Negombo, situated on the Western coastal belt of Sri Lanka, is located 37km to the north of Colombo city and is the closest beach resort (6km away) to the Bandaranayake International Airport. When you are descending into the one and only International airport of the country, the first sight of land will be a region concealed by coconut groves, and that is Negombo for you. One of the major and most famous beach resorts in the West coast, well known for its safe waters and sandy beaches, Negombo is located at the mouth of the famed Negombo lagoon. The Sinhalese name of Mee-Gamowa meaning group of bees, came about when King Kavantissa found bee honey in a canoe near the shores for his wife, Viharamahadevi who was pregnant with prince Dutugemunu.
Negombo is traditionally known as a fishing town, and its economy is mainly dependent on the age old fishing industry and of late on tourism with the development of various luxury resorts and hotels in the area. With the availability of seafood in abundance, Negombo is a gourmet food lover’s paradise, with the opportunity to dig into some amazing flavors. To a lesser extent Negombo is also famous for its cultivation of spices, with its rich history of cinnamon cultivation during the Dutch era.
The population in Negombo is dominated by Roman Catholics, and the town itself has been given the title of ‘’Little Rome’’ owing to the presence of a large number of Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches that you will find within the city limits. The St. Mary’s Church by far is the most picturesque of them all with its pink neoclassical structure, it’s said to have been constructed over a period of 50 years from 1874-1924. The Grand Street Church and the Katuwapitiya Church are two of the biggest parishes that you will find in the town.
The town really does give you a medieval feel with its many buildings from the Dutch and Portuguese era. You have the Ruined Dutch Fort built in the year 1678, which used to stand as a formidable structure during the Dutch reign, but was partly taken down by the British to set up the Prison which still stands. Then you have the Dutch Canal, which used to extend a distance of 120km towards Colombo in the south as well as Puttalam in the north. And these canals were the means by which the Dutch used to transport spices from inland regions to the harbor in Negombo.