Tired of re-runs of Animal Planet and zoo visits to see baby marmosets?
Exotic wildlife viewing specialist Wild Planet Adventures suggests that families with animal-crazy kids plan a vacation this summer to nurture their children’s passion.
“After 23 years of feedback from families, we’ve selected our top five summer trips for animal-crazy families based on kid-friendly activities and experiences that appeal to all ages and attention spans,” says Josh Cohen,Wild Planet Adventures director. These include Costa Rica, Galapagos, Peru and Borneo.
“Kids will thrill to cuddle a newborn monkey in the Costa Rican rainforest, witness the spectacle of hundreds of macaws at a clay lick in Peru, snorkel with playful sea lions in the Galapagos, glimpse a female jaguar nuzzling its newborn cub in Brazil, or wander the quickly disappearing rainforests of Borneo in search of adorable tarsiers, slow loris, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and Orangutans, the most human-like of all primates. These are life’s defining moments. They provide a counter to our violent video-game culture and remind us that life is precious. They inspire, exhilarate, and provide perspective to kids growing up. They remind us that we are a part of nature,” says Cohen.
On some tours guests experience animals in the wild as well as at wildlife rescue centers, some of which offer “hands-on” experiences sure to thrill kids of all ages.
Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife Eco-tour for 14-days at $4,598/person or 9-days at $2,998/person focuses the wildlife of eight national parks harboring 10 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Included is a visit to Aviarios Sloth Wildlife Sanctuary where, says Cohen, “the cuteness factor is off-the-charts.” Families enjoy hands-on interaction with animals at Proyecto Asis wildlife rescue center, and meet biologists studying the rainforest at La Selva Biological Preserve. Activities include moderate whitewater river rafting, flat-water wildlife float-trips, cloud forest canopy tours, viewing volcanoes and hot springs, night hikes for nocturnal animals, sea-kayaking with dolphins and snorkeling at night in the bioluminescence. Wild Planet is currently offering a special for the six weeks between early July and mid August, which includes free binoculars, extra nights in Corcovado and more. This coincides with a weather pattern called “veranito”, (little summer) which tends to be one of the best times of year for seeing wildlife.
Ultimate Wildlife 8 Day Nature Cruise on 20-passenger yachts in the Galapagos range from $3,375 to $4,350 per person. Two naturalists accompany groups of no more than 10 people on land tours. Guests can kayak, walk amongst colonies of sea-lions, witness the mating and courtship rituals of sea-birds, track giant tortoises and snorkel surrounded penguins and other marine wildlife. Many summer dates are designated as special family departures, or family-with-teens departures.
Peru Ultimate Wildlife Adventure comes in 13- and nine-day versions. The per person double rate of $4,798 for 13 days and $3,298 for nine days includes the cultural meccas of Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley. However, the focus of the trip is the Amazon Rainforest. Manu Biosphere Reserve is the world’s most bio-diverse park, with 200 species of mammals including 13 species of primates. Nearby Tambopata Reserve is home to the world’s largest macaw and parrot clay licks where travelers can see up to 1,000 macaws and parrots transform the sky into a kaleidoscope of color. Exclusive family-friendly activities include a Wild Planet Adventures’ special “Jaguar Kayak Float”, a shaman-led medicine trail to learn about the medicinal value of rainforest plants, and a special excursion to see the world’s smallest –and cutest—primate, the pygmy marmoset.
In Brazil, Jaguar’s Trail: Pantanal to Amazon 15-day program at $6,898 per person double can be shortened to 11 days for $4,998 per person double. Cohen believes that Brazil is the new up-and-coming family destination when it comes to wildlife travel, with possibilities for adventurous activities exceeding even Costa Rica. This trip includes the seldom-visited Taiama Ecological Reserve in a remote part of the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands. A Wild Planet Adventures exclusive, Jaguar Safaris in Taiama, average 1.5 jaguar sightings per day viewed from the safety of a river boat. Tiama Ecological Reserve and the Paraguay and Pixiam rivers are home to the largest concentration of jaguars on earth. Giant anteaters and otters plus silvery marmosets can be spotted from horseback, boat or jeep. Guests then transfer from the world’s largest wetlands to the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, and are introduced to Wild Planet’s exclusive Primate Program, designed by a primatologist.
About Wild Planet Adventures
The expert wildlife guides of Wild Planet Adventures go the extra mile to explore remote wildlife habitat and study wildlife patterns in destinations not often accessible to the general public. Thanks to the company’s comprehensive itineraries that balance diverse and complex ecosystems and habitats, guests enjoy wildlife and game viewing that is carefully aligned with animals’ seasonal, daily and nocturnal migrations.
Following a philosophy that interacting with nature has the power to transform lives, tours are conducted in Africa, Baja, Belize, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. Wild Planet Adventures is recognized by top publications in the travel industry for its itineraries that combine intimate encounters with wildlife and local culture.