Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province. The island's name derives from the Rock Pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Pigeon Island consists of two islands; large pigeon island and small pigeon island. The large pigeon island is fringed by a coral reef, and is about 200 m long and 100 m wide. The small pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets. The national park is situated within the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The mean annual temperature is around 27.0 °C (80.6 °F).[1] The annual rainfall ranges between 1,000–1,700 millimetres (39–67 in) while most of the rain is received during the North-eastern monsoon season from October to March.

he large pigeon island's coral reef's vegetation is dominated by Acropora spp. with some Montipora spp. Faviidae, Mussidae and Poritidae species dominate the coral reef around the rocky islets. Areas with soft corals such as Sinularia, Lobophyton, and Sarcophyton can also be observed. The coral reef harbors many Vertebrates and Invertebrates. Many of the 100 species of corals and 300 coral reef fishes recorded around the Trincomalee area are found in the national park. Juvenile and adult Blacktip reef shark are seen around the shallow coral areas. Hawksbill turtle, Green turtle and Olive Ridley are the visiting sea turtles of the coral reef. The island is important breeding ground for the Rock Pigeon.

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 3 h

Tourist reviews about Pigeon Island

saved the whole experience from Sri lanka for me
Klára M [TA], , Prague, Czech Republic

This trip saved the whole experience from Sri lanka for me. I was quite disappointed with Sri lanka (saving money and working hard a long time to get there), but this trip saved the day for me. Yes there was quite a lot of tiny jellyfish constantly stinging you a little bit, only small area allowed for snorchelling and the corals were not in a good shape (because of tourists? tsunami?) but I got to swim with 1,5m shark and bunch of fishes like taken from Finding Nemo. It was really awesome, for someone who did snorchelling before in mediterean or red sea only.

Seen sharks!
Winnie D [TA], ,

Been to pigeon island in the beginning of march, when the season had just opened. It was really beautiful. Loads of colorfull fishes and also seen reef sharks! (I think there also were turtles there, but haven't seen them.)

A small sanctuary for corals , birds and fish good for snokerling
Viduruwan [TA], , Colombo, null, Sri Lanka

This island (actually two island) only one is directly accessible ,located.in east cost.of Sri Lanka.You can visit these island from Nilaweli beach.You need to obtain permission from State officials and pay taxes.once you get it you can visit the island. These things all.Willmar ange by guides /boat renters.avalable there.

Once you reach the island the.main activity you can do.is.snokerling or.diving.However most people do not.visit ton see rock.pegions and their nests which is sometime you can do.there are boards a avalable instructing how to navigate.

Also do not forget to keep your phone along with you because once boat has dropped you it goes to main land .you never know when you need to contact boat guys to go back.

'' Wonderful stay"
Sarath S [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

I went there with family, the rooms were clean and the location was perfect. I would highly recommend anyone wanting to explore a quiet, beachside hotel which is adequate in luxury, appeal and class
Comfortable beds. A delicious buffet - the Sri Lankan options are the best. Relaxing spa.
The staff were very helpful, especially the manager who helped us during our stay with getting around seeing the place and trying to keep us happy. The food was brilliant, A delicious buffet - the Sri Lankan options are the best Beach is just 1 mins walk from the rooms across a garden area and the pool is great . Highly recommend.

Nice Place
Ruwan_Rat... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Nice island with so much to see. Small ponds with different fish, birds shallow water has given it a very good park to visit. I enjoyed it very much.

A must visit in Nilaveli
Roshan_R [TA], , Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

This little island is a few minutes ride on a boat (from the Nilaveli coast). The island is famous for its underwater garden around its coast. The tiny island has a small walk trail as well. It goes into a bush and goes around the top of a small hill - Pigeon Hill. A must visit.

Dip your head in the water- there's so much to see!
Wizak [TA], , Paris, France

Easy access to a fabulous underwater garden. Myriad of multicoloured fish and corals and reef sharks lurking - not so shyly - in the shallows. Great snorkelling!

We saw veggie sharks!
Samanta H [TA], ,

The island is beautiful, the snorkeling is worth doing is - there are a lot of colorful fish and corals. Also there is a part of the island where you can see sharks :) It's an amazing experience.

A wonderful place
Barnsleys... [TA], , St Andrews

Pigeon island is in fact two islands one with coral and is great for snorkelling. It is cheaper to get a tuk tuk to Nilavi and then get a boat to the island than to go from Upvelli by boat.

The sharks
Cleone M [TA], , Vancouver, Canada

Beautiful coral as good as the Barrier reef in Australia. The sharks on the outside of the island were a surreal experience. Need to go with a naturalist who knows the area and can explain all the fish you see. Nilaveli dive centre is great

Go while its still there
boxman266... [TA], , liverpool

This was really beautiful however, the government is taking the money and doing nothing to protect the area. Its only small so it shouldnt be too difficult.
The locals need to be told that unless they do something there will be nothing left soon. Of course the tourists should know not to destroy and take things but what can be done?
However for now its simply stunning. We got a boat at 7.30am and saw lots of sharks and an amazing marine life. By 9.30 its a circus

Fantastic beauty spot but tread with care
SarahM198... [TA], , Pontypridd, United Kingdom

Have to get there by boat which can be very bumpy and uncomfortable. Definitely worth going however. Reef has been damaged heavily on one side of the island by the Tsunami but there is still a greater diversity and species richness than many other tropical places I have visited. There is a tidal range if you want to see and access all the reefs so bear that in mind. Whilst some people are concerned that people have been stepping on the corals, (and arguably this does occur so please don't for both your sake and the environment) much of the damage is tsunami caused.

Pricy but worth it
fornander [TA], , Malmö

A bit pricy but we'll worth it. We saw a lot of colorful fishes and also blacktip reef-shark. Remember to bring a lot of water on this trip as this can not be bought here.

best little island
mark w [TA], , Rajasthan, India

If you are located in Trincomalee this is a tour not to be missed! This island is located 10 minutes by motor boat from Nilaveli beach. the side where the boats arrive, you may spot nurse sharks ... careful the current is very strong. On the opposite side there is a multitude of corals, angelfish, trumpet fish, parrot fish and many, many others. However, I believe that tourists and those arriving in this island should be more controlled: snorkelling I have noticed many corals broken and destroyed. Go early in the morning as there is plenty of shade and you could burn yourself. The island is open to the public from 8.30 to 16.30. If I remember correctly to reach the island and the fee is about 4000 rupees. Or a little more.

Dead coral
Mn1989201... [TA], ,

I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone. It's a huge tourism scam that claims to have beautiful corals, which is maybe use to have, but no longer does. There is ZERO respect for the coral- everyone was stepping all over it, and therefore a lot of the coral is dead, which is terrible to see. Furthermore, there is also nothing done by the park to raise awareness about this, except for a tiny sign hidden by bushes. Please do not support this park as they themselves do not support protecting coral reefs. Very sad and upsetting experience.

Little Island with a whole world under water
Leolo L [TA], , Toronto, Canada

Its a small Island with little to explore on land, but get in the water and a whole new world opens up.

Sharks and Turtles but not much live coral
kewinleed... [TA], , Leeds, United Kingdom

Clealer water and better life on Landward side, contrary to what we'd read. Take water, go early (before 8 am if you can). Snorkel first before the crowds then take shoes to explore a bit later.

Daniel G [TA], ,

Saw one black tip shark, and different kinds of fishes, the area seems to be a bit damaged from the tsunami, but still worth seeing

nice beach
arulsatch [TA], , Toronto, Canada

We went to this island by boat from nilaveli beach.U have to becareful its has lots of rocks.But u can see variety of fishes.To see this u need googles u can rent from boat people

Beautiful reef and fish, avoid weekends
AndrewCol... [TA], , Cape Town

The reef is quite spectacular and easily accessible from the beach. Sadly it's not well policed, is totally over run and people disrespect the notices about not touching the coral.

The areas for snorkeling are too shallow in some areas - the buoys need to move as we hurt ourselves and the reef in one area.

Our visibility wasn't brilliant but we still saw an incredible array of sea coral and creatures - from the black tipped shark, to parrot fish, sea cucumbers, needle fish etc etc.

The one side is far more beautiful and abundant but the sea can get a little rough. When snorkeling on the other side, do go out past the rocks - it's where the reef is at its best.

It's worth the visit - we went with our hotel the Jungle Beach resort and paid 7,200 rupees for four for park entrance, plus $50 for the excursion.

Fantastic sea life, us fortunately I believe it won't last very long
Luckettso... [TA], , Bali, Greece

I have dived and snorkelled in many places around the world. For sheer uneducated, unthinking destruction of a beautiful marine park this place rakes the biscuit.in common with all the 'sites' of interest in Sri Lanka you pay a fortune to go to pigeon island, only to find that it is completely overrun by local and foreign tourists alike who think nothing of standing on beautiful coral, in their fins whilst they adjust their masks. The national parks department really need to rethink their strategy here, otherwise there will be nothing left in 5 years and you can wave goodbye to the sharks and turtles

Snorkling location
Lasantha... [TA], ,

Very good location for Snorkeling. Not over crowded and the location is supervised. Very good variety of colorful Fish , corral and could see small sharks with black fin tips. Clear and Calm sea. Should bring your own equipment / Water.

Great place
Farziya A [TA], ,

Lovely place but needs to be better maintained. We went in for snorkeling with my daughter and she loved it. Would have been better if we had gone way early. We would have more time to snorkel. Towards the evening it's crowded with locals who come to have a bath. So pick your timing that's the most important thing.

It's like a reef you see on the TV!
Lee67 [TA], , N yorks

Stunning snorkelling, but as a result very busy. The side the boats land has buoys marking the area and keeping people to the same strip of damaged coral. This is the side with the reef sharks, and it is awesome to see them. The other side has a small bay, which is better for fish, and it really is like snorkelling through an aquarium. Easy snorkelling even for young children.
On the down side it does need to be better managed, and run, with a limit on daily numbers. Be environmentally aware when you visit, be careful with the coral, take all your litter away, and enjoy.
Buy an underwater camera before you go.

Sukie W [TA], , Birmingham, United Kingdom

Snorkelling so easy that children can go and see beautiful big fish in their natural environment... You can have a guide take you out and see some sharks on the other side of the island too. Truly spectacular, beautiful, and well well worth the entrance fee. So much marine life to admire, I could have stayed there for weeks.

Make sure you take sufficient food and water as there is nowhere on the island to get any. Go early (before 9) to see sharks. Any time after that the fish are always about looking lovely. If you visit Sri Lanka, this is a must.

Maybe we just picked the wrong day...
Laurabbbb... [TA], ,

Perhaps our expectations were too high or we picked the wrong day..

Hoards of tourists, Sri Lankan and foreign splashing about and stomping on the coral - even more jelly fish than tourists - little ones mind you but still give little sting and I kept thinking I might swallow one! Like I said maybe we picked the wrong day but it certainly wasn't all it had been cracked up to be..

Must take tee shirt and shorts for swimming... And go early perhaps.. Or skip it altogether and go and the see the dolphins at 6am which was ace!

Amazing for Diving and Snorkeling
miriam t [TA], , Munich, Germany

If you are in Nilaveli this is a must-do! We first did a one-hour-dive and saw amazing corals, fish and a manta ray. Even though the sight was only 3 meter as it was a windy week (which is quite unusual) it was totally worth the dive. Afterwards we went snorkelling and saw so many reef sharks, fish and beautiful corals. I would recommend anyone to do both, diving and snorkeling, but if you`re short in money do at least the snorkelling, it`s epic!

Marigold1... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

If you go to the East, you must snorkel here. Boats are available from Nilaveli beach and are cheaper than getting a trip organised by a hotel. Get a tuk tuk to the beach and then a boat. Entry is fairly expensive but worth it.

Beautiful unspoilt islet near trincoalee
Prasanna... [TA], , Panadura, Sri Lanka

Beautiful unspoilt beach just off mainland trincomalee Sri Lanka.you can spend hours in serenity or just sun bathing if it is your choice.there is a little inland lagoon which is very safe for children.
Park warden will be strict if you litter or behave indecently. So don't try him. In fact I am on his side

Tink1205 [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Snorkelling around Pigeon Island is amazing, probably one of the best places I have snorkelled with beautiful coloured fish and sharks, howwwevvver.... there are no restrictions on the amount of people that are allowed onto the island at any one time. It gets seriously crowded. There are absolutely NO facilities on this small island so take your own water, food, sunscreen etc. Although there are hardly any shady areas – the island is a lot smaller than I was expecting but I still had an amazing time. One side of the island is calmer (the side where the boats don’t drop you off). The other side where the boats come in is quite a bit rougher but there is a lot more the see on this side. Only go here if you are a strong / confident swimmer or you go with a guide.
p.s. – take beach shoes as the coral hurts! :)

Swam with turtles and sharks!
CrumpledT... [TA], , Oxford, United Kingdom

This is a must for snorkelling enthusiasts. Don't arrange your trip through a hotel as this will be unnecessarily expensive; there are numerous diving outfits on Uppaveli and Nilaveli beaches who will take you to the island. It is definitely worth paying for a guide to swim with you, as without him you might well miss the huge excitement of swimming with sharks and turtles which are not always easy to spot. The reef is shallow and I don't see any need for scuba diving here as you can see a living aquarium with nothing more than a mask and a pair of flippers. An unforgettable experience.

nice activity to see marine life
CarrieSan... [TA], , Santpoort-Zuid

Although it was quite windy, we nevertheless saw many fish, shark and a big sea turtle. A good picnic lunch was provided. The corral is a big damaged by the tsunami, but the area is now a national park and recovering.

a little gem
themindfu... [TA], , Sydney, Australia

A little gem for finding some pretty big reef fish and some friendly reef sharks just off the island - snorkel easily from the shore and you start seeing a great array of life as soon as you hit the water. I have heard there are also a few great diving spots near this site - one for next time for me :)

Too crowded...
NorwayMal... [TA], , Norway

They just bring too many people out there at the same time.... It gets just too crowdy, noe facilities, not even water can be bought.

Great experience! Also for kids.
Edo196418 [TA], , Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Feel yourself like a fish in Finding Nemo! An ultimate experience which takes a half an hour boattrip from Chaaya Blue hotel in Trincomalee.
Best is to book it via the hotel. There is a special naturalist boothwhich offer best equipment and well trained and English speaking tourguides which go with you in the Sea and show you the best places. Please go as early as possible as the fish dissappear when it is getting busy.
You can contact the head naturalist of the Hotel Mr Nilantha directly. Would recommend this also for non hotel residents. nilantha@cinnamonhotels.com

many fish
Angelika... [TA], , Bludenz, Austria

i loved the island with the white coral sand and the big diversety of colourful fish....but somethimes this island is crowded with people,...all you see are legs then. Better go in the morning,. most families will be there in the early afternoon.

Excellent Snorkelling
FamilyTra... [TA], , Muscat, Oman

Everyone comes here, but it is easy to see why. However, it might be a little unpleasant during high season. A very small island with beaches made up of broken coral, the reason to come here is the snorkelling (possible the diving as well). Much was seen including a Black Tip Reef Shark. A permit must be bought (from an official Hut near the Nilaveli Beach Hotel), and paperwork is checked on arrival. Boats will drop you and pick you up at an agreed time (not always the same boat and driver, but the same 'company'). There are even lifeguards on the Island (part of the Police Service). Well worth the visit. Our two under 10s can swim well and loved it, there were plenty of non swimmer in life jackets also enjoying the snorkelling. There are swimming areas on either side on the island, so a lee can be guaranteed.

Amazing snorkeling
Mike M [TA], , London

I was lucky I had a clear beautiful day so visibility was 100% , the boat ride was easy enough to organize and cost 2500 would recommend you bring your own equipment as what's supplied by the boatman is not of the best quality. Also do not like sticking somebody else's snorkel in my mouth .... But that's me !!
I snorkel led right around the outside of the island .... Again would not recommend unless you are quite a strong swimmer and calm and confident in the water. If you are not please stick to the inside of the water.
There are big reef sharks on the outside of the island and it's worth a visit. The coral is gorgeous so are the colored fish. This place could be right up there with the Great Barrier Reef.

YuhanSA [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This is an amazing place for snorkelling, best visited in season (May - September).

Mornings with sunlight are the best times to see the colourful fish that are abundant among the rocks on the otherside of the island which is shallow.

On this side (meaning the side you beach your boat) is deep, but this where you could see the corals and harmless sharks. You could rent snorkels/masks/fins from the boatman but you have to request before you leave the mainland.

Highly recommended!

Didn't enjoy much
Tjmazzer1... [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

I don't like writing negative reviews but we didn't enjoy the trip to this park very much. Despite going early morning as recommended we found the sea choppy and the tide seemed low, with waves buffering you too close to the rocks and over the coral that was too close to your belly in places. The coral beach was painful to walk on.

Beautiful tiny island full of millions of sea-shells
Mathindri... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

This tiny island was formed by millions of sea-shells corals. The water around the area is turquoise blue and picture postcard perfect. You can use any superlative to describe how amazing it looks. The only downside is. although the lankan government charges an entry fee ,they still havent managed to setup some public toilets.

There are lifeguards on both side of the island constantly watching the daily swimmers and snorkelers ,hence nothing to worry about.

Lots of colourful fish
juliefong [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

Clear warm water with lots of fish & reef sharks too. Would have liked a few more facilities on the island but then again if is a marine park after all.

Swimming with Sharks!!
kyle s [TA], , Adimaly, India

Swimming with black tip reef sharks were the absolute high light! Go when the sun is high for max visibility.. however that happens to be the hottest time of the day. we have to buy tickets which are quite expensive.

Great spot!
SSanSSan [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Beautiful spot for snorkeling. I saw many different colorful fish here but much less fish than I thought I would. Best moment was spotting a black tip shark. I will never forget that.
Even my boyfriend who is not good swimmer was able to do snorkeling here. He was so happy about it :)

A huge array of colourful fish
Emanpee [TA], , Sydney, Australia

We went with a guide from our hotel, an experienced marine biologist. You will find plenty of locals offering trips there but price didn't seem to be much different. With the hotel, park entrance fee was covered. There are two sides of the island to snorkel. Where the boats drop you is slightly deeper water and less colourful coral but is a haven for reef sharks that are wonderful to safely swim among. The opposite side to where you are dropped, but only a 20 metre walk, is very protected and where you will find wonderful fish and marine plant life throughout. As with many areas that allow tourists, some coral is being touched, stood on and destroyed but overall at the present time, a terrific place to snorkel and see plenty. It is recommended to go in the morning when seas are calmer. Avoid weekends where apparently locals come in their droves. Well worth the visit

good snorkeling
Tommy C [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

beautiful colored coral and fish spent the morning there the outside of the island has black tip reef sharks if you want some excitement. Nagenahira beach can organize you a boat

Snorkelling haven
Paulien V [TA], , Wellington, New Zealand

It wasn't cheap to get to (3000Rs/person from uppuveli for a private boat and snorkel gear) but it was well worth the trip. The national park has beautiful, healthy coral that contains so much sea life! We spent about 3 hours snorkelling there with amazing visibility. The waters are sheltered and safe so definitely a great family activity. We were lucky enough to see sharks, an octopus and thousands of fish.

Make sure you bring sunscreen and water when you go because there is very little shelter on the island, and no fresh water.

mamarilyn... [TA], , singapore

A must visit when you are in nilaveli.. Lovely fishes and ghe corals are just off the beach.. Mostly all the hotels arrange day trips.. The charges are a but expensive but definitly worth a visit

Snorkeling with (little) Sharks and beautifull fish
Familyrei... [TA], ,

Go with a localboat there and save a lot of money to enjoy this wonderfull snorkeling location. There are a lot of different fishes and you are 99% garanteed to see a (little) Shark. We saw a lot of them. The best chance to see them is at the site where you arrive with the boat. NIce coral too. Don't forget to bring your own water and food, because there are no facilities on the island.

Perfect snorkelday
Malte S [TA], , Flensburg, Germany

Pidgeon Island is a perfect place for snorkeling with tons of living coral, and fish as also sharks.

Sharks for the watching
Nick946 [TA], , St Andrews

I took a boat out to the island and went snorkelling. There are sharks but they don't attack and the other fish you can see are great . Beach a bit hard on the feet of a softie so take your flip flops

Good experience
Renatinha [TA], , London

Nice island.lots of corals and beautiful fish.They need to do more to preserve the corals and keep the little beach clean.I've seen many people stepping on the coral without any care.Such a shame as it us a nice place.

cmhk [TA], , Oxford, United Kingdom

Only 15 mins by boat .Go early morning to avoid crowds . Saw coral and colourful fish . Sat on white sand watching birds and enjoying the peaceful surroundings

Beautiful place and great snorkeling!
Malmichal [TA], , Herzlia, Israel

This is a little island not far away from Nilaveli beach. beautiful little island with beautiful corals for great snorkeling where you can also see little sharks (not harmful or dangerous). the same sharks can be also found in Meritorious - blacktip reef shark. it was very nice see some of those little sharks underwater i was afraid a little bit but then remind myself it shouldn't be dangerous.

One tip or whatever it is - let's us all protect the corals.
We are destroying them while we are walking on them. we are putting them to death.
You must swim above them and not step on them.
Pigeon Island is in high risk - many corals are dying every day and it's just because of us - the tourists.

Unfortunately Sri Lanka government is not doing enough to protect this little precious place so let's all of us be aware of this and pay attention.

Thank you!

Great snorkeling
Bill J [TA], , Camberley, United Kingdom

Spent several hours here. Went snorkeling (for the first time in about 25 years) and was fascinated by the wonderful variety of tropical fish. Didn't manage to see any reef sharks (harmless to humans, so I'm told) but the waters round the island were full of brightly coloured smaller sea life. When we left in the early afternoon the island was starting to get quite busy with boats bringing visitors. Well worth a visit, but get there early.

A Bit Crowded
shonrand [TA], , Cuthbert, Georgia

Snorkeling at Pigeon Island was wonderful. I had to be careful of the many small jellyfish, but there was a splendid array of colorful fish and coral.

I got quite seriously sunburned, though, and I'd recommend that anyone wear much more sunscreen than seems necessary.

One slight downside is that this island is a major tourist attraction, and there quite a lot of people crowded onto it.

Like watching a 3D underwater documentary!
1LifeStan... [TA], , Colombo

Go, even if you can't swim! Rent life jackets and snorkeling gear and go out for about 50 M to see the most amazingly colourful and diverse fish. Spend at least 3 hours there, walk around, climb up the crags for a clear view of the bay.
Be careful of coral cuts.
Do not litter/ spit into the sea!

kingdoc92 [TA], , Colombes, France

Ce n est pas le plus grand spot du monde par contre il y a beaucoup de monde dans ce joli endroit ,il faut un visa d abord c est long pour attendre sur la plage la petite maison a cote du nilaveli beach hotel le trajet dure 1/2 heure la plage est petite mais le spot est sympa eau assez claire mais attention aux rochers et enfin au autres nageurs ,pour une journee c est bien
attention rien a manger sur l ile

Massively overrated
Oleebg [TA], , Belgrade, Serbia

I didn't get it. Perhaps through pre-reading, I was expecting some incredibly tropical location. Pigeon Island is OK. It's busy, there is some trash. Beach is OK, but to great. The diving was the bigger disappointment. Snorkelling a bit better especially if you can see the sharks. Doesn't justify travelling to Nilaveli or Trincomalee just for this....

labigoude... [TA], , Paris, France

Très belle endroit . Des poissons magnifiques de toutes les couleurs, on peut voir en fin d'après midi des requins à pointe noire de plus de 2 mètres et quelques tortues . En été la houle peut être importante et l'eau un peu trouble . Des coraux sont abimés dommage . Que pour le snorkeling car ce n'est pas profond .

Snorkelling for all the family
ysamarasi... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

The high point of our trip to the East Coast! A short boat ride (20minutes) from the Jungle Beach hotel this little island off the coast is a beautiful place to spend a morning with tropical fish and reef sharks. Even if you cannot snorkel the kids can dip their feet in the shallow waters and see the sealife. Just go early as by lunchtime everyone and their dog are there.

Not much to see
Luc M [TA], , France

Minuscule île, l'eau n'est pas si transparente que ça et les coraux vont souffrir de la non préservation du site. Attention peu de fond pour le snorkeling, on se blesse facilement sur le corail. Possibilité de voir des petits requins (70cm).

My first coral reef!
Helen L [TA], , Cold Ash, England, United Kingdom

Snorkeling here is wonderful. the coral within inches of the beach, breathtaking colours and wild-life. Sri-Lanka government maintain it and charge for entry, but don't police it well enough. Inexperienced swimmers are not controlled near the shore, and damage to the coral is easily done.

Lennart V [TA], , Nijmegen

beautiful little island with amazing reef and coral. So many stunning fish, fluorescent (non-stingy) jellyfish, kind black-tip reef sharks, and sea turtles!!!

Tauchen gut, Insel OK
jphuecker [TA], , Berlin, Germany

Zum Tauchen und Schnorcheln ist die Insel gut geeignet, ansonsten bietet die Insel nicht viel und man kann sich den Besuch schenken.

Fantastic snorkelling
LokiLab [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Beautiful little coral reef island where you can see fish, marine life etc. if you snorkel or dive. It's a bit pricey but it's a national park (hopefully the money goes back into conservation...), and the main bay has been trampled on so not much coral left but if you can venture a little further out you will be rewarded.
It gets v. busy - Go early to avoid the crowds and the midday sun.

Great and easy snorkelling place
oce1972 [TA], , Barcelona, Spain

Not expensive, not far from Nilaveli or Uppaveli, not to be a snorkel expert
you can see dozens of colorful fish including reef sharks and some turtle not deeper than 1,5 m
as written before BE CAREFUL with coral and do not walk/stand on them, you kill them --> no more fish sightseeing
Great experience

An absolute must!
samanthab... [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Perfect snorkelling!! We swam with reef sharks, turtles, huge amounts of fish, eels, coral. Pigeon Island had it all, and an absolute must for anyone in the area.

Our hotel, Jungle Forest Resort organised a fabulous guide, although the boat had no shade so take a hat!

Snorkelling with sharks!
shilohmil... [TA], , Hamilton, New Zealand

This place is amazing! The sand is white, the water is as clear as it gets and there are sharks, tropical fish and loads of coral to dive or snorkel amongst.
(Better for snorkelling than diving I would say),
Reef sharks come up as shallow as a metre in depth.
It is really clean and well looked after.
There is also a nature walk. I would recommend going with Posidon Diving Centre. They run their business out of Piegon Island Guest House (I think).

An absolute must see
Capt_H_Re... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Well preserved national sanctuary....great from first time divers & snorkelling......corals, marine life all packing into one spot....no human habitation....the closest beach - Nilaveli is also one of the best...clam ...like a pond / pool....knee deep water even wading in 40-50 meters ....gentle rolling waves....

Bring perfect(good) equipment for diving...
zia70 [TA], , Ekero, Sweden

If you anywhere are in Nilaweli or even Trinco catch the opportunity to visit this island situated maybe a mile outside the coast. How to go there ? Well you will most certainly get a proposal if you are stroling along the beach or cheque with the hotel personel. It is a tiny island and the only thing you can do is swimming around on the surface or of course dive with deceant equipment.
This is really something even for persons without diving experience but then you have to be satisfied with a couple of good specs swimming around on the watersurface.

Kurt G [TA], , Berlin, Germany

Sehr teuer, die Leute im Hotel Coconut Beach kennen Alternativen, die preisgünstiger und schöner sind.

Corals and fishes
Khalidfro... [TA], , Manama, Bahrain

Pigeon island a 1hr bumpy boat ride away .. Most of the hotels book the packages, or you can do what I did .. Walked down to the beach at Nila Veli and arranged it with one of the fishing men .. Got a boat to myself to do some fishing (that they will cook for you later), and then headed of to Pigeon Island .. Am not sure why they call it but its really just a big rock or small island .. Its a much smaller and bumpier boat, but they will give you a lifejacket .. its not comfortable like renting a proper tour boat but you get a more local feel about it ..
The boats will park on one side of the island and then you walk across the sand to the other side .. Its quite rocky at this end so wear fins or proper water proof rubber shoes .. The water was a bit rough that day so made snorkeling a bit difficult with the water pushing and pulling me around but close to the beach area its not that deep and you can see a lot of fish ..
At the end the boats park, its more clearer water with more corals to see .. A lot more fish will be in this end and you will get a better view of life under the sea ..
if you are booking through a tour operator make sure you go to the right place, i noticed a few reviews where they were taken to the wrong islands ..

" Beautiful corals and fish"
Praveen P [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

It takes one hour to go to PIgeon Iskand from Chaaya Blu hotel . Only you can go by boat to this place .. There are two pigeon islands . But real one is a rocky and big one with all paths and natural pool. Can do snorkeling and bathing .
However, you have to go with proper swiming attire . No changing rooms . Only natural shrubs to cover up your body .

The best snorkelling we have done
2Stumbler... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Yes I could spen my time complaining about hit the locals are standing in the coral.
But I think it is much better to say how good it was the water is clear. Lots of coral both sides of the island. We also saw black tip sharks. Others saw turtles.
Loads of different fish in the sea.

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