"Negombo"The best cinnamon in the world originated from Sri Lanka and the most prized variety in the island came from the coastal stretch along Negombo. The Portuguese grabbed the coastal area with the aromatic spice groves and built a fort around them.
The Dutch managed to oust the Portuguese in 1644 and improved the fort and fortified the town further. The British gained the town without resistance in 1796.
The northernmost resort on the west coast, and a large fishing town, Negombo has an old world atmosphere of 17th century churches and forts, and is also often called 'little Rome'.
A fine example is St.Mary's church in the town centre.
The little island of 'Duwa' - attached to Negombo by the lagoon bridge - is famed for the country's only Passion Play. This involves the entire village and is staged throughout the Christian Holy Week. The ruins of the old Dutch fort, and a Dutch cemetery and green are near the mouth of the lagoon.
A Fishers' festival is also held here in late July. The catch, which includes shark as well, is not always from the sea and very often includes lobster, crab and prawns from the lagoon.
A jungle boat trip down the Kalu Ganga (Black River) will reward you with the sighting of monitor lizards and flocks of migrant birds.
The Munneswaram Hindu temple is 20kms away, and can be combined with a tour of the famous fish market in the seaside town of Chilaw. The larger hotels in the area also have equipment and facilities for water sports such as windsurfing, sailing and skiing.