Must-Visit National Parks


Explore the array of wildlife, admire picturesque views and feel at one with nature at these incredible national parks dotted around the world. Whether it’s a jeep safari driving through India’s oldest national park, getting up close and personal to the famous herd of elephants in Sri Lanka’s Gal Oya National Park, or discovering The Lost City of Colombia, these wildlife sanctuaries are the perfect nature spots to check off your list:

Gal Oya National Park - Sri Lanka

Located in the heart of southeast Sri Lanka lies the rarely visited National Park, Gal Oya. Brimming with elephants, leopards and birds, this remote wilderness space is the perfect safari escape. Take a boat along Senanayake Samudraya, one of the largest man-made lakes in Sri Lanka, spot the elusive wildlife around you and enjoy a picnic by the serene lake with picturesque mountain views in the background. Gal Oya National Park was established in 1954, known for its elephant herd of 4000 and rich flora and fauna. The best time to visit this tranquil beauty is between March and July, where you can spot the herds of wildlife crossing the Senanayake Samudraya from one island to another.

Why not indulge yourself in this magnificent national park and stay at the rustic beauty of Gal Oya Lodge. These open-aired spacious bungalows place you in the heart of the 20-acre private jungle, where you can explore seemingly endless forests and jeep or boat safaris. Each room connects you to the thriving landscapes, with natural light streaming into the rooms through floor-to-ceiling glass windows and endless open spaces such as the private, panoramic veranda.

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park - Indonesia

Covering over 800square kilometres in the centre of East Java lies the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. As the largest volcanic region in the province, this is a must-visit for those who have an interest in volcanos or for those who simply want to explore this magnificently vast and beautiful area. Why not rent a jeep, hire a horse or hike around the tracks by foot to see the atmospheric flumes of smoke emanating from Mount Semeru (also known as Mahameru, “Great Mountain”), the active volcano rising over 3,500 meters above sea level.

This unworldly national park in Indonesia really is something you would expect to see on Mars or in a painting. Discover the tropical forest flora in the green valleys away from the sand and sea, and indulge yourself in complete escapism.

Top this enchanting getaway by venturing off the beaten track into the gorgeous oriental sanctuary of Plataran Borobudur Resort & Spa. Situated in Magelang Regency, Central Java, the spacious, individual villas are modern versions of the traditional Javanese buildings, complete with rain showers and private pools. Find complete relaxation here in this atmospheric setting, and totally seclude yourself from the rest of the world.

Guanacaste / Santa Rosa National Park - Costa Rica

Protecting some of the last remaining tropical dry forests in the world, Santa Rosa National Park is located northwest of Costa Rica and was the first established national park in Costa Rica in 1971. Just over a decade after, Guanacaste National Park was created to connect with Santa Rosa, with the hope that both the parks together can protect the land to secure large habitats for the wildlife such as; jaguars and mountain lions, whilst creating a biological corridor for the birds and insects to make local seasonal migrations between the dry forest and the evergreen cloud and rain forests.

Walk through these adjoining national parks and spot over 100 animal species. There are designated camping areas around the parks, where you can relax and unwind in this natural beauty. Santa Rosa and Guanacaste National Parks are the dream destination for those who love wildlife and catching the surf on the beaches.

If camping isn’t your thing, why not drive down to the coast of Guanacaste and find yourself in the adults-only boutique, Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas. Made up of 21 villas, boasting beaches, coasts and island views, become immersed in the true natural paradise of Central America. Be prepared for private plunge pools, unprecedented views, rain showers and complete private luxury. Enjoy morning yoga on the deck, and embrace the endless acres of tropical forests and serene coastal views at your stay at Casa Chameleon.

Jim Corbett National Park - India

Extending over 520 square kilometres, the Jim Corbett National Park is a magical landscape famed for its tiger reserve. Having the glory of being India’s oldest most prestigious national park, it’s located in northern India’s Uttarakhand State, formed of large hills, riverine belts, grasslands and a large lake - all with the ability to explore via open-aired jeeps. This is the perfect safari escape for those wanting to delve deeper into this Indian jungle.

Jim Corbett National Park is home to more than 600 endangered species of birds and other animals, elephants, deer and the endangered Royal Bengal tigers. This spectacular wildlife sanctuary introduced the first Project Tiger initiative to protect this particular tiger species, back in 1973, and is now a large tourist attraction for those wanting to appreciate the wildlife.

Nestled in the trees, 1600m above sea level, The Kumaon is the perfect escapist stay for those who wish to be completed surrounded by forests and mountain peak views. Only a couple of hours drive from the national park, this unique hotel offers plenty of space to soak up the intimate atmosphere around you. Situated outside the historical city of Almora, disconnect yourself from the rest of the world and find yourself in complete serenity.

From exploring the historical tiger reserves by jeep safari to staying in a sky-high minimalist sanctuary, open your eyes to picturesque surroundings and find yourself in a complete relaxation bubble.

Mikumi National Park - Tanzania

Nestled between the Uluguru and the Lumango Mountains, Mikumi is the fourth largest national park in Tanzania. It shares a common border and ecosystem with Selous Game Reserve and is only a couple of hours drive from Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has been rated as one of the most enchanting wildlife destinations in the world so there’s no wonder that Mikumi National Park has become a popular destination for tourists who don’t wish to spend an extended amount of time on a long safari trip, yet want to see the wide variety of different wildlife species.

Explore over 3000 square kilometres of this enchanting national park, and spot some of the wildlife Mikumi resident hosts; lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, endangered wild hogs and many more. There is no better time to visit, and due to its nearly all-year-round wildlife sightings, you’re almost guaranteed to spot one as soon as you step foot into the park. Immerse yourself deeper into nature, and try out the camping safari tour. Listen to the beautiful wildlife sounds at night, whether it’s a distant roar of a lion or the eerie laughter of a hyena, and find yourself as only a guest in the home of these wonderful species.

If camping isn’t your thing, why not take a quick twenty-minute flight over to Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa. Nestled amongst tropical vegetation, pamper yourself in this private spot of luxury with turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean welcoming you throughout your stay. With the aim of preserving the island’s environment, sustainable opulence is the resort’s pursuit.

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park - Colombia

This is the world’s most elevated coastal mountain formation, with two peaks of the Cristobal Colon peak and the Simon Bolivar peak being over 5,700 meters high above sea level. Declared as UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve in 1979, its beauty, cultural and historical wealth constitutes this unique area worth visiting. Home to some members of tribes such as the Kamkuamo, Kogi, Wiwa and Arhuaco, where they manage the sugar canes, coffee, cacao plants and plantains, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park is also home to a great mixture of habitats, many animals (tapirs, pumas, jaguars) and different species of birds. This rainforest is made up of perennial trees, montane forests, rivers, beaches and snowy mountains. It is considered to be one of the most unique places in the world due to its isolation, and is an absolute must-go!

Built around the year AD 700, visit The Lost City (also known as Teyuna) which is situated deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and indulge yourself in the urban centre of ancient Tayrona civilisation. Hiking up to this lost city of Colombia will be a unique and amazing experience that you will never forget.

Located just north of this national park is a tranquil retreat you cannot resist. With its eco-friendly ethos and charmingly themed cabins, feel at one with nature at Hotel Playa Koralia. Made up of 17 bungalows scattered across the grounds, the absence of new technology will let you truly breathe in the fresh air of nature’s surroundings. Koralia treats its guests to a display of great varieties of birds, colourful reptiles, monkeys and yellow butterflies.

After a long day of discovering The Lost City, lounge in a hammock at Hotel Playa Koralia, let the ocean breeze ripple over you and feel wholly rejuvenated.

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park - Italy

Where mountains join sea and nature joins history, The National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano is an absolute must-go at least once in a lifetime. Situated in Southern Italy, the UNESCO park was founded in the early 1990s in order to protect it from mass tourism and building speculations, and is now the second-largest national park in Italy. Made up of olive-tree-covered rolling hills, mountains with vast woods of chestnuts and evergreens, river valleys falling down to the Tyrrhenian Sea and dazzling untouched beaches, spot nearly 2000 different plant species and many animal species.

Located on the shore of the Almafi Coast, the former home of Prince Belmonte lies just south from the national park, and is the perfect royal stay with picturesque coastal views. Palazzo Belmonte is the perfect combination of traditional style and modern comfort—a luxuriously memorable place to stay. Enjoy the fresh local produce on the terrace whilst absorbing in the lush landscapes that surround you.

recommended HIP Hotels

Explore Palazzo Belmonte Amalfi Coast
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Explore Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas Guanacaste
Explore Hotel Playa Koralia Buritaca
Explore The Kumaon Almora