Sri Lanka is – simply put – beautiful. With eight World Heritage Sites on the island alone, a visit to Sri Lanka is a visit to one of the world’s most gorgeous landscapes, populated with remnants of 2000 years of culture and a diverse population. Make the most of your visit by exploring countryside and city alike in the most intimate and comfortable way possible: via rental car.
Located close to the equator, Sri Lanka is basically comfortable to visit year-round. The best weather on the east coast typically spans from December to March, and the best weather on the west coast typically stretches from April to September.
The two official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. English is generally spoken in major tourist areas and Colombo.
The local time zone is Sri Lanka Standard Time, UTC+5:30.
The currency is the Sri Lankan rupee. Carry enough cash to handle your daily transactions, as credit cards may not be widely accepted and credit card fraud is becoming more frequent. ATMs are widely available in larger cities; Commercial Bank ATMs are most likely to accept international credit and debit cards.
Automobile hire is available in four cities throughout Sri Lanka: Colombo, Ragama and Negombo in the west and Hambantota in the south. Colombo International Airport is typically the most convenient and cheapest location to rent a car.
Citizens of all countries except the Maldives and Singapore can apply for a visa online, which allows for visits to Sri Lanka of up to 30 days and is valid for six months following the date of approval. Bring the Electronic Travel Authorization with you to your port of entry, where you will exchange it for a visa for the cost of 20 to 35 American dollars. Apply online at least 48 hours before you depart for Sri Lanka.
Driving in Sri Lanka is not for the faint at heart. City roads are full, traffic conditions often turn to congestion for no apparent reason, and other drivers are quite erratic. It is necessary to drive defensively, whether in Colombo or the countryside, and be on the lookout for potholes and quickly changing road conditions. With that said, driving will make your travels throughout Sri Lanka much more independent and intimate, and if you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, hiring a driver is a viable and often inexpensive option.
Automobile hire in Sri Lanka typically starts at around $32 a day. Here are some of the best deals:
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Booking prices are typically cheapest for rental cars one to three months in advance of your arrival date, regardless of the tourist season.
EconomyBookings’ locations in Colombo, particularly at the airport and the Hilton Hotel, can typically offer the cheapest prices in Sri Lanka, often beating the prices of other regions such as Negombo by more than $17 a day.
You can also save upwards of $4 per daily rental by extending your rental contract over a week.