Negombo is a lively beach town on the west coast of Sri Lanka, located in proximity to the Bandaranaike International Airport. This tourist centric city is dotted with a wide range of beach front hotels and guesthouses that cater to every budget. Negombo’s reasonable selection of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, modest nightlife, and friendly community contribute to a pleasant stay.
Although very much a modern tourist destination, Negombo’s tell-a-tale topography is a subtle reminder of its colonial past. Most locals are Catholics, signifying the influence of the Portuguese missionary activities in the 16th Century. The town is dubbed ‘Little Rome’ by many, owing to its concentration of churches and the large community of catholic devotees who call Negombo home.
This colourful beach town was a valuable source of cinnamon for the Dutch, who characteristically built the Hamilton Canal stretching a total distance of 120 km – southward up to Colombo and northward up to Puttalam, during their occupation. The remnants of the colonial era Negombo Fort with ‘1678’ inscribed on its gate, is still visible today.
It is characteristic to see the fishermen of Negombo sailing landward in their colourful outrigger canoes, laden with the daily catch from the bountiful sea and lagoon of Negombo. The sea food markets in the town centre and at Duwa, teeming with artful auctioneers, haggling buyers and gregarious locals will provide a novel experience to those who explore.
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