Wildlife of South America

by on 11th June, 2015

Wildlife of South America

South America is home to an enormous amount and variety of wildlife.

From giant anacondas in Amazon swamps to the symbollic soaring condor, from llamas to tarantulas, the breadth of fauna and flora is still being catalogued.

Here Andean Trails’ staff share our favourite wildlife experiences from travels across South America – tell us yours!

(PS – can you spot the rare species in the photo? If not, read on to find out more).



We were walking through the rainforest in the Bolivian Amazon when we heard toucans screeching in panic.

They were flitting through the rainforest with a black and white hawk eagle flying acrobatically between the trees in hot pursuit.

There was a loud thud, then silence as the eagle hit its prey and both landed on the ground near our feet.

Chalalan is a fabulous place for wildlife, we also had an encounter with a group of peccary – we had to run for it… and felt like that toucan..!


Relaxing at Chalalan Bolivia

Relaxing at Chalalan, Bolivia



Whilst snorkelling at the Devil’s Crown off Floreana Island, Galapagos, and two white-tipped reef sharks casually swam underneath me.

I was not scared but there was a sudden adrenaline rush through my system and the theme tune to Jaws did play loudly in my head…it was a WOW moment.


Floreana highlands Galapagos

Floreana highland,s Galapagos



Having breakfasted on marmalade in deepest, darkest Ecuador, I climbed a hill and looked over condors gliding on thermals.

I descended into Zuleta valley and ventured into a cloud forest, where an Andean pygmy owl swiftly dived at my head, all the while hummingbirds fussed around.

Accompanied by a local stray dog, I emerged from the foliage and glanced up a forested mountainside. There it was again, some movement in the distance.

I grabbed my binoculars and after much searching. Trees. Rocks. Trees. There! There he was.

Ukumari. Andean Bear. Spectacled Bear. My own Paddington.


Austral Pygmy Owl Glaucidium nanum Torres Del Paine Patagonia Chile

Pygmy Owl



We were almost at 4,200m, close to the top of a pass on the Moon Temple trek in Peru, when we came across them.

They were alert and staying close together if I approached them, moving around comically.

Eleven alpacas, performing what can only be described as a spectacular Andean version of line dancing.


Colca shepherd, Peru


Check our wildlife tours in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Patagonia, Namibia, Galapagos, Argentina and Antarctica.

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