The capital of the area is the port town of Trincomalee, located 250 kilometres from Colombo. The fifth largest natural harbour in the world, this deep water port has long been a popular stronghold for seafarers and the scene of occupancy struggles throughout history. It is also the gateway to some of the more popular beach areas of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, just north of the centre. This multicultural town is one of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking areas and those looking to explore will find quiet and unhurried beaches with swaying palms dotting the coastline. Uppuveli is another has a true rural fishing village feel, with scenes of fisherman hauling their nets after a day on the seas and carts being pushed through the dusty tracks, with the shimmering Indian Ocean beckoning.
A trip to the Pigeon Islands, located just 1 kilometre from Nilaveli, comes recommended for its pristine coral reef. It is one of two marine national parks in Sri Lanka with a large number of the 300 recorded fish species able to be seen here, making it a great choice for snorkelers and divers looking to explore somewhere new. Here you could possibly witness the majesty of great blue and humpback whales at Foul Point, from where you will sail south and hopefully spot dolphins swimming alongside your boat as you sail.
Arugam Bay, located further south of Trincomalee, lies on an elephant corridor and is cited amongst the world’s top ten destinations for surfing. Another small fishing village, it is mainly visited from April to September following the fishing season when the surf is at its best and also has some ancient ruins, rock inscriptions and caves in nearby Deegawapi.
The Chaaya Blu hotel has been expertly redesigned and is a great base for exploring this region.