family destinations bucket list part 2

Guide To Family Travel Destinations – Wildlife Hotspots

1 bucket listLagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

Here are  prime destinations for wildlife spotting, as children are fascinated with animals. I for one have never grown out of that! For all these destinations remember  to take your binoculars and a camera with zoom. Additionally do thorough research into any potential travel vaccinations you may need before travelling to these areas.

Wildlife Hotspots


It was in this highly diverse and wonderful country that I was blessed enough to see the most majestic of creatures in the wild. A Jaguar! Truly beautiful and incredibly elusive. Living in the mighty Pantanal and taking to the river by boat each day paid off. In jungle environments the majority of wildlife flocks to the river and this is where you have the best opportunity to see birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and unique mammals such as capybara! Jungle treks can be fun but most of the critters will be hiding in the canopies, plus it’s not a great environment for children, I’d recommend going by boat.

The great thing about Brazil is that it has something for everyone, one of the longest coastlines in the world with stunning beaches, tropical rainforests and wetlands, multiple islands, big cities, stunning wildlife, desert oases and probably the world’s most beautiful waterfall. The mighty Iguazú/ Iguassu/Iguaçu Falls.

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   Lagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

 African Safari

You really are spoilt for choice for potential wildlife spotting paradise locations in Africa and I don’t have time to go into them all. If you’re looking to spot Gorillas and Chimpanzees then Uganda and Rwanda are the go to locations. If you’re more interested in a general safari experience I can recommend a few countries and national parks.

African safaris are notoriously expensive but there are deals to be found and many solo travellers opt to volunteer at centres for the chance to do a budget safari trip. As a family South Africa’s famous Kruger Park could be a great choice, self drivable options make this affordable and November is a time of year I’ve been recommended to visit. Botswana Chobe park (teeming with wildlife year round), Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park (home to Africa’s largest annual migration event) and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve (famous for big cats) are also fantastic options. Staying just outside of the National Parks is a great way of making your once in a lifetime safari trip affordable.

Ecuador- The Galapagos

I lived in Ecuador for several months, part of this time I spent living in spectacular primary rainforest whilst volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre. I got to know the native species and the country well (currency USD by the way). I never had the opportunity to venture to the Galapagos and I’m not sure If I could justify it due to tourism damaging some of the ecology there but that being said it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I met many travellers, tourists, families and couples who’d visited and nearly everyone had a mind blowing time there.

It is not cheap but there are many different options. Generally it is better to fly into the city of Guayaquil as it is close to the islands. It is not a nice or particularly family friendly city however and I’d only recommend it as the start location for a trip, not an area to explore. There are countless cruise options, some people chance it and look to book last minute budget cruises upon arrival. Whereas when travelling as a family I understand the importance of peace of mind and having everything arranged in advance. The most affordable option is to take a boat to one of the main islands such as Isabel a, Santa Cruz or San Cristobal, find budget accommodation there and do day trips out to see wildlife in other locations.

Nevertheless, the main experience people come for is the cruise. Do your research as there are countless companies with huge varieties in itinerary and tour length. Also it pays to see what animals you can expect to find and where so you have an idea of the islands you wish to visit, this helpful map can be of some assistance in that regard. There’s no escaping the rich historical and scientific history of The Galapagos and that coupled with the amount of truly unique wildlife makes this an intriguing destination to say the least. Please just make sure you pick an ecologically conscious company!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an animal lover’s paradise; it’s one of the more expensive areas in Central America but also one of the safest, with relatively widespread English comprehension (however it would pay to brush up on your Spanish before arrival.) US dollars are generally accepted; alternatively your best option is to exchange your currency for Colones at a local bank once inside the country.

Wildlife rich would be an understatement. Whether it’s in a sanctuary or immersed in a cloud forest, rainforest or national park you will be blessed with an abundance of weird and wonderful species to behold in this small nation. The Osa Peninsula would be my personal recommendation. The Corcovado National park is famous here and is home to 140 species of mammal and 462 bird species! The most beautiful jungle to be found in Costa Rica is for me the authentic rainforest of Tortuguero.

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Squirrel monkey (one of the 4 species of monkey you can find in Costa Rica)    

So that concludes the second instalment and my recommendations for wildlife wonders to enjoy with all the family!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.