Santa Lucia cloud forest

6 Amazing Places Blessed By Mother Nature

  4. Kauai

waimea canyon

Waimea Canyon – Hawaii

Kauai needed no computer-generated special effects to steal the show in the Jurassic movies and more than 60 other feature films. The island’s aerial tours deliver cinematic views of the towering Na Pali coast sea cliffs. But plunging deep into the Garden Island’s wild side requires hitting a trail. Marked hiking paths lead into Waimea Canyon, through the shallow bogs of Alakai Swamp, and across unbelievably lush landscapes. One newer route, the five-mile Wai Koa Loop Trail, passes through the U.S.’s largest mahogany forest.

For the most meaningful treks, go with a local, says Hike Kauai With Me owner Eric Rohlffs. “A guide can take you to less traveled spots while keeping you safe and educating you on all things Hawaii.”

Why Go Now?
Hike authentic Hawaii

5. Central India’s National Parks

bandhavgarh-national-park

In the protection of India’s Bandhavgarh National Park, this tigress gave birth to three cubs

Why watch The Jungle Book when you can live it? In the heart of India, the regal Bengal tigers immortalized in Rudyard Kipling’s classic series (and subsequent Disney films) are making a roaring comeback. Seventy percent of the world’s wild tiger population (up from as few as 3,200 in 2010 to 3,890 in 2015) resides in India. For wildlife watchers eager to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest cats, nothing- including Dolby Vision 3D on an IMAX screen—beats spotting the majestic creatures prowl their home turf. Thanks to wildlife and habitat-preservation initiatives, national parks in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have become wild tiger havens. Hop aboard Indian Railways’ new Tiger Express tourist train to go on safari in Bandhavgarh and Kanha, two parks where you’ll have a greater chance of seeing tigers than in any other national park.

Why Go Now?
Get on board the new Tiger Express safari train

6. Finland

lapland-finland

Lapland – Finland

If silence is golden, you’ll discover the mother lode in Finland’s state-owned protected areas. From near the Arctic Circle in Lapland (where the northern lights often brighten the 200 days of winter), through the 20,000-island Finnish archipelago, and along the rocky beaches on the mainland’s southernmost tip, Finland’s 40 national parks, 12 wilderness areas and eight national hiking areas are sanctuaries for silence seekers.

In 2017 Finns celebrate a hundred years of independence from Russia with four (winter, spring, summer, and fall) nationwide Finnish Nature Days, featuring pop-up events that might include mushroom picking or family-friendly hikes. Finland also designated Hossa National Park as the country’s 40th national park. Join the unplugged party at Torassieppi, a rustic and remote reindeer farm. It offers a program where guests voluntarily turn over their electronic devices, freeing them to focus on more self-restorative pursuits, such as reindeer sledding or snowshoeing through Lapland forests.

Why Go Now?
Unplug in the Finnish countryside

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