From the giant tortoises of the Galápagos to the penguins of Patagonia, from thriving Amazonian ecosystems to the black caiman in Guyana – wildlife is at the heart of so many of Latin America’s great holiday experiences. Below are a few of our favourites:
1. Peru birdlife: Machu Picchu to pristine Amazon
Peru is home to over 1,800 species of birds, 500 species of mammals and over 300 species of reptiles. Discover its incredible bird- and wildlife on a journey that takes you from the Andes to the Amazon. Explore Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu before travelling to the Manú Biosphere Reserve in Amazonia. Visit the cloud forest to see the vivid national bird of Peru, the coq-of-the-rock, and take part in the conservation and research projects in the area before returning to Cusco.
2. Family Brazil: Wildlife adventures for pioneers
An adventurous trip for the whole family, our Wildlife adventures for pioneers holiday shows you the incredible Iguazú Falls from all sides, from a panoramic viewing platform, from up close during a boat safari and the sub-tropical forest around the waterfalls during an open truck safari. Visit a quirky bird park, and see a wide variety of birds, mammals and reptiles in the Pantanal. Fly to Rio de Janeiro for plenty of city adventures and relax or get into water sports activities on the Emerald Coast.
3. Walking in Ecuador and Galapagos
This holiday provides a unique perspective into the deeply traditional rural lifestyle of the indigenous Andean communities in Ecuador while at the same time you appreciate glorious mountain scenery and trusting wildlife. Visit Andean craft villages, trek from Zuleta to Cotopaxi and climb Pasochoa peak at 4,200m and Cotopaxi Volcano at 5,100m. Fly to the Galápagos Islands and explore the archipelago with walks, water-based activities and short trips by motor launch. Birds, fish, mammals and reptiles, all sorts of wildlife are everywhere to be seen, both from afar and way up close.
4. Guyana wildlife: South America’s wild frontier
Guyana is rapidly becoming one of the most important ecotourism havens in Latin America, and it’s not difficult to see why. Wilderness waterfalls, vast tropical rainforests and horizon-bending grasslands, the country is unrivalled for its spectacular natural attractions and diversity to wildlife. Take a day trip to the famous Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls, explore the rainforest around Atta and spot wildlife in the savannah. There are opportunities to see jabiru storks, wild river otters, black caiman, and many more wild animals. Finally, fly back to Georgetown for a guided tour before catching your international flight home.
5. Antarctica: Journey to the Antarctic Circle
This Antarctic holiday starts in Chile’s finest National Park, Torres del Paine, before you fly out to Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands. The adventure to Antarctica starts there with a two-day trip on the South Atlantic towards King George Island. A photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques and on-board experts inform and entertain you with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history of the locations you visit. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands before returning to Punta Arenas and finally Santiago.
6. Cruise the sea of Cortez
On this 11-day cruise you’ll explore the Sea of Cortez with all its wildlife and secret uninhabited islands. Swim and snorkel with sea-lions, see blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans and the magnificent frigate birds. Relax on the beaches of Isla Partida and Isla San Esteban and discover the marine life of Loreto Bay National Park, including manta rays and several large pods of bottlenose, spinner and long-beaked common dolphins, as well as short-finned pilot whales. If that’s not enough, the holiday also features an optional ride on the Copper Canyon railway, a visit to Cabo San Lucas and the opportunity to snorkel over a reef home to an array of colourful marine life.
7. Argentina wildlife: Tropical wetlands and Patagonia
This holiday shows the best of Argentina’s wildlife and the huge variety in flora and fauna the country’s known for. From cosmopolitan Buenos Aires move on to a lodge in the serene Iberá wetlands, where during boat excursions on the lagoons, you may spot giant storks, capybara and anteaters. See the famous Iguazú Falls and spot birds including toucans and parakeets, and mammals such as coati, opossums and deer. It’s a dramatic change of scenery once you arrive in Patagonia. Here you can see penguins congregate in their thousands to breed, and whales can be spotted sprouting and frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean.
8. Chile and the Falklands wildlife holiday: Penguins and albatrosses
The Falkland Islands are usually visited only for a day or two as part of a cruise. Our holiday includes a whole week of discovering the highlights of the archipelago. The islands have an unpolluted environment with vast open spaces and white sand beaches. A huge variety of wildlife has adopted the Falkland Islands as their home: the bird and animal population outnumber the human inhabitants by 10-1. At least five species of penguin are found here, and elephant seals, sea-lions and seals, an abundance of birds and killer whales can be spotted here as well.
9. Wildlife Brazil: Jaguars of the Pantanal
Explore the famous Iguazú Falls, the Pantanal and Rio de Janeiro during this wildlife holiday. Meet the coatis and a variety of monkeys, species of butterfly and birds on both the Argentine as well as the Brazilian side of the falls. Stay at an eco-lodge deep in the Pantanal and explore the area where you can find capybara, caiman, storks, giant anteaters and howler monkeys. There are also healthy populations of the Pantanal’s signature wildlife: hyacinth macaw and jaguar. Finish your trip in Rio de Janeiro, one of the world’s most iconic cities.
10. From Paddington to Peru
Inspired by Michael Bond’s classics and the 2014 and 2017’ films, this holiday offers the chance to see real-live Peruvian spectacled bears in their own natural environment. This trip also explores magnificent Inca ruins with a backdrop of snow-spangled Andean peaks in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and at Machu Picchu, where the Urumbamba River crashes towards the Amazon basin. Explore the street life and markets of Lima, stay in a conservation area in the Cloud Forest and find out how Peruvian chocolate is made in Cusco before returning home.
11. Off the beaten track Costa Rica: National parks and private reserves
For decades Costa Rica has been a leading light in conservation, and as a result over a quarter of its territory is given over to well managed national parks and private nature reserves. For this holiday we've selected a few of our favourite parks and reserves which, although situated in stunning locations, don't have the infrastructure to receive hoards of visitors. Stay in delightful rustic eco-lodges, which offer the opportunity to understand how real life is lived in these bucolic areas. During your stay you can go on a river safari and spot tropical birds, igauanas and crocodiles on Rio Tarcoles, take a coffee tour in the Baru area, and observe abundant wildlife on the border of Ballena Marine National Park.