Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of a Lagoon, in Western Province. It is the largest city in Gampaha district and it is the fourth largest city in the country after the capital Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka with about 128,000 inhabitants within city limits.
It is approximately 35 km north of Colombo City and is known for its huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets and sandy beaches. The international airport of Sri Lanka is in the Negombo Metropolis.
This city is an ideal and liberal place with luxury, tropical life style, for those who want quick access to and from the country’s main international airport and also to Colombo city. The 100 km canal network running through the city is still used. Outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourism. Remnants of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, administrative buildings, churches and the ceiling frescoes of St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Negombo is home to the country’s second-largest fish market, locally famous as the Lellama (Lel-La-Ma), at the north end of the lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area’s fishers, buy fish and even organize fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela Marshland, which is part of a 6,000-hectare (14,826-acre) reserve. The protected mangroves of the lagoon are home to over 190 species of wildlife.
Negombo offers one of the best beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka. It draws tourists who stop over for a day on their way to or from the airport. Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fishermen and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are popular among visitors, with a few well-preserved coral reefs and a 50-year-old shipwreck that can be seen in the distance also known as Kudapaduwa (Ku-Da-Paa-Du-We) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. Mora Wala (Mo-Ra-Wa-La) and Beach Park are very interesting places.
There are local handicrafts, batiks and jewelry boutiques on the beaches and the shops to indulge in.