Best Destinations for Wildlife Spotting

For many travelers, laying on a beach on vacation isn't enough: A vacation isn't a vacation without seeing some spectacular sights. Getting a glimpse of an exotic creature while traveling can make an entire trip.

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Getting a glimpse of an exotic creature while traveling can make an entire trip.

For many travelers, laying on a beach on vacation isn’t enough: A vacation isn’t a vacation without seeing some spectacular sights. Even those casually interested in nature and wildlife will be wowed by the creatures that can be spotted in these exotic locales.

From adorable white-faced capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica to deadly lions in Botswana,

find out what to see and where to see it on your next exotic vacation.

White-Faced Capuchin Monkey

: Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

: Many types of forest

Among the most adorable of the New World monkeys, the White-Faced Capuchins still roam wild in the rainforests of Costa Rica. They can even be spotted near many of the resorts in Manuel Antonio, which is home to the country's most famous national park.

Arenas Del Mar is one of the best resorts for spotting them: Before constructing the hotel, developers studied the native monkeys and built in areas that wouldn't interfere with their daily routes. Arenas Del Mar also has access to two beautiful, white-sand beaches near the park, which these monkeys frequent

: Okavango Delta Region, Botswana

: Grasslands are one of the most common elephant habitats, but elephants are adaptable and live in many environments.

Botswana is a safe, democratic country and a popular safari destination, with numerous wildlife reserves in the Okavango Delta region in particular. Visitors have a good chance of seeing elephants on game drives from safari lodges, such as Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp.

Where to See It HabitatElephant Where to See It Habitat

: Hawaii

: Shallow coastal waters, near seagrass beds

Green sea turtles can be found near many tropical destinations, and they're common around the Hawaiian Islands. Black Rock, one of the most popular snorkeling destinations on Maui, right in front of the Sheraton Maui Resort, is a good spot to try.

Green Sea Turtle Where to See It Habitat

Lion

: Grasslands

Visitors should not attempt to spot these majestic creatures without the help of an experienced guide. The game drive guides at &Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp are first-rate.

Where to See It: Okavango Delta region, Botswana Habitat

: Jamaica

: Warm waters, both coastal and the open ocean

The waters around Jamaica are a popular place to spot — and even swim with — wild bottlenose dolphins. Visitors have a very good chance of spotting wild dolphins on the boat trips from Treasure Beach, and on scuba diving trips in Negril. For a guaranteed dolphin experience, visit the dolphin lagoon at Half Moon.

Bottlenose Dolphin Where to See It Habitat

Morpho Butterfly

Forested areas

These beautiful blue, iridescent butterflies can be spotted in forested areas throughout the country. There are also a number of butterfly sanctuaries where visitors can see them, such as the one at Si Como No Resort.

Where to See It: Costa Rica Habitat:

: In the water (rivers, mangrove swamps and lakes) and on grasslands near water to eat

Hippos may seem cute, but they're actually quite dangerous and aggressive. Visitors can canoe by them on the Selina Canoe Trail in Botswana, but it's best to keep a wide berth, as hippos do attack humans.

Hippopotamus Where to See It: Selinda Spillway, Botswana Habitat

Crocodiles

: Rivers, lakes, and swampy areas

Costa Rica hosts a large population of crocodiles. Crocodiles are tolerant of saltwater, and can even be seen in brackish areas near Costa Rica's beaches. They don't often attack humans, but visitors should exercise extreme caution if they spot one. A safer way to get a look is to visit them at Si Como No Resort's wildlife refuge, where this photo was taken.

: Dominican Republic

: Parrots live in a wide range of habitats, including forests and even some cities.

The Dominican Republic has three native species of parrots, and is a popular bird watching destination. For those not patient enough to spend time watching for wild ones, some resorts — such as the Paradisus Palma Real — keep pet parrots visitors can meet.

Where to See Them: Costa Rica Habitat Parrot Where to See It Habitat

: Savannah, mountains, and woodland

Vervent monkeys live in East and Southern Africa in groups, so visitors will often see several — or many — vervet monkeys together.

Vervet Monkey Where to See It: Okavango Delta region, Botswana Habitat