North of Negombo, the coastline becomes increasingly rocky and wild, with narrow beaches and crashing waves that make swimming impossible for most of the year. Not surprisingly, the area remains largely undeveloped, although there are a cluster of appealing places to stay just north of Negombo in peaceful Waikkal. Heading north brings you to the bustling fishing town of Chilaw and the interesting Munnesvaram Temple, one of the island’s most important Hindu shrines, while further up the coast the idyllic Kalpitiya Peninsula is home to the island’s best dolphin-watching and a superb cluster of small-scale eco-resorts on beautiful Alankuda Beach – which also provide a convenient jumping-off point for the nearby Wilpattu National Park.

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