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Wildlife holidays in South America with Naturetrek
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South America

For the natural history enthusiast, a trip to see South America’s extraordinary diversity of wildlife is a must!

Wildlife holidays in South America

South America is a beguiling place. With climatic, altitudinal and geographical extremes as wide as any and more bird species than any other continent, names such as ‘Amazon’ and ‘Galapagos’ have an endless fascination. To witness the staggering variety of life there is a goal that must be satisfied for anyone interested in natural history.

Our South America specialist recommends...

"Our outstanding 2-week cruise of the Galapagos aboard a splendid schooner is, in my opinion, second to none! In Peru I’d recommend ‘Macaws & Machu Picchu’ visiting the world’s largest clay lick with an optional trek to Machu Picchu. If you’re on a budget try our ‘Ecuador – Cock-of-the-rock’ tour or ‘Venezuela – Llanos’."


Andy Tucker
Naturetrek Tour Manager

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Featured Tours


Mountain snow (John Caddick)Band-tailed Sierra-finch (John Caddick)Moutain valley (John Caddick)Snow-capped Andean peaks (John Caddick)Jaguar (Stephen Woodham)Giant River Otter (Stephen Woodham)Giant River Otter (Stephen Woodham)Giant River Otters (Stephen Woodham)Andean Cock-of-the Rock (Byron Palacios)Antisana Volcano (Ann Chase)Cordillera de los Guacamayos (Byron Palacios)Yellow Grosbeak (Byron Palacios)Harpy Eagle (Wendy Hoosen)Capped Heron (Wendy Hoosen)Greater Yellow-headed Vulture (Wendy Hoosen)Yellow-crowned Amazon (Wendy Hoosen)

Naturetrek tours to South America

What can I see?

From the great tropical rainforests of the north to the dramatic landscapes of Patagonia, Naturetrek’s South America holidays go in search of the continent’s dazzling array of birds, mammals and other wildlife. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Amazon rainforests of Ecuador & Peru
  • 2-week cruise of the Galapagos
  • The Andes - the longest mountain chain on Earth
  • Patagonian coastlines of Chile & Argentina
  • Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Brazilian Pantanal – a swamp the size of England
  • Searching for the elusive Jaguar in Brazil
  • Guyana – an unspoiled wildlife ‘paradise’

I want to see birds …

Then you can’t beat South America! Among the bird watching highlights are:

  • Andean Cock-of-the-rock
  • Andean Condor
  • Fantastic variety of hummingbirds & tanagers

I want to see flowers …

You won’t fail to see plenty of spectacular plant life in South America. Ecuador has the highest number of orchids of any country, with over 3,700 species and our ‘Andean Flora’ tour explores Ecuador’s plant life from temperate and montane to rainforest and cloudforest habitats.

Anything on a budget?

Yes, plenty – we’ve a wide choice of budget tours including a choice of seven bargain bird tours to Ecuador alone!


Firstly, I want to say how brilliant Rafael is. His knowledge of mammals, birds, reptiles and plants is excellent, as is his knowledge of the areas we went to. He seems to have great relationships with the owners, managers and staff at the various places, too, which I'm sure gives his guests an advantage. He was also very diplomatic with the group, and I noticed how he made sure he spent time chatting with everyone. Lourival and his family were amazing. Nothing was too much trouble. The food (especially the puddings!) and accommodation were good, but seeing the wolves, macaws, marmosets and so many birds was fantastic. The two camps were lovely to stay in, and the scenery at the 'Cliff' camp was stunning. I loved it there. I'm so glad I upgraded to a suite - it was HUGE and very comfortable. We saw Jaguars! We saw them lurking in the undergrowth, and we saw them strolling along the river bank, seemingly oblivious to the boats following them, and to the onlooking photographers. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. And the Giant Otters, playing and fishing, were fascinating. And the hundreds of capybara - the babies are so cute! And all the birds. Our boat-driver, Alan, was superb. Very good at manoeuvring to give us all the best views, and an excellent Jaguar-spotter.
The trip leader Jose Antonio Padilla Reyes was excellent; enthusiastic, wide knowledge of fauna and flora, especially birds... If he thought a bird he had only caught a glimpse of was still around, he would call it back by playing its own song so we could all have a chance of seeing it, with anything when he did not know the answer, he always took the trouble to find out, nothing was ever too much trouble, sense of humour, pleasant personality, good english, quickly got to know everyone and assessed our knowledge and capabilities. The itinerary, the choice of locations and our target and having Jose with us for the whole trip made it an exceptionally good holiday.
We had wonderful sightings of all the 'Big Five' (though Brazilian Tapir were particularly hard to get) and several of the 'Little Five' (Lesser Anteater, Ocelot, Tree Porcupine, Armadillo) and lots of birds too. Our guide, Jose, could not be faulted - he really was terrific and had a great sense of humour, as well as first-class knowledge of the birds and animals we encountered. It really was a great holiday and one to be long remembered. The staff at the Wolf Camps were particularly helpful and Antonia's cooking was great!