Negombo is the fourth largest city in Sri Lanka. It is famous for its fishing industry spanning over for many centuries. Today, it is a vibrant city and one of the major tourist destinations of the country and the Bandaranayake International Airport lies in close vicinity. The city receives rainfall mainly from the Southwestern monsoons from May to August and October to January.

Negombo was famed in the ancient history for its wild cinnamon that grew in the region said to be “the very best in the universe as well as the most abundant” and for centuries attracted a succession of foreign traders and colonial powers. The First Muslim Arabs arrived in seventh and eighth centuries settled in the coast of Negombo and control the trade. Their descendants the Sri Lankan Moors remain the largest minority group in Negombo. But the Portuguese ousted the Moors in 1500s constructed a fort in the city and took over the trade of cinnamon to the West. During the Portuguese occupation, the people embraced Catholicism almost without exception. Today Negombo is sometimes called as ‘Little Rome’ and nearly two thirds of its population profess the Catholic faith.

Geographically, Negombo is about 2 meters above sea level, and is a mix of land and water. The Dutch canal flows in the heart of the city. The lagoon is one of the most scenic landmarks of Negombo. It is fed by a number of small rivers and a canal. It has extensive mangrove swamps, supports so many distinct species of flora, fauna and attracts a wide variety of wildlife over 190 species including plenty of water birds including cormorants, herons, egrets, gulls and terns.

For many generations, the lagoon has provided the fishers with a plentiful supply of crabs, shrimps, lobsters, cuttlefish and other varieties of fish. Lagoon crabs and lagoon prawns are in high taste and demand. Negombo Lagoon is a major local and tourist attraction primarily for sightseeing and boating tours.

Actions: Go and visit the Fort, enjoy a sightseeing boat ride in the canal and mangroves to watch birds, crocodiles and other animals, visit the fish market early morning to witness sailing boats reaching shore and fisher folks are busy selling their catch, partake in beach sports organized by your hotel, enjoy a good swim in challenging sea (check the current from hotel staff), if you are adventurous try surfing and kite surfing in the afternoon, soak in sunlight for a good tan, try plenty of dishes of seafood varieties in the boutiques and eateries.

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