The global wildlife tourism market is expected to boom between 2023 and 2030, as reported by Grand View Research. Tourists are increasingly interested in making nature and adventure a bigger part of their travels, since few experiences provide quite the same rush as those that allow them to view native animals from up-close. If you are thinking of booking a trip with a difference, and you’d like to make wildlife its central component, take a look at the following beachy spots.
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
This famed national park is the prime nesting site for a myriad of turtle species. Plan your visit from July to October to witness the awe-inspiring site of hundreds of green sea and loggerhead turtles swimming to the shore to lay their eggs on the beach. From March to October, it’s time for hawksbill turtles to do the same, and from March to May, leatherback turtles follow suit. Tortuguero National Park’s beauty is exclusively centered on water, and people usually explore this 120-mile protected area by navigating their way around its waters aboard a canoe. In addition to turtles, other species onsite are manatees, river otters, spectacled caimans, and gorgeous birds such as toucans, kingfishers, and macaws.
Ischia, off the Naples Coast
The island of Ischia is trending among discerning travelers, owing to its powdery beaches, steaming thermal spas, and abundance of wildlife—including colorful birds, fish, and turtles. Recently, Yolanda Edwards, former creative director of Condé Nast Traveler and founder of trendy publication, YOLO Journal highlighted Ischia’s summer as being particularly memorable. The island is home to top luxury hotels like the Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa, which overlooks the sea and is filled with fragrant jasmine trees. As beautiful as the resort is, those seeking to get close to the wildlife head to beaches like Spiaggia dei Maronti, Spiaggia degli Inglesi, Spiaggia de Citara, and Spiaggia de San Montano. Ischia is home to a bevy of birds, fish, turtles (both loggerhead and green sea turtles), and dolphins.
Kangaroo Island off the Coast of South Australia
Kangaroo island is as wild as its name suggests, as it is home to an impressive array of kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions, and echidna. To get to the island, you will need to board the Sea Link Ferry, which is around an hour and a half from Adelaide. The island is remote and relatively free from developments and constructions, so you can explore it independently, visiting its conservation and wildlife parks. To view the island’s rarest species, guided tours are a good idea. Top adventures include walking the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail, visiting Seal Bay Conservation Park (where you will come across a host of sea lions), and visiting Raptor Domain (where you can get up close to a host of birds of prey, including kookaburras, owls, and eagles).
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
These islands are an all-time favorite for travelers wishing to get close to a wide range of animals, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. Prioritize spots like Española Island (where you can see waved albatrosses, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies); Fernandina Island (for Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, and flightless cormorants); and Floreana Island (home to Galapagos penguins, Darwin finches, joint-footed penguins, green sea turtles, sea lines, and more. On Isabela Island, meanwhile, you can view doves, pelicans, herons, and both marine and land iguanas.
Kaikoura, New Zealand
This rugged coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand is a popular choice for whale watching. Visitors can take a boat tour to see sperm whales, seals, rock lobsters, shellfish, albatrosses, and fin fish. Visitors usually book whale watching tours around the Coast, so they can get as close as possible to whales and capture great action shots of marine birds such as shooty shearwaters, flesh-footed shearwaters, and fluttering shearwaters.
As wildlife tourism continues to grow in popularity, beach destinations around the world are offering tourists unique opportunities to interact with a variety of animals in their natural habitats. From the stunning beaches of Ischia, Italy, to the pristine Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, there are countless places for travelers to experience the beauty of nature and its inhabitants. Whether you wish to observe sea turtles laying their eggs, spot rare bird species, or go on a whale watching tour, these beachy spots offer unforgettable experiences for wildlife lovers.