Negombo is a great place to acclimatize to the Sri Lankan culture without being overwhelmed by the craziness of the bigger cities.
Negombo is a quiet town in the western coastal area of Sri Lanka, with a tourist strip to the north on Jetwing Beach. Its key attraction is proximity to the international airport. Formerly the haunt of budget travellers, it now attracts tourists for its yellow, sandy beaches and its relaxing and friendly environment. There are a few other tourist attractions, and decent opportunities for diving and watersports.
Landing in the early 1500s, the Portuguese ousted the Jaffna Kingdom, constructed a fort in Negombo and took over the trade of cinnamon to the West. During the Portuguese occupation, the Karava (the dominant seafaring clan of Negombo), who were previously Hindu, embraced Catholicism. So successfully were they converted that today Negombo is sometimes known as 'Little Rome' and nearly two thirds of its population profess the Catholic faith.
The Portuguese restructured the traditional production and management of cinnamon and maintained their control over the trade for more than a century.
Negombo has a small port, and its economy is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry. The town is a gourmet food lover’s paradise with seafood available in plenty. Negombo also produces spices, ceramics and brassware. The town has a majority of Roman Catholics along with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims while it has been given the name “Little Rome” due to the highly ornate Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches found within the township.
Negombo features a tropical rainforest climate. With dry season almost all the year round, the city witnesses rainfall between May and August. The pleasant months of December to April are generally considered as the ideal time to visit the city.
- December - April