If you’ve been cooped up in your home for the past year and a half, you are surely eagerly waiting for the borders to open so that you can continue your world exploration. If you are a big animal lover, you probably choose your travel destinations based on the amazing creatures you might get a chance to spot on your trip. With that in mind, here are some of the best places you should consider visiting.

Visit the Amazon Basin

Capuchin monkey in Amazon Basin

When looking for a bio-diverse area to visit, you cannot skip the Amazon Basin. While most people associate it with Brazil, it actually stretches across eight other countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, meaning that you can explore at least a part of this vast region while on a holiday in South America. For example, if you’re doing your best to travel sustainably, you can find accommodation in one of the many eco-lodges near the Napo River in Ecuador. This will provide you with a great opportunity to spot sloths, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, capybaras, tapirs, boa constrictors, green anacondas, and tiny poisonous dart frogs. Even though you can explore the Amazon rainforest all year round, keep in mind that the wet season lasts from January to June and that daily showers are common, which makes exploring on foot a bit difficult.

Marvel at the Rainforests of the Atsinanana in Madagascar

Lemur climbing on tree in Madagascar

From Kenya and Ethiopia to Botswana and Namibia, Africa is full of amazing opportunities to see some majestic creatures like elephants, leopards, giraffes, and rhinos. However, if you leave the mainland and travel to Madagascar, you will be blown away by its biodiversity as more than 90% of the island’s wildlife cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. On the eastside of Madagascar, you can find the rainforests of the Atsinanana, composed of 13 specific areas. This World Heritage Site is home to 25 species of lemur, 173 bird species (including the endangered Madagascar red owl and Madagascar serpent eagle), and hundreds of amphibian and reptile species. It’s recommended that you plan your trip for anywhere between April and mid-December to avoid the wet season that often involves cyclones.

See Bengal Tigers in India’s Ranthambore National Park

Bengal Tiger Ranthambore National Park
Bengal Tiger Ranthambore National Park

Originally a Maharajas of Jaipur’s hunting ground, the main attraction of the Ranthambore National Park is its Royal Bengal Tiger Reserve which allows visitors to see Bengal tigers in their natural habitat. However, that is not all that this unique place has to offer. From Indian leopards and Indian flying foxes to striped hyenas, sloth bears, and rhesus macaque, there is a wide array of animals you can encounter. You can also book a cruise on the Chambal River and see if you can spot some red-crowned roof turtles and Gangetic freshwater dolphins. In addition to seeing some amazing animals, the national park also offers visitors a tour of ancient temples and hunting pavilions. The area is closed to visitors between July and September due to the monsoon season. You might be most comfortable visiting it anywhere from October and March as the temperatures are not too high.

Explore the Variety of Sydney, Australia

Entrepreneur snorkeling with fish in Great Barrier Reef
Entrepreneur snorkeling with fish in Great Barrier Reef

As you surely know, Australia is full of opportunities to spot some stunning wildlife. From snorkeling with the marine animals of the Great Barrier Reef to witnessing the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, the Down Under abounds with unique animal encounters. But, if you’re looking to combine city exploring with your love of animals, Sydney is the spot for you. With three zoos, it’s very easy to schedule in some time with friendly creatures like koalas and kangaroos. Moreover, if you’d like to see Sydney from a different angle, you can look for a whale watching tour that will not only give you a new perspective of the city, but also allow you to see humpback whales as they migrate from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. To catch this spectacle, plan your trip for anywhere between May and November.

Spot Puffins in Iceland

Puffins talking in Iceland

Another place where you can spot humpback whales is Iceland. While you can do this all year long, winter might not provide you with the best condition to do so. In addition to humpback whales, you can also look out for blue whales, minke whales, orcas, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises. The best locations to catch a glimpse of these giants include Husavik and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. In addition to these majestic animals, you can also spot various sea birds like puffins as they come to Iceland’s sea cliffs to nest. To see them, visit the hotspots such as East Fjords, West Fjords, and South Coast anywhere between April and mid-August. Fortunately, getting around Iceland and finding accommodation is not difficult so you can enjoy this adventure to the fullest.

Walk with Polar Bears in Canada

Polar bears lying down in Canada
Polar bears lying down in Canada

Although the sub-arctic regions of Canada might seem inhospitable, there are many spots that you can visit that will provide you with a unique experience and allow you to see some incredible animals. For example, the town of Churchill is famous for tours that let visitors walk with polar bears. Located on the west shore of Hudson Bay, this town is also a great place to see Beluga whales and even snorkel alongside them. Moreover, the Churchill area is home to over 250 bird species as well as moose, wolves, and caribou. Time your visit for summer or fall and pick from a nice selection of lodges.

The world is full of amazing opportunities to see some wonderful animals. Regardless of which destination of the above-listed ones you choose to visit, you are sure to have a great time.

Have you ever traveled to one of these places to see animals? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.