Best wildlife experiences in South America
If you’re an animal lover or wildlife enthusiast, South America offers many unique possibilities. Here is a list of the best wildlife encounters you can have on the continent.
Explore the Galapagos
These islands are unmissable for any animal or nature lover due to the sheer amount of wildlife and their unafraid attitude towards humans which allows you to get closer than ever to them. More than 240 different kinds of fauna reside in the archipelago and 14 of these are endemic species, found nowhere else in the world. The most famous of these include reptiles such as iguanas and the giant Galapagos tortoises, mammals like the sea lion and birds such as the blue footed boobies.
Nurse a manatee on the Amazon
Regarded as the cows of the sea, Manatees are hairless mammals with flippers used for diving and whiskers surrounding their molar filled mouths that inhabit the freshwater regions of the Amazon basin, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and even in some parts of Brazil. Weighing up to 300 kilograms, the manatee population appears to be in decline and as part of a luxury cruise experience aboard the Aqua or Amazon river expeditions you will visit the Manatee research station and maybe even interact with them.
If you love to put on the binoculars then South America has a range of aviary experiences for you. You can cross native and unique species off your list as part of an Amazon jungle experience or even visit a macaw or parrot salt lick, or observe albatrosses, frigates and finch among others in the Galapagos Islands.
Animal activity in the Patagonian wilderness
Whilst Patagonia is world regarded for its scenery and desolate landscapes, you may be lucky enough to spots some wildlife in the area’s often harsh climates. A species of Magellanic penguin can be found in this area, at rookeries like those on Magdalena Island in Chile(just off Punta Arenas) or Punta Tombo in Argentina. (near Trelew) or as you cruise through the fjords and channels. Southern right whales may also be spotted during June to Mid December.
Go Piranha Fishing
What? Like Piranhas those flesh eating little creatures you’ll find in the Amazon River. Yes, if you’re game enough, you will be able to attempt to catch these in a careful, controlled excursion supervised by naturalist guides as part of your amazon expereince.
See some pink in the water
Dolphin lovers, there is a different kind of this mammal species that thrives in the waters of the Amazon. The pink dolphin is unique to the waters of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela and is as its name implies, light pink/grey in colour. Considered a vulnerable species, these mammals can be seen as part of Amazon explorations that travel deep into the great river’s tributaries particularly out of Iquitos.
Attempt to spot the elusive Jaguar
The great cat, lives in the dense forests ranging from south west USA down to the tip of Argentina in South America, but is ever difficult to find due to its solitary predatory nature. Whilst some jaguar spotting expeditions exist in the Brazilian Pantanal region, as with any wildlife there is no guarantee of viewing them and being on the hunt, tracking their movements is part of the enjoyment of any exploration. The best time to try and spot them is between June to October.
What wildlife or animals would you travel to South America to see?