Wildlife experts Wild Planet Adventures underscore that when you travel is as important as the destination itself.
Their destination-specific wildlife knowledge includes activities around local fruiting seasons; peak activity months at local salt licks, watering holes and other hot-spots; localized migrations; special seasons such as Veranito in Costa Rica, and such animal-focused secrets as how big cats are more exposed during peak hot weather in many destinations, while small amounts of rain can result in increased sightings in other places.
Josh Cohen, founder of Wild Planet Adventures, outlines when his guests should travel to maximize wildlife sightings, particularly of rare and hard-to-find animals. The rates quoted are per person, double occupancy for small group travel. Rates are slightly higher for only two people traveling.
BORNEO:March to October is the best viewing window for The Borneo "Weird and Wonderful Wildlife" Eco-tour that combines rainforest hiking, eco-responsible river cruises and an Orang Utan rehabilitation center. Guests also snorkel or dive at one of the world’s top five dive destinations. The mild rain of July and August increases sightings of wild Orang Utans; August through October is the fruiting season, particularly helpful when visitingMaliauBasin. Wild Planet Adventures is the onlyU.S. operator offering wildlife excursions amongstMaliauBasin’s 300-foot-tall trees in the “Lost World” ofBorneo, the world’s most ancient rainforest. Prolific and likely sightings include Orang Utan, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Gibbon, Langurs, Pygmy Elephant, and over 620 bird species. This 12-day program is from $6,498 per person, double (plus domestic flights.)
INDIA:November to April are preferred months for Leopards, Tigers and Palaces, the Ultimate Wildlife Safari in India. January is the coldest month with temperatures in the 50’s in the early morning but quickly warming to the high 70’s. April is the hottest with temperatures peaking in the 90’s and above. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include Tigers (due to Wild Planet’s authentic tiger tracking in Kanha, Manas andKazirangaNational Parks), Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Macaque, Langur and Rhesus Monkeys, various antelope, Mongoose, Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, and 450 Bird species. The per person double occupancy rate is from $7,498 (minimum six).
THAILAND:November to June are the best months for Hidden Thailand Wildlife Eco-tour: Remote Rainforests & Islands that spans more than four national parks and includes exclusive wildlife expeditions intoKaengKrachanNational Park and Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary, expeditions not offered by any other U.S. International tour operator. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include up to 13 primate species (including Singing Gibbons), Elephants, Civets, Guar, Wild Boar, Monitor Lizards, Flying Fox, Giant Porcupine, Slow Loris, Flying Draco Lizards, Hornbills and other Birds. Other rare or endangered species include Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Sun Bear, Asiatic Bear and more. The per person double rate is from $4,198.
COSTA RICA: Think December to May and again in July (Veranito season) for the Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife 14-Day EcoTour spanning 12 distinct ecological zones. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include Howler, White-faced, Capuchin, Squirrel and Spider Monkeys, two species of Sloth, Kinkajou, Tapir, Agouti, Peccaries, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, Iguana, Basilisk “Jesus Christ” Lizards, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Leaf-Cutter Ants, and up to 900 species of birds including Resplendent Quetzals and Scarlet Macaws. Rare or endangered animals include Jaguar, Glass Frogs (see-through), Leatherback Turtles, Green Turtles, and more. The per person, double rate is from $4,998.
PANAMA: December to July are the best months for a Panama Ultimate Wildlife 10-Day EcoTour combining rain and cloud forest adventure with the best snorkeling in the Americas. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include six species of primates such as Geoffrey’s Tamarins, Night Monkeys, Sloth, Coatimundi, Agouti, Dolphins, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Poison Arrow and Red-eyed Tree Frogs, Sea Turtles and 600 species of birds. Rare or endangered sightings may include Jaguarundi, Porcupine, Silky Anteater, Grey Fox, Leatherback and Green Turtles, Macaws and more. The per person double rate is from $3,998.
BRAZIL: The best time for spotting wildlife in the Pantanal and Amazon is March to October with peak jaguar viewing starting early July. Cohen calls Wild Planet Adventure’s Jaguar's Trail: Pantanal to Amazon 15-Day Adventure “our most value-packed itinerary” featuring wildlife safaris by jeep, boat and foot in three different regions of the Pantanal and a remote area of the Amazon. Cohen also reports, “We average spotting 1.5 jaguars per day, and sometimes as many as 7!” Prolific & likely wildlife sightings include Jaguars, Hyacinth Macaws, Giant Anteater, primates such as Brown Capuchin, Black Howler, White-Whiskered Spider, Gold & Black and Red-Handed Howler Monkey, Silvery Marmoset, plus Giant Otter. Rare or endangered sightings may include Bare Ear Marmoset, Red-Nosed Bearded Saki Monkey, Harpy Eagle, Ocelot, Puma, and Azara's Agouti. The per person double rate is from $7,198.
PERU:March to October are preferred months for Ultimate Wildlife Amazon & Machu Picchu 13-day Adventure including Tambopata Reserve and the remote Manu Biosphere Reserve, the #1 park in the world for biodiversity. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include Brown Capuchin, Squirrel, Dusty Headed Titi, Red Howler, Spider, Wooly Monkey; Saddleback Tamarin, five species of Macaws, 15 species of Parrots and Parakeets, Toucans, Giant River Otter, Sloth, and Tapir. Rare sightings may include Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Pygmy Marmoset (the world’s smallest primate), Emperor Tamarin, Harpy Eagle ands more. The per person double rate is from $5,898.
ZAMBIA:July to October are preferred months for Ultimate Wildlife 18-Day Safari in one ofAfrica's least crowded and most wildlife-rich destinations. Prolific and likely wildlife sightings include Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Serval, Caracal, as well as African Elephant, Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Southern Giraffe, Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Aardvark, Mongoose, Spotted Hyena, Jackal, Honey Badger, and Yellow Baboon. Rare or endangered sightings may include Grysbok, Steenbok, Suni, Black Rhino, Samango (Blue) Monkey, Bush-Baby, and more. The per person double rate is from $15,798 (plus domestic flights at $2,348 per person).