Sri Lanka is a tropical island of abundance and it is immediately clear why it is classified as one of the world’s 25 Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International, especially as you travel into the interior where misty green hills, lush jungles and sparkling waterfalls immerse you in a world like no other. As with many isolated islands, Sri Lanka has a high rate of endemism. Almost all of its amphibians are unique to island; the ubiquitous elephants and elusive leopards represent endemic subspecies. The azure waters of the surrounding Indian Ocean’s Laccadive Sea offer some of the world’s best whale-watching opportunities. 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites showcase some of the earliest Buddhist kingdoms, while bountiful tea plantations cover about a half million acres of land. Infrastructure is also on the rise, nearly as quickly and the tourists’ passion for exploring this remarkable “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.