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Best Comeback Country: Sri Lanka

The first decade of the new millennium was rough on Sri Lanka, with a devastating cyclone,
the tsunami, and a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. Today, this largely Buddhist island in the northern Indian Ocean, with 8,000-foot peaks and 830 miles of coastline, has bounced back big time—foreign travel grew 19 percent in 2014. There’s no shortage of fun to be had at these base camps: Book a deluxe safari-style tent at Aliya Resort and Spa in the center of the country and hike to sacred rock Sigiriya (from $221). Cape Weligama, a brand-new clifftop hotel on 12 lush acres, 30 minutes east of the port city of Galle, hovers 100 feet over the Indian Ocean, with mountain biking, diving, and paddleboarding nearby (from $767). On the east coast, the village of Arugam Bay, sandwiched between miles of beaches and an inland tropical jungle, has consistent right breaks. Rent a beach cabana at the Stardust Beach Hotel (from $38). Twenty miles south is Yala National Park, with herds of elephants and solitary leopards.
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