Wild Destinations

SouthWild has spent decades exploring the wildest corners of South America to find the most spectacular wildlife locations. These sites often are unknown to the outside world and only come to our attention through interviewing locals, who know where the wildlife hides but normally do not talk with outsiders.

Pantanal

The UK-sized Pantanal is a seasonally-flooded mosaic of tropical savannas and forests in the upper part of the Paraguay River watershed. The largest freshwater wetland in the world, the Pantanal offers the finest wildlife viewing in the Americas, with more mammals, large reptiles, and large birds than any other wildland. Our lodges represent the best locations in all the Pantanal to see the two top predators of the Pantanal--the Jaguar and the Giant Otter.
Jabiru storks feeding during the flood season in March/April. View from the SWP dining room. Early morning boat ride along the Pixaim River. Jaguars have become habituated near our flotel and are visible from June through November. At both of our Pantanal locations, Giant Otters now are easy to observe at close range.

South America's Pacific Coast

The Pacific coast of South America offers some of the world's most dramatic scenery, with the world's driest desert meeting the world's coldest tropical ocean current, all next to the world's longest mountain chain. We offer selected viewing of the finest scenery and wildlife of the Pacific coast, including the most accessible penguins along with sea lions, dolphins, and hundreds of thousands of other large sea birds.
Guano birds are abundant on the islands along the coast of Peru. Sea lions and seals sit relaxed at close range on islands and guano points in Peru. Paracas Reserve and Ballestas Islands of Peru are excellent for Sea Lions, Chilean Flamingos, and tens of thousands of large, striking seabirds. Some coastal locations even offer close-up viewing of Andean Condors, the heaviest flying bird of the Americas.

Andes

The mighty Andes are not only the longest mountain chain in the world, but also the only mountains that run from far north to far south of the Equator, thus creating unique niches for the world's greatest diversity of all forms of terrestrial and freshwater life. We offer visits to the wildest and most wildlife-rich of these great mountains, including high-elevation lakes with tens of thousands of rare flamingos, rolling mountain grasslands with thousands of wild, golden-colored camels, and snowcapped peaks with some of the world's most dramatic (and accessible) glaciers.
A vista from the eastern flank of the Andes down into the vast Amazon rainforest. Parinacochas, a striking Andean lake where thousands of flamingos nest in January and February. Spectacular Inca and Pre-Inca archeological sites are hidden throughout the Peruvian Andes. The Inca Trail offers the unique experience of transitioning from high Andean grasslands to lush, subtropical cloud forests around Machu Picchu.

Desert

The Atacama Desert of northern Chile and southern Peru is the world's driest desert and features some of the world's starkest scenery. This sandy wasteland is wedged into a narrow coastal plain between the towering Andes to the east and the frigid Humboldt Current to the west. Wildlife concentrates on the desert islands of the coast and in selected oases in the parched, sandy desert wilderness.
The Atacama Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Atacama) is a plateau in South America, covering a 600-mile (1,000 km) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. Peru desert has about 40 oases where most of Peru's commercial farming takes place. The Nasca lines are in the Peruvian desert close to the city of Nasca. Due to the cold offshore Humboldt current, a coastal inversion is created which makes this region drier than any other place in the world.

Amazon

The Amazon is by far the world's greatest tropical rainforest, covering an area the size of the 48 lower states of the USA. To date, only 22% of this massive rainforest has been cut, and more than half of all the standing forest is now protected in Indian tribal homelands and biological reserves. SouthWild specializes in exploring the Amazon to locate and take you to the wildest locations with the largest concentrations of rare wildlife such as spectacular, large monkeys, Pink Amazon River Dolphins (at 50 cm), and large flocks of colorful macaws.
The Anavilhanas Archipielago on the Rio Negro near Manaus, Brazil. The Manu National Park, which protects both biodiversity and uncontacted Amerindian tribes. The cloud forest of the eastern slopes of the Andes are paradise for birders and orchid lovers. The view from the Inca Trail down towards the Amazon lowlands.

Atlantic Forest

Due to their more even rainfall throughout the year, the Atlantic Rainforests of the coast of Brazil are more luxuriant and classically tropical-looking than most of the mighty Amazon rainforest. Furthermore, the Atlantic Rainforests have unique birds, mammals, trees and orchids that are not found in the Amazon or anywhere else on Earth. SouthWild shows you some of the most beautiful, iconic species of monkeys and birds of the Atlantic forest in the wildest corners of this tropical wonderland.
On November 11 of 2011, Iguazu Falls was announced as one of the seven winners of the New Seven Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. The Atlantic Forest is characterized by a high species diversity and endemism. It was the first environment that the Portuguese conquerors encountered over 500 years ago. Currently, the Atlantic Forest spans over 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi) along the coast of Brazil and in a small part of Paraguay and Argentina. Approximately 40 percent of its vascular plants and up 60 percent of its vertebrates are endemic species, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.

Machu Picchu

The prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Magazine's "Readers's Poll" identified Machu Picchu as "the number one monument in the world for overall experience". SouthWild has found locations near and even inside this famous Inca site that harbor charismatic animals that include Andean Bears, Andean Cocks-of-the-Rock, and simply adorable Vizcachas.
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level in the Cusco Region of Peru. The best time to see orchids along the Inca Trail is during the months of March, April & May, just after the end of the wet season. However many different species can be seen throughout the year. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as the City of the Incas, it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World. Located in the Andes mountain range, the Inca trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra.

Patagonia

Patagonia offers some of the most jaw-dropping montane scenery in the world, including some of the globe's most active glaciers and largest flocks of Andean Condors, all in a setting of intensely-turquoise lakes. Recently SouthWild discovered that one particular portion of the Torres del Paine National Park of southern Patagonia in Chile offers the world's only guaranteed viewing of wild Pumas, the second-largest cat of the Americas.
Patagonia is a region located at the southern end of South America, territory shared by Argentina and Chile, boasting some of the most dramatic landscapes on Earth. The high rainfall against the western Andes and the low sea surface temperatures offshore give rise to cold and humid air masses, contributing to the ice-fields and glaciers. Argentine Patagonia is for the most part a region of steppelike plains, rising in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces about 100 metres (330 feet) at a time, and covered with an enormous bed of shingle almost bare of vegetation. Lake basins along the Cordillera were also excavated by ice-streams, including Lake Argentino and Lake Fagnano, as well as coastal bays such as Bahía Inútil.

Tropical Savannah

The tropical savannas of South America offer unique cliff scenery and photogenic wildlife, and we have found the best locations in this visitor-friendly ecosystem. SouthWild has discovered the world's most complex tool use by non-human primates--that of the hammer-rock-using Capuchin Monkeys of NE Brazil. We also offer guaranteed viewing of Giant Anteaters, large flocks of Hyacinth Macaws, and the world's tallest and most elegant wild canid---the endangered Maned Wolf.
Green-winged macaws fly over the forest in the late afternoon. There are many endemic species, and several plants have adaptations to tolerate the high aluminum content of soils resulting from laterization on the ancient Gondwanan Shield of South America. Brazil's cerrado is an open woodland of short-stature, twisted trees. It is species-rich, second only to the tropical rainforest in plant diversity. The cerrado is said to have about 10,000 plant species and 10 endemic bird species. There are nearly 200 species of mammal in the Cerrado, though only 14 are endemic.