Although the island is considered to be a year-round destination, the best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on the region you are heading to. As it's a tropical country, you can expect rain any time of the year, but there is a monsoon pattern to choose the right place and time. December through April is a prime tourist season when southern and western territories (including Colombo) enjoy the best weather. December and January in Sri Lanka are pleasant but also the busiest, especially for Christmas and New Year, so book early. Winter and spring in southwestern part is a good time for exploring Adam's Peak, and for those on the coast—snorkelling and whale watching. Southwest monsoon hits this area in May–September, but showers are usually sharp and short. Northeast monsoon prevails on the east coast in October–February, and the best season there runs from May through September. Late summer is the time to witness elephant gathering at the Minneriya Lake. If you happen to be in Central Sri Lanka in summer, join the Kandy Esala Perahera festival, one of the oldest of Buddhist festivals in the country.