Pigeon Island National Park

Pigeon Island, a paradise for scuba divers, is a national marine park and the second marine sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Situated off Nilaveli beach in the Indian Ocean, approximately two kilometers away from the shore. It is considered as one of the iconic tourism attraction site in Eastern Sri Lanka. It was first declared as a sanctuary in 1963 and upgraded as a National Marine Park under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance in 2003.

The Park consists of two islands of which one is small and other one is larger in size. This is unique and is the only national park in the country to harbour a colony of the beautiful blue rock pigeons and contains some of the best remaining coral reefs in the country. There are around 100 types of coral reefs and 178 species of fish on this island. The British army used this island as a place for shooting practice during the early world war time.

Pigeon Island National Marine Park consists of around five hectares of land area and about 1000 meters radius into the sea with the coral reef as the national park boundary (471.429 hectares). In 2002, the island was opened for tourism and visited by large number of local and foreign tourists since then. 

Further, if you can climb up the rock of the Island through the nature trail, you would see the real owners of the island, the rock pigeons. Some time you can capture the wonderful view of a bunch of small fish moving around the island. You can also enjoy having a sea bath!  Do not forget to wear footwear as the sharp edges of the dead corals may injure your legs.

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Latitude: 8.722025 Longitude: 81.203339 Elevation: 31 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Simon Jones

Recreational Opportunities

Sea bathing, swimming, scuba diving on coral reef, snorkeling, boat tour, rock climbing, bird watching, fish watching and photography.

The Island is protected by the provisions under the Ordinance of Wildlife and Flora Conservation. Visitors are advised to obey the rules and procedures. 

Seasons Accessible

The best season to visit Pigeon Island is from April to September which is a dry season in the region and the sea would be calm.


There is a nominal entrance fee. You need to pay for the boat separately.

Accessibility Notes

The island can be reached only by boats. Ample boat services are available from the Nilaveli and Uppuveli beaches to the island and they charge Rs. 2000/= for a round trip which can accommodate 6-8 passengers at a time. Do not forget to wear life jackets during the boat journey which takes around 10 minutes to reach the Island. Boats are operated from 7.00 am to 5.30 pm.  

Pet Friendly Notes

Pet animals are not allowed.

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