Global Destinations:
Other Options:
Home - Ecuador Travel Guide

Up close and personal: best wildlife holidays

Beach holidays may be relaxing, but sometimes it's worth stepping outside of the usual routine to discover different experiences in a variety of countries. The world's delicate ecosystems are threatened by climate change and human development, making this an important time to see the wildlife – but with so much to explore, where should you start? 

A holiday to Egypt is one of the best ways to combine a traditional beach holiday with tantalizing coral and exotic sea life in the Red Sea; Ecuador is home to the famous Galapagos Islands and Amazon jungle; Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, USA is one of the best places to come up-close-and-personal with the big animals of the American West; and India is well-known for its tigers, elephants and other diverse wildlife.
The Amazon rainforest has always been a mysterious environment, but Ecuador and the Galapagos offer some of the most amazing wildlife found on the planet. Ancient bird-eating spiders live side-by-side with tiny monkeys that can sit on a human fingertip. This region is simply teeming with life – just one hectare of forest in the Ecuadorian rainforest in the Amazon is home to about as many frog species as the whole of North America, and there are more ant species in one tree in the Amazon than in the entire British Isles. A trip to the Galapagos Islands is also not to be missed – the islands were made famous by Charles Darwin, who based his theory of evolution on the unusual animals he saw here. Many of these species still thrive today, from swimming iguanas to penguins, sea lions and giant tortoises.

If the rainforest doesn’t appeal, then how about getting close to the larger animals, like elephants and tigers in India? Holidays in India can include viewing tigers from a comfortable seat on an elephant’s back in Bandhavgarh. Central India boasts a number of wildlife parks: Pench National Park is the legendary setting for Rudyard Kipling’s epic Jungle Book, and comprises 758 square kilometres of prime wildlife habitat. Kanhais another park where tigers can be seen roaming free, alongside varieties of deer, monkey, langur, wild boar and leopard. In some lucky cases, even a rare sighting of a Bengal tiger can be made.

The Galapagos Tortoise is the Largest Living Tortoise, Galapagos, Ecuador
Buy This

Land of the hamburger and high rise, America is also a gem in terms of spotting wildlife. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is home to a range of iconic animals, and is one of the most visited attractions in North America. Yellowstone was established in 1872 as America's first national park and boasts an abundance of large and small mammals in addition to the famous geysers and hot springs. 

Bears, moose, elk, eagles, wolves and bison roam the environment freely, and the bison have a habit of wandering through campsites unperturbed – but keep your distance from the friendly-looking beasts, as those horns are very sharp!

Elk number around 15,000 to 25,000 in the summer months, while the population decreases in winter. Yellowstone is home to about 3,500 bison and around 200 to 600 grizzly bears. There are a number of black bears also in the region. If the thought of getting up close and personal with one of these mighty animals doesn’t appeal, then seek out the (marginally) friendlier pelicans and trumpeter swans - the latter are the largest waterfowl in North America with wingspans that can reach seven feet. 

Whether you’re watching big game in the US or India, spotting tropical birds in the Amazon or scuba diving with rare and colourful fish, a wildlife holiday is one of the most exciting and memorable trips out there.


Home - Ecuador Travel Guide

Latest update:  November 26, 2012