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North Sri Lanka - Eclipse tour
Education / Learning Educational/ learning North Sri Lanka - Eclipse package

North Sri Lanka - Eclipse

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: $ 2,820 $ 282 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Annular eclipse - Watch the solar eclipse from Analaitivu Island
  • Jaffna - Explore the colourful capital and its impressive Nallur Temple
  • Wilpattu National Park - Spot leopard, elephant and sambar deer in their natural habitat
  • Anuradhapura, Dambulla and Sigiriya - Discover ancient capitals, painted cave temples and the dramatic Sky Fortress

Short Description

This trip explores Northern Sri Lanka while taking in the solar eclipse from the small island of Analaitivu, located just off the coast of Jaffna, the welcoming and busy capital city of the north. At Wilpattu National Park we'll search for elephant, leopard and other wildlife, while at Mannar Island we see the legendary graves of Adam and Eve and explore the small fishing communities. We also take in the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Lion's Rock and the Dambulla cave temple on an exciting 10-day adventure to this lesser known part of the 'Paradise Island'.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Array
Itinerary Focus N/A
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Negombo

Travel Theme

Education / Learning

Destinations

Sri Lanka

Cities & Attractions

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join trip in Negombo

Description

Negombo is the ideal starting point for our adventure. Just 15 minutes from the airport and well known for its fishing industry and golden sands, it's a great place to relax and enjoy a good meal or watch the sunset over the ocean on our first evening in Sri Lanka.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Search for leopards and elephants in Wilpattu National Park

Description

Driving northwards along the coast for around 4 hours, we pass through the small towns of Chilaw and Putalam heading for the uncrowded Wilpattu National Park. Boasting almost 60 lakes, the park is renowned for leopard, elephant and sambar deer sightings. The afternoon is spent exploring the park in four-wheel drive vehicles before retiring to our campsite for an al-fresco dinner and a night under canvas. The tents have raised beds with mattress, pillows, and bed linen, and en suite facilities, ensuring a comfortable night while falling asleep to the sounds of nature.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Walk the pilgrimage route at Mihintale, and drive to Mannar

Description

Today we head for the beautiful island of Mannar which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. On the way we visit the mountain peak of Mihintale. It is believed that this was the site of a momentous meeting between the monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa, the result of which introduced Buddhism to the country. Exploring Mihintale involves climbing a flight of 1,840 shallow stone steps, eventually leading to the summit of the Missaka Mountain. There are excellent views from the top of the area and Anuradhapura.

Reaching Mannar in the late afternoon we head for a coastline of white sands and palm trees that wild donkeys and sea birds call home, while most of the human population resides in small fishing communities along dusty lanes.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - Full day to explore Mannar Island and Christmas Eve barbecue on the beach

Description

After breakfast we continue exploring Mannar, seeking out coastal ruins from the colonial period including the Doric Bungalow and Arippu Fort, reminders of Dutch, British and Portuguese interest in an area famous for its pearls. In the afternoon we will visit the old Talaimannar Pier and the 12 metre long graves which legend says belong to Adam and Eve, before ending the day with an evening swim in the sea or a walk along the beach, and a Christmas Eve dinner around a camp fire.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 - Drive to Jaffna and cross to Analaitivu Island

Description

We take a leisurely 3-4 hour drive to Jaffna today, where we stop off for Christmas lunch before taking a boat to Analaitivu Island, which falls directly in the path of the annular eclipse. The quiet island is inhabited by small fishing communities and is completely off the tourist trail, so we will almost certainly to have it to ourselves for our all-important eclipse viewing. We will enjoy a barbecue under the stars while our astronomer briefs us on everything we need to know about tomorrow's big event.

Please note that Analaitivu does not have any tourism infrastructure so our night on the island will be spent either staying with local families in their homes or camping using equipment that we'll bring from the Sri Lankan mainland.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6 - View the annular solar eclipse and discover Jaffna

Description

The eclipse will take place at around 09.30 local time and we will be ready to view the whole event from start to finish in the company of a local astronomer. Known as an annular eclipse, the distance of the moon from the earth means that while it lines up exactly with the sun, it doesn't cover it completely and leaves a thin circle of light known as the 'ring of fire'. Weather conditions cannot be guaranteed, but the chance of clear, mostly clear or partly cloudy skies is around 50%, with a 50% chance of it being cloudy

Once we have witnessed the eclipse we head back to the mainland to begin our exploration of Jaffna. We start with Keerimalai natural springs where legend has it the mythical sage 'Nagula Muni', born with the face of a mongoose, meditated and bathed in the springs to turn his face in to a human one. The waters have a high mineral content and locals believe they have many health benefits. In Jaffna itself we will visit the ancient Buddhist burial site of Kantharodai and Jaffna Fort. Built in 1618 when the Portuguese took the city, the fort's impressive walls are largely intact and still form an impregnable barrier to anyone trying to enter the harbour. We'll also visit Nallur Temple, the largest and most important Hindu temple in the area, venturing inside to learn about Hindu worshiping practices. Finally we'll wander around the colourful Jaffna Market where local food and handicrafts are available to be bartered for and bought. We'll depart feeling we have a real insight into the north of Sri Lanka and its Tamil culture.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Explore Delft and Nagadeepa Islands by boat and on foot

Description

An early start this morning as we take a short boat ride to the remote and wind-swept island of Delft. Although inhabited, it has a deserted feel to it and once we get away from the port area we are as likely to see the wild Delft ponies as we are the island's people. The shallow waters surrounding the island are famously turquoise and the sands are almost white. There is a small Dutch Fort made of coral and a 'growing' rock to explore. In the afternoon we move on to Nagadeepa Island, an important place of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. The Buddhists revere the Rajayathana stupa built at the place where the Buddha intervened between two warring kings during his second visit to Sri Lanka, while the Hindus venerate the Naga Pooshani Amman Kovil Temple, dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, a consort of Shiva and said to help women conceive.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Visit the renowned cave temple at Dambulla

Description

We have an early start this morning for a 5 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dambulla. Thought to have been a place of worship since 1st century BC, when King Valagamba took refuge here, the interior of the caves are carved into magnificent rock temples. We will visit five separate caves, which contain a large number of Buddha images and sculptures of Hindu Gods. In the late afternoon we move on to Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park, depending on which one is currently experience the best wildlife sightings. Next door to each other, both parks are renowned for their gatherings of elephants and should offer a good opportunity to view wild elephants in large numbers. The parks are also home to a large array of birdlife, including painted storks.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 9 - Climb Lion's Rock and drive to Negombo

Description

This morning we have two options to choose from. We can climb the famous Lion's Rock or nearby Pidurangala. Lion's Rock is a 'sky fortress' dating to the 5th century and one of Sri Lanka's major attractions; our early start ensures we beat the crowds and make the climb before it gets too hot. Built in just seven years as a fortified palace to protect the reign of merciless King Kassapa, it is seen as one of the world's best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning. A switchback series of steps and steel stairways ascend to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still vibrant. Once at the 200 metre summit, magnificent views can be enjoyed of the surrounding jungle and countryside.

The less well known Pidurangala involves a short climb up steep steps to the 10th Century Royal Cave Temple and large reclining Buddha. From here the summit is reached via a rough path and the reward is a stunning vista of the surrounding countryside and a perfect view of Lion's Rock.

After lunch we drive to Negombo, a journey of around 4 hours. Here you can enjoy your last evening watching the sunset from the beach.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 10 - Trip ends in Negombo

Description

Our trip ends in Negombo after breakfast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 2,820
Price Per Day: $ 282 per day
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Start DateFinish DateSingle Land OnlyTwin Share Land OnlyDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-21-2019Dec-30-2019$ 3,280$ 2,820Yes3+ spaces available Reserve

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Stride Featured in

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

North Sri Lanka - Eclipse

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Wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
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Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
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Details

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine is excellent, and although it can be very spicy there are many dishes that feature cooling coconut milk or have a spicy sambar on the side to allow you to adjust the meal to your taste. There isn't a culture of eating out in Sri Lanka, most locals will eat at home, and as such there are very few restaurants around, and those that exist tend to be in hotels. As tourism develops a few independent restaurants are beginning to appear, mainly in Colombo but also in Kandy, Galle and in the coastal resorts. During the tour we will endeavour to eat out at local restaurants wherever possible but for many nights, at this point in time, the hotel restaurants are the only option available.

Guides

A Tour Leader is an integral part of any Explore tour and your tour will be led by one of our experienced tour leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Tour Leaders are the key to the success of our tours; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your tour Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this tour fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Boat Crew, Astronomer

Trip ID#:

explore-NSE

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