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The 20 Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the World

UNESCO World Heritage sites in Africa - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (Uganda)

As of January 2023 there were a total of 1,157 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, including 218 that were recognized specifically for their Natural Heritage.

Trying to narrow that overwhelming array of options down to a list of the 20 Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites would be impossible, not to mention highly subjective.

But here’s a look at 20 of our favorite protected UNESCO Sites for nature and wildlife lovers, including national parks and reserves in the USA and Canada, Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and beyond. 

In our experience all of them offer extraordinary travel experiences, so they’re listed alphabetically rather than in any of sort ranked order of excellence. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the USA (For Nature/History Lovers)

Top UNESCO World Heritage Sites List

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (Uganda)
  2. Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
  3. Central Amazon Conservation Complex (Brazil)
  4. Darién National Park (Panama)
  5. Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
  6. Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  7. Iguazú National Park (Argentina)
  8. Kenya Lake System In The Great Rift Valley (Kenya)
  9. Kluane/ Wrangell-St Elias/ Glacier Bay/ Tatshenshini-Alsek (Canada/Usa)
  10. La Amistad International Park (Costa Rica/Panama)
  11. Manú National Park (Peru)
  12. Mosi-Oa-Tunya/ Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
  13. Nanda Devi & Valley Of Flowers National Parks (India)
  14. Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania)
  15. Okavango Delta (Botswana)
  16. Pantanal (Brazil)
  17. Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries (China)
  18. Sundarbans National Park (India/Bangladesh)
  19. Valdés Peninsula (Argentina)
  20. Yellowstone National Park (USA)

READ MORE: 12 Odd Intangible Cultural Heritage Practices UNESCO Protects

Young Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (Uganda)

1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (Uganda)

Located in southwestern Uganda, 199-square mile Bwindi is part of Africa’s richest and oldest forest, dating back 25,000 years.

Established in 1991 to protect Mountain Gorillas, the park currently boasts around 350 of them.

It’s also home to over 200 species of trees, 120 mammal species, and 350+ bird species, making it one of Africa’s finest birding destinations.

READ MORE: 50 Interesting Facts About Gorillas

Canada UNESCO world heritage sites -BANFF NATIONAL PARK
Banff National Park, photo via Canva

2. Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)

When it comes to stunning scenery, it’s hard to beat the Canadian Rockies.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes four National Parks (Banff, Jasper,…

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