and coconut plantations.
Afternoon: Spice Things Up
Dedicate this afternoon to fun or food. Bentota Lagoon offers the ideal conditions for water sports, so book a package that includes a ride on a banana boat or tube, use of a Jet Ski, and a mangrove boat trip, all with equipment and instructions included. Alternatively, sign up for a Sri Lankan cooking class. Working in an outdoor kitchen, get the lowdown on the island’s spices, and prep a selection of local curries and vegetable dishes with hands-on guidance from a local chef.
Night: Lagoon or Shopping Trips
As evening beckons, enjoy a shopping spree in Bentota and nearby Aluthgama. A private tour frees you from having to haggle with cabs or tuk-tuks and lets you browse for souvenirs such as gemstones and homegrown tea without worrying about how to get back to your hotel in time for dinner. If you’re feeling more energetic, finish with a final fix of adventure. Take a lagoon boat ride to see water monitors and crocodiles as the sun sets, or head onto its waters on a night fishing trip to catch mullet, snapper, and catfish.