Negombo is an ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the country’s international airport. The 100 km long canal network running through the town is still used, and outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. Remains of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, administrative buildings, and churches. Negombo is also home to the country’s second-largest fish market, the Llelama, at the north end of the town’s lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area’s colourful fisherman and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela, which part of 6,000-hectare (14,826-acre) protected marshland, home to over 190 species of wildlife.
Each day, fishers take their oruvas (outrigger canoes) and go out in search of the fish for which Negombo is famous. They’re a fine sight as they sweep home into the lagoon after a fishing trip. Fish auctions on the beach and sales at the fish market near the fort are a slippery and smelly affair, but one that’s well worth forgoing some pool time for.
The catch is not all from the open sea: Negombo is at the northern end of a lagoon that is renowned for its lobsters, crabs and prawns. Across the lagoon bridge there’s a second fish market. If you can stagger out of bed at 6am, it’s a good place to watch much bigger fishing boats return with their catches.
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