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13 Bucket List Adventures for Animal Lovers

From Costa Rica to New Zealand to Kenya, there are plenty of ways to embrace your love of animals while on vacation—and we don’t mean bringing the family pet along for the trip. Below, you’ll find more than a dozen of our favorite bucket list adventures for animal lovers—wildlife-centric experiences that don’t require you to sacrifice luxury.Contact Indagare for help in booking your next animal adventure.

Giraffe Manor, Langata, Kenya

This romantic boutique inn is an ideal place to stay before heading off to the bush for a safari—especially because it’s home to a herd of gentle Rothschild giraffes. In the morning, open your shades to watch them roaming around the courtyard, and at breakfast, they may just try to steal a bite from your plate. If you have time, arrange a visit to the nearby David Sheldrick Elephant Trust to see orphaned infant elephants drinking milk or playing in the mud.

Delfin Amazon Cruises, Amazon Rainforest, Peru

Spend three or four nights cruising the Amazon on one of Delfin's beautiful vessels, the largest of which fits up to 43 passengers. Guests can spend their days swimming with pink river dolphins, birdwatching during a canopy walk or kayaking through tributaries and waterways teeming with interesting marine life. Indagare especially loves the nighttime boat safari to witness nocturnal animals such as black caimans, bats and frogs.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Rescued Asian elephants are the true stars of any stay at this luxury tented camp located In the Golden Triangle, on the border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, that is known for its work with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Guests can book two-, three- or four-night stays, which include working with a mahout to help bathe, feed and walk the elephants. Thai cooking classes, massages and spa treatments, a half-day trip to Myanmar and guided hikes on a jungle trail are also available.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Julian Robertson's The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is beloved for many reasons, but the property's Kiwi Discovery Walk is truly a hidden gem. Explore the nearby pine forest as your local guide monitors the health and wellness of kiwi chicks by checking the kiwi's radio transmitters, weight and size. Witnessing this rare, flightless bird in its natural habitat is a particularly engaging experience for younger children. 

Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Baa Atoll, Maldives

It may be tempting to spend all of your time in your overwater villa, but that would mean missing out on experiencing the local marine life. Guests can sign up for Manta-On-Call to receive alerts when manta rays are in the vicinity and head out for a snorkel; accompany scientists from The Manta Trust as they free-dive and research the large rays; or help rehabilitate sea turtles in the Marine Discovery Centre. 

Quasar Expeditions, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Nature enthusiasts likely dream of visiting the place where Charles Darwin made his greatest discoveries. On an eight-day cruise around Ecuador’s fascinating archipelago aboard an intimate yacht, you’ll spot sea lions, dolphins, tortoises, finches and blue-footed boobys. Water-based activities include snorkeling and zodiac rides among scores of wild dolphins, while on land, there will be ample opportunity for exploring the beach, lava fields, and mangrove estuaries.

The Ranch at Rock Creek, Phillipsburg, Montana

This stylish, 6,600-acre property may just be the most luxurious dude ranch around. While visitors will love the variety of activities, just sitting outside among the stunning landscape with a cup of tea is its own adventure—you may spot prairie dogs, deer, big-horn sheep and all manner of birds. We especially love horseback riding on the extensive trail system during the warmer months, not to mention learning to rope and barrel race with real cowboys. 

The Brando, Tetiaroa Atoll, French Polynesia

This private island resort is the ultimate honeymoon destination, but it’s also beloved by birders and scuba fanatics. While snorkeling the coral garden, you’re guaranteed to spot sea turtles, reef shark and tropical fish—and naturalists are available for guided bird-watching excursions. If you visit between mid-July and mid-October, make sure to book a whale-watching tour.

Hoanib Skeleton Camp, Zimbabwe

One of the top lodges in Namibia, this tented camp in the central Namib Desert, adjacent to the iconic Skeleton Coast, takes guests on desert game drives in search of desert-adapted elephants, giraffes, baboons, ostrich, springbok, oryx, hyenas, jackals and the elusive desert lions.

Lapa Rios Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica

A rustic-luxe resort set in the middle of a 1,000-acre rainforest on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, Lapa Rios offers guests a range of activities among a wildlife-filled landscape. Expert guides, marine biologists and sustainability experts are all on hand for adventures such as night hikes and canopy zip lines. Over the course of your stay, you may spot squirrel monkeys, three-toed sloths, jaguars and pumas.

Bisate Lodge, Ruhengeri, Rwanda

Situated near Volcanoes National Park, the eco-conscious Bisate Lodge from Wilderness Safaris combines six high-design accommodations in the forest with the opportunity to come face to face with a family of mountain gorillas. In addition to trekking with a guide for an hour-long gorilla encounter, visitors will also have the chance to see golden monkeys as well.

Crystal Creek Lodge, King Salmon, Alaska

Crystal Creek Lodge is a true Alaskan adventure lodge. Case in point: guests will take daily expert-led trips into the wilderness via Beaver plane, kayak, or raft to view bears, moose, caribou, raptors and birds in their natural habitats. And fans of fishing can spend their days casting for rainbow trout, char and salmon. 

Singita Sabora Lodge, Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

Witness the seasonal Great Migration, also known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” after waking up in the comfort of your Out of Africa-style tent. Watch and listen as wildebeest and zebra make their annual crossing through the Serengeti for a true, bucket-list experience. Tanzania game viewing is off-the-charts no matter the season, with the Big Five beckoning you deeper into the plains. Contact Indagare for help in booking your next animal adventure.

Published onOctober 31, 2019

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