Negombo is a modest beach town located just 10km from Bandaranaike International Airport. With a stash of decent hotels and restaurants to suit all pockets, a friendly local community, an interesting old quarter and a reasonable (though somewhat polluted) beach, Negombo is a much easier place to find your Sri Lankan feet than Colombo.
Bentota, 62km south of Colombo, is a planned tourist development. It has a long broad sandy beach, at its best during the October to April holiday season, with safe swimming – although red warning flags fly when currents are too strong. There are some fine beachside hotels in Sri Lanka, which also have swimming pools, as well as guest houses to suit all budgets close to the carefully planned developed area.