Chile: Wildlife Paradise

Chile is a paradise for wildlife and nature lovers. From the ancient glaciers of Patagonia to the ethereal landscape of the Atacama Desert and more, it is truly one of the most beautiful travel destinations on earth. If you are looking for places to watch the exquisite wildlife in Chile, then you will be glad to know that you have plenty of options. Following are some of the best places in Chile to track down wildlife:

The Atacama Desert
You might think that the driest non-polar desert of the planet is devoid of any wildlife, but you will be surprised to know that some parts of the Atacama Desert are rich with exotic animals and birds that have adapted to live in the area’s extreme conditions. Following are some animals you can expect to see here:
• There are three species of flamingos found in the Atacama Desert. These include James’s, Chilean, and Andean.
• Viscachas, that look like a cross between a rabbit and a chinchilla, are fairly common on the dusty plains of this desert.
• Vicunas and guanacos, wild species from the camelid family that also includes the alpaca and llama, survive in rare grassy areas.
• The South American gray fox also lives in the Atacama Desert, surviving on a diet of scorpions, eggs, rodents, and lizards.

The island of Chiloe is another prime destination of wildlife watching in Chile. From the mainland, you can access this area via ferry. Following are some animals you can expect to see here:
• The Southern river otter is the rarest species of otters in the world. You can see them in the Chepu Valley.
• Magellanic and Humboldt penguins are also in abundance. They can be seen on the islands of Punihuil.
• Hundreds of blue whales have also been observed in the waters around Chiloe.

Rio Los Cipreses National Reserve
Situated at a distance of about 100 kilometers of the capital, this national reserve is one of the top attractions of Chile for wildlife enthusiasts. Following are some animals you can expect to see here:
• The burrowing parrot is a fascinating species that builds nests in the area along the edge of the river. Their nests can be seen in the cliffs.
• Guanacos graze on patches of grasslands. You can see them in small herds on the slopes of the valley.
• The majestic condor lives within the reserve. If you wish to see this huge bird, then it is highly recommended that you visit a high-altitude place in the area.

Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is the southernmost point of the continent that is situated at the very end of earth. Still, there are many animals thriving in the area. Following are some animals you can expect to see here:
• On the shores of Bahia Inutil, there is a colony of king penguins. It is the only colony of these animals in the America.
• Magellanic penguins thrive in various islets in the Strait of Magellan. On other islands close by, their predator, the sea lion, can be seen as well.
• There is a colony of about 100 nests of black-browed albatrosses in Chilean Tierra del Fuego.

As you can see, there is no shortage of places teeming with wildlife in Chile. The above-listed destinations offer the best and the most diverse wildlife watching experiences in the country.

Photos by: Olga Stalska, Thomas Griggs, David Vives, Paula Porto, Hector Marquez 

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