The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Pigeon Island consists of two islands; large pigeon island and small pigeon island. The large pigeon island is fringed by a coral reef, and is about 200 m long and 100 m wide. The national park is situated within the dry zone of Sri Lanka. You can see over 100 species of coral and 300 coral reef fish recorded in the area. Sea Turtles and Blacktip Reef Sharks are also commonly seen in the shallow coral areas.
To reach Pigeon Island National Park, visitors must rent a boat from Nilaveli Beach and then take a one hour trip to the island. The charges for visiting Pigeon Island National Park entry fee adult/child US$10/5, service charge per group US$8 and charge per boat Rs 125.There are boat operators who will charge Rs 1500/- 1800/- for a return trip to the island. These can be organised outside hotel arrangements. The islands are looked after by the Navy. You can visit the Pigeon Island National Park every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also buy goggles and other swimming equipments.