Pigeon Island is located around 1 km away from the Nilaveli beach. This is consist of two islands, one is small and other one is larger in size. This is one of the best places to see corals.
This island got its name because of the Rock Pigeons live over there. In year 2003 Pigeon island was designated as a nation park in Sri Lanka. earlier it was a sanctuary. This island was used by British army as a place for shooting practice in early world war time.
The beach is covered with corals and you couldn’t get that experience in any other beach in Sri Lanka. It's difficult to walk here without slippers, because of these corals. Sometimes dead corals can make sharp cut, which can cause bad infection. You can have a sea bath in pigeon island, but Nilaveli beach better for it. Even sand was formed with the crushed corals.
The island gets its name from Blue Rock Pigeon, a native endangered bird who lives within the rocks in these islands. The islands were declared a sanctuary in 1963 for the purpose of protecting these birds. In 2003 this area was upgraded to the status of a National Park and the boundaries were extended to include coral reef around them. The national Park has one of the best remaining coral reefs with the high live coral cover in the country and is an ideal location for scuba diving and snorkeling.
A nesting area for rock pigeons, the island is beautiful enough, with rock pools and paths running through thickets, but it’s the underwater landscape that’s the real star. The reef here is shallow, making snorkeling almost as satisfying as diving, and its home to dozens of corals, hundreds of reef fish (including blacktip reef sharks) and turtles. Note that the recent surge in tourism has damaged the reef to a degree, so don't expect a pristine marine environment. Close to the shore, some day trippers stomp all over shallow coral.