Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the South of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between 5 55’ and 9 55’ North of the equator and between the Eastern longitudes 79 42’ and 81 52. The total land area is 65,610 sq km and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km and breadth of 225 km encompasses beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with height exceeding 2,500 meters, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely fall below 27 C.
Climate and Seasons
Only 640km North of the equator, Sri Lanka’s tropical climate shows little seasonal variation in temperature. Around the coasts, temperatures hover between 26 C and 28 C, with a mean temperature in the capital of 27.5C inland, however, average temperatures are very much cooler. From May to September, the South-West monsoon deposits heavy rain on the South-West coasts, from Colombo to Galle, and also raise heavy seas which make swimming and diving unattractive. The worst intensity of the monsoon is from November to February, but this will have little impact on most visitors, as the main resort areas and visitor attractions are concentrated in the South and the central hills. Local thunderstorms can occur at any time of year, and while these are often intense they do not usually last more than a few hours.
In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27 C in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16 C at an altitude of nearly 2,000 meters. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off season. The South-West monsoon brings rain mainly from May to July to the Western, Southern and Central regions of the island, while the North-East monsoon rain occurs in the Northern and Eastern regions in December and January.