Wildlife abounds in the southernmost part of the Americas. While not home to many big animals such as Africa, South America has its own share of unique animals in the wild that are not found anywhere else in the world. Much of South America’s wildlife can be spotted while traveling independently, whether in the wild or in national parks. Even the Galapagos Islands nowadays have low-budget offers (relatively speaking, meaning you now no longer depend on a cruise).
Traveling down the Atlantic Coast with a campervan in Argentina is the ultimate way to see Atlantic Ocean marine animals. Hiring a car in Campo Grande or Corumbá and setting out for a trip to the Pantanal, staying in guesthouses along the way, is another. On the other hand, spotting wildlife in the Amazon is not always so easy due to the thick foliage. In the rainforest, signing up for a guided tour with a travel agency or the lodge you’re staying in often is your best bet to catch sight of wildlife.
The following list is by no means all-inclusive. The jaguar in the Pantanal, the Condor in Peru, the Harpy Eagle and countless owls are among the many animals that are reasons in themselves to travel to South America.
Here are five characteristic regions in which you’ll find specific types of wildlife: wetlands, the ocean, the Amazon Rainforest, the Altiplano, and, unique in so many ways, the Galápagos Islands.