"Torres del Paine National Park" by Reeve Jolliffe via Flickr Creative Commons

The most biodiverse places in the world can be found in Latin America. The world’s largest forest and the world’s largest wetlands are here. As are numerous cloud forests, rainforests, temperate coastal forests, isolated island chains full of endemic creatures, and much more. The Amazon and the Galapagos are two of the big names, but almost everywhere you go you can find a UNSECO biosphere reserve. Many of the poshest, most expensive ecolodges in the world are here, as well as endless hiking trails.

  1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Home to more endemic species than anywhere else in the world, however, this ecotourism hotspot is in danger from too many visitors. Still, boat tours around these incredible islands reveal marine iguanas, boobies, seals, giant tortoises, volcanoes, mangrove forests, whale sharks, and much more.
  2. Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru Manu’s cloud forests are one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
  3. La Mosquitia, Honduras Raw and untouched, apart from several Indian tribes that make this region their home, the Mosquito Coast and Rio Platano Biopshere Reserve are the largest tracts of wilderness in Central America. Often called a mini-Amazon.
  4. Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica Costa Rica’s pride and joy. Home to each of the country’s different monkey species, scarlet macaws fly over head by the flock, jaguars roam the forest floor, thundering waves crash on pristine pacific beaches, and hundreds of miles of trails weave in and out.
  5. Falkland Islands These isolated islands off the coast of Argentina have some of the world’s best bird watching.
  6. Tambopata National Reserve, Peru Amazon’s premier wildlife and nature reserves that connects with other parks in Brazil and Bolivia.
  7. Canaima National Park, Venezuela The inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World is every bit as fantastic as the novel. Tabletop mountains dripping with waterfalls, lush forests, caiman filled rivers, and loads of endemic wildlife.
  8. The Pantanal, Brazil The world’s largest freshwater wetlands, ten times the size of the Everglades, are home to giant river otters, tapirs, and thousands of aquatic species such as fish and caimans.
  9. Torres del Paine, Chile At the very end of the Americas, this jaw-dropping national park is home to glaciers, granite mountains, Andean condors, hers of guanacos, and some of the best hiking opportunities and nature lodges in the world.
  10. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica The definition of rainforest in the dictionary has a photo of Monteverde beside it. Tropical birds and mammals paired with the lush green forests sparkling with orchids are close to idyllic.

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