In our final blog article from this month’s series on the best wildlife destinations in Latin America for 2015, we will be looking at the plethora of wildlife activities in Latin America that will keep you more than entertained in these fascinating destinations. Whether exploring the Amazon wildlife in the evening or horseback riding through the verdant wetlands of Esteros del Ibera, the activities below just touch the surface of the adventures that await you. These not to be missed wildlife activities in Latin America will be sure to provide you with an unforgettable travel experience in the region’s top 2015 wildlife destinations.
♦ Piranha fishing in the Pantanal Wetlands
Fishing for piranhas is a unique activity which cannot be missed when traveling to the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil. While standing in a river in the United States for hours on end to catch the occasional fish passing by, fishing for piranha is somewhat more enticing. Armed with just a simple bamboo pole and chopped pieces of raw steak as bait part of its beauty is in its simplicity, using traditional local methods to catch a piranha. Despite the obvious perception of being man-eating fish, piranhas are much more interested in the fins of other fish than snapping away at travelers, although you should still be careful when unhooking the from your rod. There is nowhere better than the Pantanal to catch piranhas as well as try the local delicacies of fried piranha and piranha soup. The sheer variety of wildlife in the Pantanal will accompany you as you wait for your catch with capybaras, monkeys, caiman, giant otters, giant anteaters and jabiru storks all waiting to impress.
♦ Horseback riding with Gauchos in Esteros del Ibera
With the Esteros del Ibera wetlands located in Argentina’s Corrientes Province, aside from the incredible wildlife on offer, it is the birthplace of folk hero Gauchito Gil. An outlaw who robbed the rich to help the poor, Gauchito Gil is Argentina’s favorite non-Catholic saint. Explore the expansive wetlands on horseback accompanied by local gauchos who will show you the beauty of the wetland environment and share the history and importance of gauchos and Gauchito Gil. As your horse takes you through the swamps and wetlands you’ll be surrounding by awe-inspiring views of immense estuaries, forests, savannas and wild groves. Many of the best and hidden pockets of wildlife in the Ibera wetlands can only be reached by traveling on horseback, giving you a spectacular and unforgettable wildlife experience.
♦ Spotting endemic wildlife in the Galapagos Islands
Renowned for natural wonders and endemic wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a treasure chest full of incredible wildlife experience. Playing a significant role in Darwin’s development of his natural selection theory, one of the best activities in the Galapagos is exploring the endemic species that reside there. From giant Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas and flightless cormorant birds to Galapagos penguins, Galapagos fur seals and large painted locusts; there are examples of the Galapagos’ diversity just waiting to be discovered. While sailing around and visiting the different islands of the Galapagos archipelago on-board your Galapagos boat, a number of different wildlife spotting opportunities are available. From hiking up extinct volcanoes and bird watching to scuba diving with hammerhead sharks and kayaking with sea lions; spotting the endemic wildlife and natural wonders of the Galapagos is an unmissable adventure.
♦ Exploring the canopy of the Monteverde Cloud Forest
One of the best activities to do in Costa Rica’s verdant Monteverde Cloud Forest is zip-lining through the Santa Elena Reserve. With a network of platforms and cables crisscrossing through the cloud forest canopy, you’re in for an adrenaline pumping adventure as you pass through the fascinating world in the cloud forest canopy. With your feet firmly back on the ground you can have another incredible perspective of this vibrant ecosystem walking along a number of trails and hanging bridges. Gain one last perspective of the world of activity taking place among the treetops as you ride an open-air gondola through the cloud forest with a nature guide to a viewing platform. From this incredible vantage point you’ll have a limitless, birds-eye view of one of the best and most diverse wildlife destinations in the world.
♦ Twilight nature walks in the Amazon Rainforest
While exploring the wildlife of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon by day is a spectacular experience, going on a twilight walk will reveal a different side to the rainforest. With your flashlight making caiman eyes sparkle like fairy lights as they lurk in the waterways of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon as well as seeing tarantulas emerging from the trees, a twilight nature walk will reveal a another side to its beauty. Walking along the Amazon trails, your path will be lit up by the stars, moon and the occasional passing firefly and your senses will tingle to the eerie whistles and calls of the Amazon’s nocturnal wildlife. Climbing into a canoe, you will sail through the dark waterways and flooded forests as the light of your flashlight reflects off the eyes of wildlife on the river banks and unnervingly in the river around you. Accompanied by an expert wildlife guide, you will be searching for sloths, snakes and insects surrounded the rainforest’s darkness, under the star cloth of the clear Amazon night sky.
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