Sri Lanka in December: Tropical Holiday, Sun and Rain


Treat yourself to a captivating and inspirational tropical getaway this holiday season. Weatherwise, December in Sri Lanka is a fuss-free season to visit the island nation. Freshly washed and watered by the southwestern monsoon, the most beautiful beaches of South and West are now dry, dreamy, and warm. Surf in Hikkaduwa, celebrate Christmas in Colombo, sunbathe in Unawatuna, or join the Pada pilgrims to climb Adam's Peak. Taking a trip to Sri Lanka in December will offer ample experiences to decorate your Christmas break with bragworthy moments.

Sri Lanka Weather in December

Beach coastline in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka in December
As Yala Monsoon bids farewell, the south and the west of Sri Lanka have ideal weather for beach activities.

Owing to its proximity to the equator, Sri Lanka is gifted with a uniform temperature irrespective of the season. The main weather spoilsports are definitely its two monsoon cycles of Maha and Yala. In December, the south and west of Sri Lanka that host the most prized tourist gems are free from the grip of just concluded Yala. But the northern and eastern regions of the country will now face the full wrath of the Maha monsoon.

Pleasantly warm, Sri Lanka in December sports an average high of 30ºC and an average low of 22°C. But as you ascend to a higher altitude, like in the Hill Country, the maximum temperature drops to 25ºC. The nighttime temperature is a comfy 17°C and combined with a wet climate, a cozy chill hangs in the air. Cultural Triangle will be considerably wet in December, though rainfall will be less than the previous month.

For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

Weather in Sri Lanka in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)313132323130303030303030
Avg Nightly (°C)222324252626252525242323
Avg Daily (°F)87.887.889.689.687.886868686868686
Avg Nightly (°F)71.673.475.27778.878.877777775.273.473.4
Avg Rainfall (mm)6269130253382186125114236369310168

Why Visit Sri Lanka in December

Tea estates in Sri Lanka in February
Hop on a tuk-tuk to explore the vast tea estates of Sri Lanka.
Fishermen on stilts in Galle in Sri Lanka in February
From coastal cities to lush tea estates, Sri Lanka has varying cultures and traditions distinct from the rest of the world.

Hailed as a year-round destination, Sri Lanka in December is at its peak condition. And if you are ready to battle its high season cost and crowd, this Pearl of Indian Ocean will pepper your trip with holiday highs to round off your year perfectly. Following are the travel perks to be enjoyed this month:

  • Beach time: Bag those quintessential tropical moments of silvery sands, blue skies, warm water, and plenty of sunshine as you surf, soak or sunbathe on the southern and western beaches of Sri Lanka.
  • Wildlife spotting: December in Sri Lanka is a good time to score a tryst with the wild, both on land and out in the sea. As you track the elusive leopard in the Yala National Park, you can also go whale watching off the coast of Kalpitiya Peninsula. December is the time to spot blue whales, the largest mammals on earth.
  • Christmas and New Year: Ruled by Portuguese, Dutch, and English, Sri Lanka has a colonial connection with Christmas. Here, the celebration starts on December 1st with firecrackers and a street decorated with festive lights. Attend a midnight mass at a church in Colombo and a grand Christmas dinner at one of its glitzy hotels. Established hotel chains host their own Christmas parties, so enquire ahead and book.
  • Local festivals: December is an important month in the Buddhist calendar as two significant events take place on the auspicious day of the last full moon of the year. Devotees collect to pay homage to the sacred Maha Bodhi tree in the Mahameuna Garden of Anuradhapura. And on the same day, the annual pilgrimage to Sri Pada or Adam's Peak starts where pilgrims make once in a lifetime spiritual journey to visit the footprint of Buddha left at the summit of the hill.

Where to go and what to do

Crested hawk eagle in Sri Lanka in December
Bird watching is at an all-time high in December due to fewer showers of rain and more migratory birds hitting the island.

With clear and agreeable December weather, time spent close to the raw and rugged nature of Sri Lanka is insanely rewarding. Hike the forests of Horton Plains or trek to the top of Adam's Peak. Due to less moisture this month, you can pitch tents in the woodlands to enjoy an adventurous rendezvous with nature. To watch wild elephants in their natural habitats, you can head to Udawalawe National Park. Bird watching is also at an all-time high in December due to fewer showers of rain and more migratory birds hitting the island during the winter months. Though the main surfing season on the southwest coast starts in January, by December, consistent waves and tranquil weather take over. Learners will find that Sri Lanka in December is comparatively people-free for some focused practice and undivided trainer's attention. Head to Meddawatta, Midigama, or Weligama with your surfboard to ride and tame the swells.

The sunny and dry weather in Sri Lanka in December is a delight, provided you keep to its south and west coasts. There are ample activities to keep you enamored - a plantation hike in the tea gardens of Nuwara Eliya, a panoramic rail ride from Ella to Kandy, a yoga workshop at Hiriketiya, or a magical sight of the stilt fishermen of Koggala. As you lose yourself to the immersive sights and sounds of Sri Lanka, don't forget to exercise some caution during traveling given its latest civic disturbances owing to political instability. If you need help with planning a customized trip to Sri Lanka, you can always reach out to our local travel experts who can devise a tailored itinerary for you. For instant inspiration, check out our tours to Sri Lanka in December.

Create your custom-made trip to Sri Lanka

Traveling to Sri Lanka? Chat with a local travel specialist in Sri Lanka who can help organize your trip.

  • Hazan Anver
    Hazan Anver
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    Evanjalin Fernando
    Travel Expert in Sri Lanka & Maldives
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    Rajika Dileeshi
    Travel Expert in Sri Lanka
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