Small Group Adventure in Sri Lanka: Why to Go and What You’ll Do

Train on Nine Arches Bridge in Ella, Sri Lanka by Hendrik Cornelissen via Unsplash

With leopards and elephants, unrivaled curries, hillsides green with tea plants, and a millennia-long Buddhist history, Sri Lanka is a small country that beckons visitors from far afield. 

When you feel that pull, it’s up to you to plan your trip… or trust a travel company to do the heavy lifting for you! In this article, we’ll unpack the sometimes counterintuitive way group travel gives you a more immersive experience. (As a heads up: we are a travel company, and we are a little biased, but our experience gives us a lot of insight on this topic!)

We’ll also walk through a sample Sri Lanka itinerary for 2024, and wrap up by introducing our favorite pocket-sized tool to make the most of group travel: the Vamoos app.

Why visit Sri Lanka with a small group?

Deciding where to invest your travel fund dollars is never a small decision… and with a destination as remote as Sri Lanka, it’s not easy, either! You may be wondering whether it’s the right destination for you at all, or debating whether to travel with a group or take planning into your own hands.

After years of running small group adventures in Sri Lanka and all over the world (see: our full roster of Yoga Adventures!) we are pretty sure of a couple of things:

  • Sri Lanka is an excellent travel destination for anyone who loves well-spiced food, kind people, diverse wildlife, beautiful beaches, and jaw-dropping train rides. 
  • The best way to see Sri Lanka is with a travel group unless you speak the language or have local connections.

Here’s why. 

Group travel is more  immersive, not less

This can be counterintuitive, so stick with us! When visiting Sri Lanka with a group, you’ll actually have a more authentic, local experience than if you were to go on your own. 

At first blush, group travel might seem like a “touristy” thing to do. But actually, traveling through an experienced company (like us perhaps…) that employs local guides is the best way to get off the beaten path. With these kinds of experiences, you’ll have better odds of overcoming language barriers and avoiding tourist traps. 

On our Sri Lanka Yoga Adventure, you’ll get a chance to go head-to-head with a local villagers and lose at (play) a game of cricket, the nation’s most popular sport. And if you’re a foodie, a well-planned small group adventure in Sri Lanka will ensure you’re getting authentic food – most restaurants in highly-traveled areas are notorious for not serving legitimate Sri Lankan cuisine. Which is a shame, because Sri Lankans cook curry unlike any other people in the world. 

Hungry for more? Check out our in-depth exploration of Sri Lankan food!

You won’t have to worry about a thing.

Nothing’s more overwhelming than planning a day-by-day itinerary to a country you’ve never visited before, knowing it may just be your only chance to experience a very special place… and where even the simplest actions, like getting transportation or finding breakfast, feel like huge question marks. 

When you take a group adventure to Sri Lanka, virtually all those stressors are erased. And should you run into a mishap (like a delayed flight, a misplaced bag, or unexpected closure) you know you have experts in your corner to handle it for you.

You can’t out-plan a group adventure itinerary

…at least not on your first visit to a country! At The Travel Yogi, we’ve been doing this for a long time. Every Sri Lanka Yoga Adventure itinerary is based on extensive planning, local relationships, and lots of experience. 

You’ll get an itinerary that’s perfectly balanced: neither overbooked nor boring, with the perfect blend of nature, spirituality, culture, cuisines, good old-fashioned fun, and of course, yoga. 

All you have to do is read it over, get excited, and pack your bag.

Example Sri Lanka Itinerary for 2024

Speaking of itineraries… here’s a taste of the latest Sri Lanka itinerary (for 2024!) that you’ll follow when you visit with The Travel Yogi. We take you from bustling cities to pristine beaches; green hills to ancient temples.

Day 1 

Ayubowan! You’ll land in Colombo and transfer to the coastal city of Negombo, where you’ll spend the rest of the day relaxing with a stretchy yoga session and welcome dinner.

Colombo, Sri Lanka by Jalitha Hewage via Unsplash.

Day 2 

You’ll venture inland to explore the ancient Dambulla cave complex, a religious and historical site filled from floor to ceiling with art dedicated to the life of the Buddha. 

Day 3

A day of full cultural immersion, you’ll explore a village by bike, enjoy a home-cooked curry lunch, visit the homes of local craftspeople, and be defeated at cricket. 

Day 4

You’ll lace up your hiking shoes for the 1200-step trek up Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, a monolith topped with an ancient city boasting jaw-dropping frescoes and massive stone lion paws.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka by Dylan Shaw via Unsplash.

Day 5

You’ll be weary by now, so it’s time for a rest day. Soak in an infinity pool, treat yourself to an ayurvedic ritual, or venture out for a trek. You’ll debrief your adventure during the evening yoga practice.

Day 6

Set out on a scenic drive to the bustling, history-rich city of Kandy. When you arrive, you’ll be welcomed into a local friend’s home for lunch, tea, and sweets before your tour of Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy’s most venerated site.

…That’s just the first half!

Our Sri Lanka Yoga Adventure is a 12-day itinerary that’ll take you all around the mesmerizing island nation.

Read the full itinerary here!

Introducing Vamoos: an App for Easy and Informed Group Travel

Group travel to Sri Lanka (or most international destinations, for that matter) gives you the chance to immerse yourself more deeply in the culture and saves you the stress of planning in an unfamiliar place. 

But it’s still important to stay in the loop when it comes to your itinerary – otherwise, you’ll feel like a baby elephant following the herd through the tall grass of Udawalawe National Park: happy to be along for the ride, but completely in the dark as to where you’re headed and what to expect. 

The most convenient (and modern!) solution? A custom travel app. Let’s take a peek inside The Travel Yogi’s custom version of the Vamoos travel app.

Screenshots from our Sri Lanka app!

Documents and information all in one place

No need to carry around a heavy stack of print-outs: your trip-specific itinerary, instructions to meet your airport transfer, a local etiquette cheat sheet, and so much more are always in your pocket. 

You’ll be prepared to venture out confidently during free time and keep abreast of exactly what’s going on this afternoon, tomorrow, and next Thursday without having to tap your guide and ask. 

Maps, weather, language guides, and more

In our Vamoos app, you can follow your trip on a customized map and use the weather feature to look ahead at the weather you should expect in each location. 

When you’re not taking in local scenery, use your car or train time to brush up on the local language and history. 

No service needed

Once you configure your app for your trip, all your documents and itinerary information are pre-downloaded for you, so no need to worry about international data plans or finding a Wi-Fi hotspot to Google how to haggle at a local market. 

The Vamoos difference

We know, we know, we’re clearly super excited about this technology. If you’re not a phone person, more power to you – you don’t need to have your nose in Vamoos during every spare moment of your trip.

In fact, quite the opposite! Travel apps like this are tools to help you stay organized and informed – so you can appreciate what you’re experiencing more deeply, prepare for what’s ahead, and stay oriented physically and mentally.

Adventure (in the know) in Sri Lanka

Wherever in the world you’re reading this article, Sri Lanka is probably pretty far away. But if you close your eyes, can’t you smell the curry leaves? Feel the shake of elephant footsteps? Taste the tea?

A feast for the senses awaits in Sri Lanka – made even more delightful by local guidance, a tried-and-true itinerary, and a wealth of knowledge in your pocket. 

[View our Sri Lanka Yoga Adventure]