elephants on the beach; reclinging buddha stature

Natural and cultural delights of Sri Lanka

Ancient Buddhist shrines, tea plantations, wildlife reserves where elephants roam the beach---thes are the wonders of tropical Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5195  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Lodging: 12 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: A mix of easy to moderate walks and hikes, cultural explorations
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Highlights

  • Full moon festival in Colombo, complete with elephant processions
  • Evocative Anuradhapura, where Buddhist shrines date to the 3rd century BC
  • Colonial Nuwara Eliya and the highland tea estates
  • Visit seven World Heritage Sites, including the cave temples of Dambulla

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Early Arab traders who happened upon the teardrop-shaped isle of Sri Lanka called it Serendib, from which we get the English word serendipity, or the making of happy discoveries by chance. This storied isle has always charmed travelers, and it is full of treasures, from rainforests where elephants roam to 2,000-year old ruined royal cities (and eight World Heritage Sites!). On this grand adventure, we explore the glorious legacy of an early Buddhist civilization, hike to a sacred peak alongside pilgrims, walk in rainforest reserves, visit with tea planters, meet young Buddhist monks in their saffron robes, sample the curries, savor the teas—among the best in the world—and visit beautiful Yala National Park, with its extraordinary birdlife and elephant herds. Colorful festivals are a wonderful part of Sri Lanka’s heritage, and each departure witnesses a vibrant Poya festival, celebrated under the glow of a full moon.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Colombo / Poya Festival

In charming Colombo, explore the local bazaar and attend a Poya Festival, a spectacular pageant held during the full moon of the month.

Days 3-5
Habarana / Anuradhapura / Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa

Enjoy a jeep safari in Habarana, habitat for Sri Lanka’s incredible biodiversity, and see the island’s oldest Buddhist shrines at Anuradhapura. At Sigiriya, explore the famed rock fortress of King Kashyapa, with its pavilions and pleasure gardens, then visit Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s lovely medieval capital.

Days 6-8
Temples of Dambulla / Kandy / Elephant Orphanage

After a sunrise hike to the village of Hiriwaduna, explore the ancient cave temples at Dambulla, then head to Kandy, with its golden-roofed 16th century Temple of the Tooth. At the Pinnewela Elephant Orphanage, we accompany the elephants to the river for their daily bath.

Days 9-10
Adam’s Peak / Nuwara Eliya

An optional early morning hike up Adam’s Peak (7,300’), sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims, reveals one of the finest sunrise views in Asia. From the beautiful colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by mountains and tea plantations, hike in Horton Plains National Park, a magnificent setting of rushing streams and montane forest.

Days 11-13
Yala National Park / Galle

In coastal Yala National Park, enjoy a game drive in search of painted storks, troops of monkeys, and elephant herds, and explore the ancient trading post of Galle, a World Heritage Site. Depart on Day 13 via Colombo.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated 2+, easy to moderate, with some optional hikes of three-four hours each (the hike up Adam’s Peak is quite steep) and several nature walks at archaeological sites. Accommodations are in lovely hotels, with one night in a basic guesthouse at Adam’s Peak (it’s the best accommodation in the area). Comfortable walking shoes are recommended and occasionally we must take off shoes to visit temples.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2016
Jan 23-Feb 4, 2016  Duruthu Perahera Festival

Feb 21-Mar 4, 2016  Navam Perahera Festival

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5195 (13-16 members)
$5495 (10-12 members)
$5795 (7-9 members)
Single supplement: $1050
Forced single supplement: $850
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
90-46 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels
  • All meals included except 1 lunch
  • Tea and coffee at all meals
  • Ground transportation and entrance fees
  • Group airport transfers for passengers arriving Day 1 and departing Day 13

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, meals not specified after each itinerary day (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, hotels en route to or on return from Colombo or additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, individual arrival/departure airport transfers, visa fees, cost of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, bottled water laundry, etc.).

The Kingsbury

The Kingsbury

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Colombo, Sri Lanka

Located minutes from the shopping centers, boutique shops, and the Galle Face Green, the oceanfront promenade of Colombo, the Kingsbury offers 229 ...
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Aliya Resort

Aliya Resort

Days 3 to 5 (3 nights), Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

From this hotel, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the verdant landscape and Sigiriya, or "Lion’s Rock," an ancient palace once home to ...
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Cinnamon Citadel Hotel

Cinnamon Citadel Hotel

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Kandy, Sri Lanka

The hills above the Mahaweli River provide a tranquil setting for this hotel in Kandy. Take in the views of the river and the surrounding greenery ...
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Slightly Chilled Guesthouse

Slightly Chilled Guesthouse

Day 8 (1 night), Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

Known for its relaxed and cool environment, this family-run guest house has been owned and operated by the same family for the last 15 years. With ...
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Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

Days 9 to 10 (2 nights), Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Nestled in the hills of the town of Nuwara Eliya, this colonial hotel offers 154 deluxe rooms. Once the former mansion of Sir Edward Barnes, a ...
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Jetwing Yala

Jetwing Yala

Day 11 (1 night), Tissamaharana, Sri Lanka

Facing Yala Beach and adjacent to Yala National Park, this 80-room hotel is an excellent base for our game drives in search for painted storks and ...
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Lighthouse Hotel Galle

Lighthouse Hotel Galle

Day 12 (1 night), Galle, Sri Lanka

Listen to surf crash against the rocks at this luxurious oceanfront hotel designed by Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Each of the hotel’s ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.