South America is a wonderful continent to visit for wildlife lovers as its vast variety of habitats has led to a good array of animal and bird species. In fact, there are more bird species here than any other continent and there is a new bird species discovered on average every three days in the Amazon. The most famous wildlife areas in the continent are the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands but there is plenty more to discover.
The Galapagos Islands located off the coast of Ecuador, are well known for their vast number of endemic species as well as contributing to Darwin’s theory of evolution. You can cruise around different islands staying on a boat or choose to stay ashore and enjoy land based exploration. Species you are likely to discover include giant tortoises, marine and land iguanas and blue-footed boobies.
The Pantanal, mostly located in Brazil, is one of the world’s largest tropical wetland areas and contains some of South America’s best wildlife spotting opportunities including capybara, caiman, howler monkeys and piranhas.
The Amazon rainforest covers half of the land mass of South America and can be visited in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. It is possible to see monkeys, macaws, toucans and even pink river dolphins.
Guyana is a nature lover’s paradise, with wildlife including giant river otters, anteaters and over 800 bird species. It also offers one of best chances of seeing jaguar in the wild.
From the Valdes peninsula in Argentina it is possible to see baleen whales off the coast as well as visit the largest Magellanic penguin colony in South America at Punta Tombo.
The Falkland Islands off the coast of South America offers great wildlife spotting opportunities, especially for penguin lovers. You can see five different species of penguin, the largest accessible king penguin colony in the world and 70% of the world’s rockhopper penguin population. There are also sea lions, elephant seals, orcas as well as plenty of birdlife to be enjoyed.