If you’re a free-spirited traveller, pack your bags for an adventure to one of these stunning destinations where the wild things roam. By Rashima Nagpal
The rugged country of Costa Rica is both exciting and serene. With a quarter of its area being a protected forest land, it’s home to a large variety of flora and fauna – around 5,00,000 to be precise – making up for about 4% of the plant, insect and animal species on Earth. Find some of the most exotic and endangered species, such as the white-headed capuchin monkey, in the 32 national parks, 51 wildlife refuges, 13 forest reserves, and eight biological reserves.
Stay at Altara El Tucano Resort & Thermal Spa, which is close to beautiful hiking routes through rainforests. The paths are well-groomed, so you can relax and admire the surroundings as you walk along a thermal river.
Did you know that Scotland harbours some of the largest wilderness areas left in Western Europe? While Loch Maree and Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve are good for a number of trails in and around the mountains and ancient pinewoods of Beinn Eighe where you spot deer, golden eagles, and the elusive Scottish crossbill, the Isle of May is where you can see tens of thousands of seabirds during the summer, including puffins, razorbills, terns and shags. In autumn this is also a popular pupping spot for grey seals. Spot otters along the shores of the Outer Hebrides, and watch minke whales breach off the coast of Mull as well as sea-kayak among the seal-haunted isles of the Outer Hebrides.
Stay at Brenfield Croft Cottages, which is a charming single storey holiday cottage, situated amid the superb scenery of Scotland’s west coast with their own private beach.
One of the most scenic locations in India, Kodaikanal is flocked by travellers, but it isn’t hard to find solace in its lush wild landscape. Hike anywhere around 19 kms of central Kodai to traverse its glorious landscape, although, for venturing into the protected areas of Palani Hills, you’ll need permission from the District Office. Experienced trekkers should take the two-day trek on the Kodai–Munnar route into Kerala via Top Station. Spot a variety of birds and butterflies on the routes that add to the charm of the misty hill station.
Famous for being home to the Tasmanian Devil, the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, Tasmania is a natural haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Bennetts wallabies, seals, penguins and wedge-tailed eagles can be found without venturing too far from the state’s capital, Hobart, and encounters with skittish wild animals are an almost inevitable feature of travels around the state. Tasmania’s vegetation is remarkable too; it includes some of the most ancient plant species on Earth, the tallest flowering trees, and the oldest plant clones among others. And its coastal landscapes along with its dramatic peaks and mountains offer breathtaking hiking trails.
Stay at Mantra One Sandy Bay Road, to soak up the heritage and culture of Tasmania’s capital from one of Hobart’s most charming hotel.
Mexico’s amusingly diverse landscape including the harsh deserts in the north and the humid jungles in the south to a 10,000-kilometre-long coastline, is reason enough to visit the country. Go underwater on an expedition to discover life under the Caribbean Sea, stay on dry land and hike Oaxaca’s mountain cloud forests, scale the peaks of dormant volcanoes, marvel at millions of migrating Monarch butterflies, and find a wild Cacomistle hopping from branch to branch in a jungle past midnight.
Stay at Allegro Cozumel First Club, situated minutes from the world famous Palancar Reef.