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Megadiverse Latin America

Abundant Life Among Rainforests, Glaciers, Mountains, Deserts and Oceans

When it comes to landscapes, Latin America demands superlatives. You could journey here for a decade and still be discovering new ecosystems.

On Earth, Bolivia has the largest salt flat deserts, Lake Titicaca is the highest lake, and the Andes mountain chain is longer than any other. Tropical rainforest gives way to montane forest, the beaches are legendary, and the volcanos of Patagonia are dramatically active. Even within a single country such as Ecuador, you’ll find huge variety between the Pacific Coast, the highlands and the Amazon.

The variety and proximity of such megadiverse habitats enable an incalculable number of species to thrive. Five regions - the Atlantic forest, the Cerrado, the Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forests, the tropical Andes, and the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena are considered as biodiversity hotspots.
 
This means that they have at least 1,500 species of vascular plants found nowhere else in the world. Amongst these plants live all manner of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, nearly half of which are endemic. Latin America’s hotspots are, quite simply, irreplaceable.

If an African safari has whetted your appetite for seeing animals in the wild, your next stop has to be Latin America; nowhere else we can think of offers such variety or such concentration of creatures. Latin America is also within easy reach from the US and UK, with many direct flights into the continent’s capitals and domestic flights giving you access to each country's incredible biodiversity.
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Wildlife of the Pantanal
The Pantanal is one prime wildlife destination. The world’s largest tropical wetland, it falls mostly within Brazil, but stretches across the border into Bolivia and Paraguay, too. Flooded during the rainy season, aquatic plants flourish and the sediment forms a rich foundation for moist tropical Amazonian rainforest plants.
Wildlife of the Pantanal
Rare marsh deer and giant river otter inhabit the wetlands; maned wolf, bush dog, tapir, and anteater can be seen in the drier forest. The jaguar population is especially large and healthy.
Wildlife of the Pantanal
The best guess is that the Pantanal is also home to 10 million caiman - more than anywhere else in the world. These alligatorid crocodilian are the namesake of the Caiman Ecological Refuge, the first such ecotourism project in the region. Staying at Caiman Lodge, our favourite part of which is the lakeside Baiazinha Lodge, you will be brought into direct contact with Pantanal fauna, flora and culture.
Wildlife of the Pantanal
Expert naturalist guides, often natural sciences graduates, accompany each field excursion. You can enhance your safari experience with Canadian canoe tours, a day with Projeto Oncafari’s jaguar habituation team, and even an astronomy workshop around the campfire.

Explore the Pantanal
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The Amazon's Biological Diversity
In the Brazilian Amazon, a stay at Cristalino Lodge will leave you wide-eyed with wonder. The private reserve is significantly larger than Manhattan, and it was established specifically to help conserve Brazil’s biological diversity. Responsible tourism runs hand in hand with the reserve’s research, conservation and environmental education initiatives, ensuring the future survival of the people and wildlife living there.
The Amazon's Biological Diversity
The Amazon fauna is remarkable, and though you can track and spot creatures in the rainforest, guides ensure guests keep a respectful distance: wild animals must remain wild. If you are especially lucky, you will have an encounter with a jaguar, puma, or black panther.
The Amazon's Biological Diversity
Monkey are far more common, so it’s highly likely you’ll see capuchin, spider monkey, saki and howler. Feline night monkey and Snethlage’s marmoset put in occasional appearances, too.

Enquire Now
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Cultural Riches of Ecuador
We’ve already alluded to the natural riches of Ecuador, but did you know it’s the ideal destination for cultural expeditions as well? It is the ability to combine an Amazon rainforest safari with encounters with the ancient, indigenous communities who live harmoniously with the rainforest and its creatures that makes a stay at the country’s Kapawi Amazon Lodge so special.
Cultural Riches of Ecuador
Take an overnight camping trip to a traditional Achuar village and allow an elder to interpret your dreams around the campfire. We passionately encourage you to meet with the Achuar people, to learn about their society and way of life. After all, they know the secrets of the rainforest better than any scientist or guide!

Take Me There
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Scenic Costa Rica
And then of course there is Costa Rica, one of the most scenic countries you will ever find. Pacuare Lodge nestles in the rainforest above the Pacuare River, and it is accessible only by raft! In the Jaguar Villa you can bathe surrounded by the noises (and creatures) of the forest - a bird, monkey, or frog might even pop onto the terrace to join you.
Scenic Costa Rica
The Pacuare Protected Zone warrants extensive exploration on foot. Hike to Bajo del Tigre, a traditional Cabécar Indian village, or follow an ancient forest trail to a hidden waterfall. Rise up, then, into the rainforest canopy, sliding along cables from tree to tree. Howler monkey have been reintroduced locally and are thriving, biologists here are studying jaguar, and there are ocelot, sloth and birds, too.

Visit Costa Rica
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Did You Know?

  • The Amazon spans nine countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname.

  • Ecuador was the first country in the world to give nature constitutional rights which can be defended in court.

Did You Know?

  • The world’s second driest desert, after the Antarctic, is the Atacama in northern Chile.

  • Peru is home to over 21,000 species of plants and birds.

  • Mount Aconcagua in Argentina is the highest mountain outside Asia.

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Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you first time. We would love to hear from you.

UK & ROW: +44 (0)1604 628979
USA: +1-866-871-3829

Email: inspireme@journeysmiths.co.uk
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