Wild Sri Lanka & Enchanting Maldives
February 10 – 27, 2017

Overview:

Imagine an adventure that offers the opportunity to come face to face with wild Asian elephants, leopards and Sloth bears and to have the chance to be in the water with Blue whales, Sperm whales, dolphins, Manta rays, Whale sharks and schooling reef sharks.

Join us on an extraordinary wildlife expedition to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, two Indian Ocean gems which are listed as some of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. Experience the most incredible national parks guided by the best local experts and witness diverse landscapes, tantalizing cuisine and rich culture in Sri Lanka. We have secured special permits for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel with Blue whales and Sperm whales, a marine experience without equal. Explore the Maldives, one of the world’s most pristine marine environments, onboard our privately chartered luxurious yacht. A diver and snorkeler’s paradise, tidal currents flushing through the Islands bring a constant food source, sustaining spectacular coral growth, which in turn supports an extraordinary abundance of over 1000 fish species. Get up close and personal with majestic Manta rays, sharks and Whale sharks during peak season. The Maldives islands, with their palm fringed white-sand beaches and warm turquoise waters, are your perfect tropical island getaway. When not exploring the colorful coral gardens, big wall drop-offs and current swept channels, you’ll be pampered with fine dining and a wonderful spa experience onboard our luxurious yacht.

**Maldives ONLY Winter Getaway Special
View Rates above tab for more details

Brief Itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Home / En Route to Colombo, Sri Lanka
Day 2: Arrive in Colombo
Day 3: Fly to Kandy via seaplane / Botanical Gardens / Tea Factory
Day 4: Horton Plains National Park / Nuwara Eliya
Day 5: Haputale / Safari at Yala National Park
Day 6: Safari at Yala National Park
Day 7: Safari at Yala / Safari at Udawalawe National Park
Day 8: Safari at Udawalawe National Park / Galle
Day 9: Whale watching and whale swim / Galle Fort Walk
Day 10: Whale watching and whale swim / Cinnamon Plantation
Day 11: Fly Colombo-Male / Board MV Ocean Divine
Day 12-17: Diving and Snorkeling the Maldives
Day 18: Disembark Ship / Fly home
Day 19: Arrive Home

For more information including Pre Extension options Please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

Wild Sri Lanka & Enchanting Maldives
February 10, 2017

Day-By-Day Itinerary:

Day 1: En Route to Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart your home and journey to Sri Lanka. Fly to Colombo International airport. If you are not participating in “Tigers of Kanha, India” Pre Extension, we highly recommend you arrive in Colombo at least a day before the expedition departure, so you can acclimatize, are well rested before the start of the expedition and most importantly, don’t miss the trip. We can assist you with making a booking for additional hotel nights in Colombo at the Galle Face Hotel. If you are planning on arriving earlier into Colombo, we can also organize an optional guided tour around the city in the afternoon.

Day 2: Arrive in Colombo
On arrival you will be met and transferred to Colombo, the metropolitan capital of Sri Lanka. Guests participating in “Tigers of Kanha, India” Pre Extension will arrive from Delhi at Colombo International airport at 17:30 and transfer straight to the hotel in time for dinner. If you plan on arriving earlier into Colombo, we can recommend an optional guided “All out Art Tour” around the city in the afternoon. The walking tour with resident host Mark Forbes takes you through the Flory days of the Colombo Fort and Pettah Markets. The walk places focus on photography, architecture and history. Established in 1864 and once the mansion of a British Governor, the Galle Face Hotel is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture. It possesses an unrivalled location in the capitol, on the edge of the Indian Ocean and at the foot of Galle Face Green, and offers an appealing, colonial-style alternative to travelers seeking a change from standard five-star business hotels. Return to hotel for dinner

Day 3: Seaplane flight to Kandy / Tea Country
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic seaplane flight to Kandy and join the rest of the group for lunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens. In the afternoon en route to Nuwara Eliya, stop by at a local Tea Factory for a tour. Check into the Langdale by Amaya, a boutique hotel on the sprawling Somerset Tea Estate in Radalla. Surrounded by the Great Western Mountain Range and tea covered hills, this is an ideal destination from which to explore the central highlands and the Horton Plains National Park. Enjoy a Welcome Cocktail party followed by a special welcome dinner at the Hotel.

Day 4: Horton Plains National Park / Nuwara Eliya
This morning, visit the Horton Plains National Park. The park is a protected area covered by mountain grassland and cloud forest. This plateau, at an altitude of 2,200m, has been said by many to resemble the African savannah. It is unlike any other eco system on the island; it’s as beautiful as it is eerie, and offers a world that is oddly different from any other part of Sri Lanka. The Horton Plains National Park is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. Enjoy a picnic at the plains. Afterwards have tea at the Hill Club and visit Nuwara Eliya. Dinner back at the Resort.

Day 5: Haputale / Safari at Yala
Enjoy a scenic drive through the country side to Yala, with lunch in Haputale. Check in at Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris which offers a genuine eco-friendly high-end camping experience just outside of the National Park. Settle into your tent and join Noel Rodrigo as he helps you spot leopards in Yala, one of the few parks in the world that boasts a high density of leopards. The park is also home to sambar, spotted and barking deer, water buffalo, sloth bears, abundant bird-life, butterfly swarms, iguanas, mongooses, wild boar, monkeys and crocodiles. After the safari return to the camp for a campsite fire, where you can exchange your day’s stories.

Day 6: Safari at Yala
Wake up early with a cup of tea or coffee for the morning safari. Spend the day spotting wild animals and enjoy this fantastic national park before you return to the camp for some leisure time and a hearty meal of rice and curry for lunch. After a short siesta return back to the park for another late afternoon game safari, followed by a sumptuous dinner back at the camp.

Day 7: Safari at Yala / Safari at Udawalawe
After a final early morning game drive in Yala, proceed to Udawalawe. Check in at Kalu’s Hideaway for lunch. In the afternoon head to Udawalawe National Park for a late afternoon safari game drive. This park is the best place in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. The park was created to provide a sanctuary for elephants that were displaced as a result of development in the area. In addition, wild boar, sambar deer, crocodiles and numerous species of birds can also be seen in this park. Also located within the park is the Udawalawe elephant Transit Home which was built to look after elephant orphans. Return to Kalu’s Hideaway an eco-friendly retreat set amidst five acres of tropical gardens edged by the tranquil Walawe River located close to the National Park for dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Safari at Udawalawe / En Route to Galle
Take a packed breakfast from the hotel and go on a safari to Udawalawe National Park for a final game viewing experience and safari. Return to the hotel for lunch and travel along the coast of South West Sri Lanka and arrive in Galle at the Fort Printers Hotel. Set in three 17 century colonial-period villas, this boutique hotel has been carefully restored maintaining its original architecture blended with stylish interiors. Fort Printers has a glamorous feel while still managing to retain that vital sense of simplicity offering personal service and friendly atmosphere. Dine at the Fort Printers.

Day 9: Whale watching & swim / Galle Fort Walk
Take a packed breakfast from the hotel and proceed early morning to Weligama harbor to board the boats that will take us out for our whale watching and whale swim encounter. Venture out deep into the Indian Ocean from Mirissa for a morning of whale watching. Our expert guide will explain to you the migratory paths of these Blue whales and talk about the resident population of Sperm whales and less frequently seen whales such as pilot, humpback and orca. For the ultimate in-water experience we have secured permits to snorkel alongside a giant Blue whale, the largest animal to have ever roamed this planet. In the evening, take a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Galle Fort with author Juliet Coombe, who will take you behind the coral walls of this magical ancient citadel. Learn about the fascinating history of the 17th century Galle Fort and meet with some of the descendants of the original Fort merchants. Let Juliet, a Galle Fort resident and the author of “Around the Fort in 80 Lives”, help you discover why Galle was a thriving merchant trading spot for thousands of years and tell you what really happened in 1640, when a bloody 4-day battle between the Dutch and the Portuguese sealed its fate. Experience the spice trade first hand and learn how life was during the colonial period. Your walk will also reveal quirky and extraordinary things about this city built of coral. Dine at the Fort Printers Hotel.

Day 10: Whale Watch & Swim / Cinnamon Plantation
Early morning, we return back to Weligama Harbour to board the boats that will take us out for another chance of whale encounters and whale swims. Spend the morning back out at sea in search of these Ocean Giants. After lunch back onshore at a nearby restaurant, enjoy a guided walk across a cinnamon plantation and learn how some of the world’s best cinnamon is produced, processed and packaged on the island. Enjoy a special farewell dinner at the Sun House in Galle.

Day 11: Colombo / Male / Board MV Ocean Divine
After breakfast depart Galle to the international airport for our short flight from Colombo to Male, capital of the Maldives. On arrival depart for an afternoon city tour of Male, the capital of the Maldives, a tiny city island filled with sky scrapers and busy streets. Late afternoon we are met by the ship’s crew and transfer across to our home for the next week, the 5* yacht MV Ocean Divine. As soon as we’re onboard, the ship will set sail for the islands. After a shipboard safety briefing and crew introductions enjoy a sundowner followed by our Welcome dinner.

Days 12 – 16: Dive & Snorkel the Maldives
Spend a week onboard this luxurious dive yacht, exploring  the incredible reefs of the Maldives. Our expedition will focus on exploring the most spectacular dive and snorkel sites around the atolls of the central Maldives. A diver and snorkeler’s paradise, tidal currents flush through the islands bringing a constant food source, sustaining spectacular coral growth, which in turn supports an extraordinary abundance of over 1000 fish species. Drift dive through channels, cruise along seemingly endless reef walls and explore beautiful coral gardens and standalone coral bommies. The reefs are thriving with rainbow colored hard and soft corals, an amazing array of marine life, including the renowned abundance of large aquatic animals such as Whale sharks, Manta rays, Reef sharks and turtles. The nooks and crannies of the coral reefs are also full of tiny wonders such as gobies, blennies, octopus and nudibranchs. You will be spoiled, cruising the warm, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, while getting the opportunity to step ashore on a picture perfect tropical island surrounded by white-sand beaches and a sundowner on the spacious sun deck, or pamper yourself in paradise with a massage. After working up an appetite, enjoy delicious fresh Maldivian and international cuisine onboard.

Day 17: Male
Enjoy your final day of snorkeling and diving the pristine reefs of the Maldives before we return back to Male in the late afternoon. The expedition doesn’t officially finish until the following morning after breakfast, but since many flights depart late at night, you could book a late evening flight departing Male tonight to avoid sitting around in Male the following day (flights must depart after 21:00).

Day 18: Male / Fly Home
After breakfast disembark the vessel around 08:00 and transfer back to Male International airport for your flight home. If you need a dayroom, we can organize that at the Hulhule Airport hotel. They offer various packages to suit your flight departure.

Day 19: Male / Fly Home
Arrive Home.

*Please note: This itinerary is subject to change. In the spirit of expedition travel, plans may change slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination.

WE-SD2017

Wild Sri Lanka & Enchanting Maldives
February 10, 2017

Rates:

WILD SRI LANKA & ENCHANTING MALDIVES
10-27 FEB 2017 | 19 DAYS | 12 GUESTS

Double occupancy    $13,820 per person
Single supplement surcharge $6,160 per person

Winter Getaway Special: Maldives ONLY
Double occupancy   $4,900 per person
Single supplement surcharge $7,500 per person

Included:

o All accommodations in twin/double share rooms as outlined in itinerary
o Exclusive Yacht charter & Seaplane flight o Upgraded suites in most hotels
o All group meals; Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions; soft drinks, drinking water, tea and regular filter coffee during lunch/dinner at all hotels and onboard the chartered vessel
o Drinking water while on tours
o All group transfers and baggage handling
o All tours, excursions, diving and snorkeling as outlined in the itinerary
o Exclusive services of English speaking professional guides and naturalists
o Services of 2 Expedition Leaders (including expedition leader/dive guide and marine biologist/snorkel guide)
o All gratuities to porters, guides, drivers, dive crew, resort- and wait staff
o Government, Service and Room taxes
o All permits, entrance and marine park fees
o Complimentary slideshow and photos
o Daily recaps and lectures by experts
o Donation to Manta conservation project
o Dive tanks/weights/reef hooks for Scuba divers

Not Included:

o All international and domestic airfares; any airport arrival and departure taxes
o Passport and visa fees o Snorkel gear – masks, fins and snorkel
o Individual airport transfers, meals and baggage handling outside the group travel itinerary
o Mandatory travel insurance (including medical, medical evacuation and accident)
o Excess baggage charges
o Personal items such as laundry, any alcoholic beverages or bar charges (unless specified above)
o Wi-Fi/email, telephone, fax calls
o Gratuities for leaders and non-group services
o Nitrox air fills ($130/wk.) and dive gear rental

Note: Any sudden increase in price, due to currency fluctuations, a steep hike in fuel cost, change in government tax policy or for any reason beyond our control, will be adjusted with the final invoice

General Information

o Expedition Easy strongly recommends Travel Insurance (trip cancellation) for your trip.
o We only have 2 single spaces available on this expedition and single occupancy rates apply. If you are wanting to share accommodations, a roommate will be assigned to you and double occupancy rates apply. If we cannot pair you with a roommate, the single supplement surcharge applies.
o Passports need to be valid for 6 months beyond date of departure

Reservations

To reserve space on a trip on the Expedition Easy website, please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

February 10 - February 27, 2017