Latin America Wildlife

Land Animals

The counts in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia are astounding: at least 250 mammal species, approximately 170 amphibian species, and over 220 species of reptiles inhabit each country. Keep your eyes peeled high and low—Latin America teems with life.

Photo of a red howler monkey seen by UnCruise Adventures guests in Latin America

Howler Monkeys

What’s that sound? If you hear a deep grunt or growl in the early morning or as the sun goes down, don’t be alarmed. That’s just a howler monkey letting the other monkeys know they’re in his territory. Much louder than a simple “no vacancy” sign, these howls can he heard up to three miles away. Howler monkeys have the claimed the titles as the loudest primates because of their unique enlarged hyoid bone which expands in their throats. They live in the jungles of Central and South America so be on the lookout on our Latin America cruises as well as spider and squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchins, Baird’s tapir, and two- and three-toed sloths.

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Tree Frogs

A fan favorite is the red-eyed tree frog of the rainforests of Latin America. These frogs camouflage themselves by closing their eyes and tucking in their brightly colored legs. When they sense a predator, they open their eyes and spread their toes, startling the predator. This technique called “startle coloration” shocks and confuses predators, giving the frog time to jump away.

Marine Animals

Whales migrate from both the northern and southern hemispheres making the Gulf of Panama, one of the best places for whale watching. From mangroves of Golfo Dulce to the coral reefs of the Guna Yala, there is a vast diversity of marine life supported in these waters.

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Humpback whales

From their aerobatic jumps—or breaches—to their enigmatic songs, humpback whales know how to draw a crowd Their distinctive call, or whale “song” which can sound like a moan, howl, or cry, can last as long as 20 minutes, be heard up to miles away, and is used to communicate or attract potential mates. Spot these massive creatures, up to 50 feet in length and weighing up to 50 tons, in groups called pods. Because they spend most of their time beneath the surface, you may see their tails, called flukes, sending them through and out of the water in a burst of air.

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Green Sea Turtles

Green sea turtles spend most of their lives below the surface of tropical waters. Females travel thousands of miles to mate and nest, typically choosing the same beach used by their mothers. After mating, the female digs a pit in the sand and fills it with 100 to 200 eggs, called a clutch. Once hatched, young sea turtles make their own journey from the sand to the water.