Woman in red sari at the Taj Mahal (Shutterstock)
List Words : Wanderlust Team | 24 December 2018

Our top 10 Tripfinder destinations and how to explore them

From tiger-watching in India and wildlife adventures in South Africa, to meeting tribes in Papua New Guinea – these are the top destinations you searched for on Wanderlust's Tripfinder in 2018

1: Search for tigers in India

Portrait of a tiger (Dreamstime)

Portrait of a tiger (Dreamstime)

Go in search of India’s tigers and leopards in style. Staying in two of India’s finest safari lodges, Banjaar Tola and Mahua Kothi, you’ll venture into Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks with expert guides in search of these magnificent big cats.

Other creatures abound here, too. Kanha National Park is home to sloth bears, spotted deer, chital, wild pig, black buck and the endangered ant-eating pangolin. There’s an incredible array of birds too, with over 200 species recorded. Tick them off and compare notes in your elegant tented suite or while sipping G&Ts beside the beautifully situated outdoor pool.

Trip: Tigers of Madhya Pradesh

Who: Wexas Travel

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 10 days

How much: From £3,995 (inc. flights)

2: Experience a longhouse adventure in Borneo

Longhouse in Borneo (Dreamstime)

Longhouse in Borneo (Dreamstime)

Experience traditional life in Borneo on this longhouse homestay with the famous Iban tribe, organised by The Great Projects.

Once fearsome headhunters, the Iban have adopted a peaceful agrarian lifestyle, existing in harmony with the jungle that surrounds them and the amazing wildlife that lives here too. You will be welcomed into the local longhouse, the traditional dwelling of the Iban, then trek along jungle trails with a local as your guide, and take a boat trip to Enseluai Waterfall to learn the Iban skill of net fishing.

This is a unique opportunity to experience a way of life that is disappearing fast, and gain an understanding of a culture that complements the environment rather than destroying it.

Trip: The Great Iban Longhouse Experience

Who: The Great Projects

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 3 days

How much: From £595 (exc. flights)

3: Hike the Orkney Islands in Scotland

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney (Dreamstime)

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney (Dreamstime)

Roam the margins between sea and land, along deserted cliffs and past megalithic monuments, on this guided walking holiday through the Orkney Islands with Ramblers Walking Holidays.

Based in the village of Stromness, you’ll enjoy countless walking opportunities, led by both a naturalist and a historian. You’ll walk to the Kitchener Memorial, Wideford Hill burial chamber and the Ring of Brodgar, as well as the Old Man of Hoy.

Birdwatchers will know that Orkney has more RSPB reserves than anywhere else in Britain, so there are plenty of opportunities to observe puffin, gannet, guillemot, razorbills and tysties (black guillemot) on the cliffs, waders on the mudflats, eider ducks and other divers in the wetlands and Great Arctic skua, short-eared owl and hen harrier on the moorlands.

Trip: Orkney Islands

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

When: Departures Apr - May & Aug - Sep

How long: 7 days

How much: From £1,135 (exc. flights)

4: Take the high path to Kala Pattar in Nepal

Mount Everest viewed from Kala Pattar (Dreamstime)

Mount Everest viewed from Kala Pattar (Dreamstime)

Trek to Everest Base Camp and ascend Kala Pattar in true expedition style on this carefully devised trek with World Expeditions.

Accompanied by experienced guides and porters, you’ll trek through the famous villages of Namche and Khumjung, as well as Tengboche monastery, immersing yourself in Sherpa culture. All nights are spent in exclusive eco-friendly campsites and lodges, and plenty of time is allowed for safe acclimatisation – the key to any successful trek in the Everest region. 

After reaching Everest Base Camp, you’ll ascend Kala Pattar (5,545m) from where your guides will point out the classic climbing routes to the summit of Everest.

Trip: Everest Base Camp & Kala Pattar

Who: World Expeditions

When: Departures Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct & Nov

How long: 17 days

How much: From £1,740 (exc. flights)

5: Take a walk on South Africa’s wild side

Encountering a giraffe on a walking safari (Dreamstime)

Encountering a giraffe on a walking safari (Dreamstime)

Get up-close and personal with South Africa’s extraordinary wildlife on this walking safari through Greater Kruger and Hlane Royal National Park with KE Adventure Travel.

Your tour starts in Kruger National Park with a walking safari in search of the park’s famous Big Five, complemented by a series of game drives. The next stop is Swaziland and another walking safari in Hlane Game reserve, famous for its rhinos and abundant birdlife. After walking and snorkelling in St Lucia and the UNESCO-listed iSimangaliso Wetlands, you’ll head to the breathtaking Drakensberg Mountains where you’ll spend three days exploring vast peaks and dramatic waterfalls. It’s the perfect adventure for active wildlife lovers.

Trip: South Africa Walking Safari

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures May-Nov

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,616 (exc. flights)

6: Trek through hidden Costa Rica

Rio Celeste waterfall (Dreamstime)

Rio Celeste waterfall (Dreamstime)

Combine high-adrenaline activities with real local insight on this epic trek into the green heart of Costa Rica. There are plenty of opportunities to surf, raft and rappel, as well as experience intimate homestays where locals will share their knowledge of the jungle and all that it provides.

Along the way, you’ll trek through rainforest to a remote jungle homestay; spot wildlife and rare medicinal plants; and bunk down behind a massive waterfall in a hidden cave.

You’ll make sugar cane candy, visit local schools, and swim in the river that flows past your homestay. Upon reaching Uvita, you’ll have the option to surf, snorkel and ride horses. Alternatively, you can simply tuck into a delicious feast of seafood, freshly plucked from the ocean.

Trip: Trek Hidden Costa Rica

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,079 (exc. flights)

7: Meet the tribe in Papua New Guinea

Mask festival in Kokopo (Dreamstime)

Mask festival in Kokopo (Dreamstime)

Get ready for a heady mix of tribal encounters, jungle exploration, and pristine sandy beaches on this small group adventure to Papua New Guinea with Regent Holidays. 

You’ll begin your journey in the Eastern Highlands, immersing yourself in traditional life with colourful 'sing-sings' and a fascinating Asaro Mudmen performance in the Goroka district. You’ll witness an early morning Kinavai ceremony in Tolai and a Baining fire dance at the foot of Mt Tavurvur before finishing in East New Britain Province, where you’ll attend the enthralling Wagwagira Mask Festival. 

Trip: Cultures and Customs of Papua New Guinea

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Departures Jun-Jul

How long: 18 days

How much: From £6,380 (inc. flights)

8: Eat, drink and trek Italy’s Cinque Terre

Manarola village at sunset (Dreamstime)

Manarola village at sunset (Dreamstime)

With its colourful fishing villages, steep cultivated hillsides and fresh fish caught in the blue waters that surround it, Cinque Terre is the perfect, bite-sized destination. This is your opportunity to walk this magical part of Italy by day and tuck into traditional feasts, washed down with a glass or two of the local wine, at night.

This trip visits not only the world-renowned Cinque Terre region but also the Portofino Peninsula. You'll hike the area's most scenic trails, all under expert local guidance, and visit medieval gems such as the castle and churches of Levanto and the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. 

Finally, there's a tour of an organic winery, perched above the sea, where you will taste local wines and scoff traditional Ligurian specialties. 

Trip: The Cinque Terre Explored

Who: Peregrine

When: Departures May, Jun, Sep & Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £2,380 (inc. flights)

9: A tasty foodie adventure in New Zealand

Dining in New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Dining in New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Food probably isn't the first thing you think of when picturing New Zealand, but Wexas Travel are out to change that with their New Zealand – A Culinary Journey tour. Travelling from north to south, this 22-day self-drive adventure takes you to the country's best food and drink hotspots: from outstanding restaurants to farmers' markets and wineries. You'll also have plenty of time to enjoy New Zealand's natural beauty, and the opportunity to get active with hiking, biking, or rafting (which might help burn some excess calories from all of that food and drink...)

Trip: New Zealand – A Culinary Journey

Who: Wexas Travel

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 25 days

How much: From £6,445 (inc. flights)

10: Island hop through the Greece’s charming Cyclades

Greek windmills on Mykonos (Dreamstime)

Greek windmills on Mykonos (Dreamstime)

Spend seven glorious days of sun and sea as you make your way through the westernmost islands of the Cyclades with Sunvil.

The undoubted highlight of your adventure will be Milos and Folegandros, two lesser-known islands of the Cyclade group, but blessed with sandy coves, whitewashed houses and volcanic calderas. They boast ageless chapels and historical sites too, but it will be the warm, friendly and authentic Greek hospitality that you experience that you will remember longest. 

Trip: Island Hopping Holiday in the Cyclades

Who: Sunvil

When: Flexible departure dates Aug-Oct

How long: 7 nights

How much: From £839 (including flights from the UK)

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