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Turtles, Taj, stilts and Bentota: the spice of life in Paradise island Sri Lanka!

Turtles, Taj, stilts and Bentota: the spice of life in Paradise island Sri Lanka!

Travel veteran Lisa Haynes, writing in the North-West Evening Mail, a leading UK newspaper, is captivated by baby hatchlings at Kosgoda Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Sri Lanka.

“‘Tina, Tupac, Tyrone?’ News we’re about to release a batch of three-day-old sea turtles into the ocean incites squeals of excitement from my group of travellers… followed by heated debate about the naming ceremony.

“But when a fierce Sri Lanka monsoon breaks at dusk, just as we’re about to launch the 5cm-long wriggling shells into the sea, our enthusiasm is rapidly replaced by concern.

“We have vital minutes to ensure the 40-plus hatchlings head straight for the sea, giving them the best chance of survival. As torrential rain lashes down, we steer wayward shells into the waves, while somebody in the group loses a flip-flop in the angry tide.”

Tina was on a whistle-stop tour of the best of our Paradise island, and enthuses that “we leave the centre drenched but grinning like turtle superheroes after our successful release of the babies, made even more dramatic by the erratic monsoon”.

She notes that “tourism boomed in Sri Lanka after three decades of civil war ended in 2009”, and enthusiastically embraced the wealth of experiences on offer—including stilt fishing!

“Scrambling up three-metre wooden structures in seconds, they dangle basic rods to catch fish—a method of fishing unique to Sri Lanka. I appreciate their skills even more when I try it myself.

“I take forever to perch safely on the branch ‘seat’, and catch just one microscopic fish in 15 minutes. It all feels pretty stable and fun, until a more ferocious wave wobbles your precarious stilt a fraction.”

Meanwhile, she loved the accommodation. “Tucked away in sleepy Bentota town, our hotel, the Vivanta By Taj, is flanked by beautiful beaches on either side.

“Dotted with rock pools, one is perfect for sunset strolls; the other, slapped by more ferocious waves, is scattered with coconut shells and burnt-out banana leaves, like something out of a Bond movie.

“Chill-out levels hit their peak after a visit to the hotel’s zen Jiva spa, which draws on Indian Ayurvedic rituals and has koi carp hypnotically swimming around a relaxation room pond.”

Read Lisa’s full report here.

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