Wildlife of Latin America
Five 'must-see' wildlife experiences

Snorkel with seals and turtles in the Galapagos Islands

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as you discover the beguiling marine life of these unique islands. Tread carefully along craggy outlets dotted with black iguanas and bright red Sally crabs, swim with seals off untouched white-sand beaches, snorkel with sea turtles and spot all manner of rainbow-coloured fish.

Be a jungle adventurer in the Peruvian Amazon

Head to Puerto Maldonado for easy access to the Peruvian Amazon and be sure of some exciting wildlife finds in the primary rainforest – expect to see capybara – the world’s largest rodent, sloths, capuchin and spider monkeys, caiman and the striking spiky-maned tapir as well as a whole host of insects and mini-beasts. The area is a paradise for bird-watchers with clay licks attracting hundreds of birds, including macaws, who come to feed on mineral rich Amazonian clay. Look out for the pre-historic hoatzin bird, which hops around the edges of the numerous lakes.

Spot a poison-dart frog in Costa Rica

The lush jungles of Costa Rica are home to playful monkeys, languid sloths, crocodiles and caimans, countless lizards, frogs and a huge array of exotic birds, insects and butterflies. In the summer months, endangered sea turtles nest around Tortuguero – a mesmerising sight to behold. Moody cloud forests protect elusive birds and jungle cats. Our favourite area is the Osa Peninsula, an untouched paradise for nature-lovers and best visited between December and April.

Visit the wetland wonderland that is Brazil’s Pantenal

The Pantanal, is the largest wetland on the planet – a mosaic of rivers, lakes, ponds and swamps roughly the size of England and Wales combined. It is undoubtedly the aquatic heart of South America and is a true watery wonderland which brims with all manner of wildlife including over 80 species of large mammals. The most famous of these is South America’s top predator, the jaguar, and this is probably the best place in the world for close encounters. Go during the dry season, from late April to early November.

Head south for an Argentine animal encounter in Peninsula Valdes

You don’t have to be a nature enthusiast to enjoy Peninsula Valdes, but it is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best places on the planet for whale-watching. Explore a rugged, beautiful peninsula packed with penguins, elephant seals, leaping dolphin and humpback whales. Southern Right Whales are the main attraction but in addition the orcas of the peninsula are world famous for the hunting technique they use to catch sea lion and seal pups. The whales arrive here around mid-May and remain until early December. August – September are good months to visit.

About the author

Our former South East Asia and Australasia Travel Specialist

Sara Gutierrez - Former Staff Member

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