South America is the land of culture, colour, passion, and adventure. It captured my heart, with its diverse landscapes that attract a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. I spent 6 months travelling the left hand-side of this incredible continent. When first arriving in Peru, I just hoped to see a real life llama. I left having seen more than I could ever have dreamed of.
Everyone does love a llama… but these are my really top South American wildlife experiences…
A flash of pink in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Visiting the stunning landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni feels as if you are inside a painting. Reds, greens, white, turquoise and grey from the desert, mountains and lakes are topped off by a dazzling pink! Hundreds of flamingos gather in the lagunas searching for food and a mate. It was incredible just to sit in this peaceful place watching them gracefully wandering through the water or in true flamingo style having a nap on one leg!
Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Colombia
It was top of my Colombia to do list to visit this beautiful national park. A 45-minute jungle walk, led me to a beach and wildlife lovers’ paradise. Daily visits from local monkey troupes are just part of life here. A hungry caiman lived in a lake just a few moments away from our campsite, where we slept under the stars in hammocks. Brightly coloured lizards whizzed past my feet as I wandered from white sandy beach to white sandy beach, while bright purple crabs scuttled into holes if they suspected me of trying to take a photo!
Whale watching in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador
Dubbed the poor man’s Galapagos, of course I decided to take the full trip to Isla de la Plata from Puerto Lopez. I had little belief that I would really see whales for the first time in my life – it seemed too good to be true! The boat left early and our passionate guides were determined for us to see as much as possible of this beautiful place they were so proud of. I wasn’t disappointed. Male whales danced out of the waters for over two hours. The males were attempting to attract the females with this stunning show… and ultimately succeeded to steal ours too!
Amazon Jungle, Ecuador
Visiting the Amazon was both a dream come true and chance to face many of my life-long fears. Eating dinner with tarantulas patrolling the ceiling, sitting next to a moth that was bigger than my face as well as watching a boa constrictor settle down in a nearby tree were just a few of the scary things I encountered. It was all worth it though, to spend every day on a tiny boat searching for the 8 types of monkey that lived in that part of the jungle as well as stink birds, pink dolphins and the constant hope of seeing a shy manatee.
Galapagos is like nowhere else and will probably always be my favourite place in the whole world. A trip there is like visiting a fairytale land, where sea lions rule the streets and enormous tortoises hang out in mud bath spas. For two weeks, I explored the unique planet of the islands and jumped off boats to swim with sharks, manta rays, sea lions, iguanas and penguins among many other things. You simply have to see it to believe it!