Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s two marine national parks, is located 1 km off the coast of Nilaweli, a coastal town in the Eastern Province. Encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares, the park derives its name from the rock pigeon, which once colonized the island. It boasts some of the country’s finest remaining coral reef ecosystems. Initially designated as a sanctuary in 1963, Pigeon Island was later redesignated as a national park in 2003, becoming the 17th national park in Sri Lanka.

Historically, the island served as a shooting range during the colonial era and was among the protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Pigeon Island comprises two main islands: large pigeon island and small pigeon island. The larger island is fringed by a coral reef, measuring approximately 200 m in length and 100 m in width, with its highest point reaching 44.8 m above mean sea level. The smaller pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets.

Located within the dry season of Sri Lanka, Pigeon Island National Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore its pristine marine habitats and witness its diverse marine life in a protected environment.