5 Best Places to See Wildlife in South America

Sea Lion in the Galapagos islands | Ken Harris
Sea Lion in the Galapagos islands | Ken Harris

If you've always wanted to experience some of the world's greatest wildlife encounters, then South America is sure to impress. Imagine watching sea lions fan themselves in the sun, a giant tortoise emerging from crystal blue waters, or monkeys swinging from tree to tree.

Being the richest ecological region on our planet, it's by far, one of the best places to see wildlife in the world. At its heart lies the Amazon, home to one of the world's greatest rivers and the world's largest tropical rainforest. So combining an active holiday with wildlife viewing is the perfect recipe for a pretty magical experience. We've compiled the best five places to observe wildlife in its natural habitat to help make choosing where to go a little easier.

1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Few places in the world can rival the Galapagos Islands as a wildlife destination. Situated in the Pacific Ocean, 1,000km from the South American continent, the Galapagos has over 875 species of plants and 289 types of fish. This isolated group of volcanic islands, with its very fragile ecosystem, is home to creatures that can be found nowhere else in the world and is a wildlife lovers dream.

How to see it:

Cruise to the islands accompanied by a naturalist guide, where you can to explore the volcanic and wildlife rich islands. You will have the opportunity to snorkel and swim with wildlife as well as get up close to giant tortoises, fur seals, sea lions, land and sea iguanas and many species of birds. You can take an 8-day cruising adventure or longer expedition that encompasses the highlights of Peru’s rich cultural past with the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. After visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu, kick back and relax on a Galapagos cruise and see a plethora of birdlife, the Giant Galapagos tortoise, sea lions, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins. Find out more >

 

 

2. Peruvian Amazon

Peru really has it all - with its rugged natural beauty, ancient ruins and architecture, rich history and vibrant culture, Peru is an unforgettable destination. The Peruvian Amazon makes up 60% of Peru and is the second largest portion of the Amazon after the Brazilian Amazon. You can cruise, raft and canoe your way through the lush jungles and twisting tributaries of the vast Amazon River basin whilst getting up close and personal to Peru's wildlife.

How to see it:

Head on an all-encompassing trip that takes you to all the best areas – explore the splendour of Cusco with rich cultural heritage, walk to the Sacred Valley to view ancient Inca salt plains, and enjoy a fully supported Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu with dramatic mountain views. Finish your trip in the depths of the Amazon Jungle at Tambopata Reserve, which is home to the world’s greatest concentration of bird and butterflies. Alternatively, add-on a wildlife safari and walking extension to your South America itinerary for an off-the-beaten path Amazon jungle experience where you will spend 3 nights in a jungle lodge. Enjoy rainforest walks looking for monkeys and capybara and spot an array of birdlife including horned screamers, raptors, plovers, terns, macaws, parrots, kingfishers and toucans. Find out more >

 

 

3. Patagonia

The glacier-dotted mountainous interior of Patagonia is part of the great chain of Andean peaks - offering some of the most incredible wilderness trekking on the planet. Patagonia boasts magnificent wildlife including flamingos, sea birds, guanacos, elephant seals and right whales.

How to see it:

Take a unique journey through the National Parks of Patagonia will trekking through some of the most dramatic regions of the world away from the main trails. cross the wildlife rich Valdes Peninsula, the Lakes District of Argentina, the impressive parks of Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares and cruise down the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia. What an adventure!

The opening of a new route linking Chile and Argentina also offers a spectacular traverse of untouched Patagonian National Parks, from the Southern Icecap to the towers of the Paine. Our captivating 9-day trek will give you opportunities to see Patagonian wildlife alongside breathtaking landscapes. Find out more >

 

 

4. The Pantanal, Brazil

The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland area and sprawls an area between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometres. The open marshes of the Pantanal make it a wonderful place for spotting wildlife - even giving the Amazon a run for its money! The marshes are home to an immense variety of wildlife and there is estimated to be around 1000 bird species, 300 mammals and 900 invertebrates.

How to see it:

Discover the extraordinary wildlife in the Pantanal on foot, 4WD, boat or canoe. Pantanal is home to spectacular wildlife including jaguars, pumas, ocelots and tapirs. Find out more >

 

 

5. Costa Rica

Technically part of Central America, Costa Rica is such a hot spot for wildlife that we just had to include it on our list! At its smallest point, only 120 kilometres separate the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean, but it is literally bursting with natural wonders and wild animals. Within its borders are more than a dozen volcanoes, dry savannas, tropical dry and lush rain forests, cool cloud forests, several mountain ranges, countless streams and rivers and over 1,200 kilometres (755 miles) of coastline stretched along two oceans. The nation’s twelve distinct ecological zones are home to a vast array of flora and fauna which includes 4% of all known species on Earth. This includes 850 species of birds, 600 species of butterflies, 1,200 species of orchids and 237 species of mammals, (including three-toed sloths, giant anteaters, coatimundis, peccaries and four species of monkeys).

How to see it:

Cross Costa Rica’s exquisite tropical rainforest by foot, bike, kayak and raft and soak up the rich biodiversity. See exotic wildlife and come across remote indigenous communities on this action-packed adventure. You can also take the whole family along for an active adventure. Experience a suspension bridge treetop walk in Monterverde cloud forest – a place with over 400 species of birds, 2500 species of plants, 120 species of amphibians and 100 species of mammals. This will be a adventure for the family you’ll never forget! Find out more >

 

 

What are some memorable wildlife encounters you've experienced? Let us know in the comments below.

animals, brazil, Costa Rica, galapagos island, Pantanal, Patagonia, Peru, Safari, South America, Wildlife

Comment (1)

alex

so cool

last year
Your comment will be visible after the administrator's approval.







b i u quote


Save Comment
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/SHX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Sherpa Expeditions</div>
Sherpa Expeditions is a specialist in self guided and guided walking and cycling holidays in the United Kingdom and Europe. Detailed route notes provide a definite guide to places in Europe for active walkers and cyclists.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Youth Adventures</div>
World Youth Adventures is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon'> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.