Many Hawaiian birds are rare and endangered including this tiny Hawaiian Honeycreeper. Jack Jeffrey
Welcome to the Travel with a Challenge bird, nature and wildlife vacation showcase, a unique collection of the best in travel ecotourism. Just click on individual images or titles below to enter each richly-illustrated, educational and entertaining feature story.
Bear watching vacations inspire memorable nature pictures. Jeff Foott, Natural Habitat Adventures
Feel free to explore our other Travel Theme Pages for vacations well suited to senior travelers, their families and friends. Please click on image buttons or titles below to read each educational inspiring article, taking readers to Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Canada’s Northwest Passage and more.
Lonely Planet Recommends Sustainable Escapes
Sustainable Escapes is a new guidebook perfectly suited to our time as both an inspiration and a call to action. From recommendations by many of Lonely Planet’s seasoned authors, we spotlight a selection of the nearly 180 escapes in countries around the world. Whether you are looking for wildlife spotting, sustainable dining, conservation action, homestays or just a relaxing holiday, this article will show the way. Button: Galapagos sea lion. ©guentergun/Getty Images
Meet the Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea
Here is a fantastical marine mammal to add to the bucket list of nature lovers willing to travel to the Canadian High Arctic for close-up encounters with the narwhal whale. Mathew Whitelaw reveals some surprising facts and remaining mysteries associated with this animal.
Where in the World is Squamish?
Anyone traveling between Vancouver and Whistler along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway has passed by Squamish, British Columbia. Year round, it is an extraordinary destination in itself with river rafting and wildlife viewing, a world-class mine museum, a massive railway heritage park, a mountain gondola, a craft beer tasting trail, and character accommodations that reflect a small town atmosphere. Button: ©Garry Broekling / Tourism Squamish
Scuba Diving Belize Coral Reefs
The Mesoamerican coral reef is the second longest in the world and 80% of it is in the coastal waters of Belize. Join scuba diver, Catherine Evans, for an introduction to the unique species of fish, coral, marine mammals and other reef dwellers that call the reef home, and to learn about the urgent challenges they face.
This Central American country is rare in the world, with an enviable 25% of its land set aside as national parks and reserves. Book a community-based eco-lodge holiday to immerse in nature at its most impressive with animals, birds, rich habitat and river explorations all near at hand.
Costa Rica tree frog image: © La Quinta Sarapiquí Lodge.
Embrace the Arctic on a Northwest Passage Cruise
Adventurous travelers will want to discover a 17-day expedition cruise navigating the waters of Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, and down the west coast of Greenland. Veteran expedition cruisers, John and Sandra Nowlan, share their delight in exploring the wildlife, geology and indigenous cultures that makes this a unique experience not to be missed.
Asian elephants are not only a species at risk in Southeast Asian countries, they are also captured in the wild, trained using unacceptablly cruel techniques and kept in poor health and safety conditions for decades. Educating travelers and tour operators about removing elephant entertainments and activities from travel itineraries is a worthy goal that is gaining traction.
The Walrus is eminently recognizable in print photos and on nature shows because of its huge bulk and long protruding tusks. However, few travelers have ever glimpsed it in the wild nor appreciate why this circumpolar marine mammal should be on their viewing bucket list. We offer insights and images that could well change your mind. Photo by Nathalie Lasselin.
While the vast majority of wildlife safaris in eastern and southern Africa rely on vehicles to track the amazing animals that are the highlight of every trip, sometimes a walking exploration can lead to unexpected adventures too. Our safari writer, Elaine Mays, shares her tale from Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Videography expert, Janice Davis, shares her personal insights from leading safaris in South Africa’s parks and offers insider tips on capturing video highlights of your own adventures that you will be proud to show. For novices and seasoned hobbyists, Janice’s short video clips illustrating each tip are inspirational and educational even with the simplest digital camera – don’t miss them!
Bird Watching is one of the world’s most popular activities. Traditionally, most of it has been land-based, but increasingly small-ship cruises are being recognized as an ideal platform for spotting birds both while at sea and in remote places where land access is best made from a ship’s landing craft. An expert shares his five favorite destinations for small-ship bird viewing around the world.
When salmon return from the sea to migrate up British Columbia rivers, thousands of majestic Bald eagles know the best places to congregate to feast on the fish. Julie Ferguson shares her experience of one of the best organized wildlife festivals on Canada’s west coast to celebrate this annual event.
For nature lovers the world over, whale watching is often high on their bucket list of vacation goals. The good news is that different species congregate in different waters of the planet in different months of the year, making it easy to view and learn about these amazing mammals. See our recommended whale spotting regions and what species you will likely meet at each one.
Environmentalist, photographer and author, Uwe Skrzypczak, has written an inspiring, beautifully-illustrated and educational book to encourage African safari travelers (as well as all wildlife lovers) to elevate their photos from random vacation snapshots to outstanding images that capture the moment.
Join scuba diver and writer, Doug Olthof, for a whale (shark) of an experience as he discovers the variety and beauty of Thailand’s reefs and rocks on a five-day liveaboard dive boat holiday full of delightful surprises. Even if you are not a diver, you won’t want to miss these amazing images taken around the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock.
Move over Africa’s “Big Five” for an introduction to New Zealand’s own smallest and rarest species of birds, marine mammals and reptiles in the world. Read their unique stories of survival and you will surely want to see these comeback heroes for yourself with a trip to Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, as named by the indigenous Maori long before the European settlers arrived.
Join anthropologist and travel writer, Susan Stafford, as she explores the upper reaches of Peru’s Amazon Basin. Abundant wildlife viewing, pink-toed tarantulas, colorful stinkbirds, and visits to isolated Amazon villages are all accomplished from a comfortable river boat custom-built for international visitors navigating in a challenging environment.
Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s best known destinations for unique wildlife. Find out which animals island visitors have selected as their Favorite Five in 2008 out of 29 types of land birds, 19 different sea birds and dozens of land and marine mammals, many rare or in danger of extinction.
Book author and adventure traveler, Dorothy Conlon shares her educational volunteer experience of a 15-day Earthwatch cheetah rescue program in Namibia, where creating a safe, sustainable environment for the fastest animal on earth is a race against extinction.
Explore Scottish highland history and ancient archaeology, encounter nature up close, and learn about environmental challenges at Scotland’s Aigas Field Centre, where hosts, Sir John Lister-Kaye and his wife, Lady Lucy, offer warm, personal hospitality to guests staying on their historic property.
In this illustrated profile of Trinidad and Tobago eminent bird photographer, author and conservationist, Roger Neckles, he shares with our readers his own powerful images of some of the islands most unique, colorful and exotic birds, and his personal observations about each species.
Distinguishing itself from other Caribbean destinations, Trinidad offers rural, natural area tourism, with local guides and hosts to showcase inaccessible regions for more adventurous visitors of all ages. Bat caves, rainforest swamps, waterfalls, river kayaking, hill hiking, and mountain bike trails are all on the menu!
Our senior contributor, Keith Stelter, proves that California’s venerable Yosemite National Park has plenty to offer the active nature explorer from horseback riding adventures in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to hiking through deep valley gorges and around spectacular waterfalls in this world-class destination.
Join Lucia Appleby for an impulsive stopover on the island of Rarotonga in the South Pacific where she finds rare birds, rare people and a fragile environment where a successful transition to tourism will require dedicated community input.
Enjoy this fact-filled introduction to bears and bear watching vacations, including descriptions of operators who offer low impact, educational ecotours where bears are the star attractions. Then check the other two segments of this triple feature on bear watching vacations.
Join travel journalist, Alison Gardner, for an exploration of Kangaroo Island, one of Australia’s lesser known ecotourism treasures, where rare animals, sea mammals and birds enjoy a spectacular geological frontier.
World-class photojournalist and marine mammal specialist, Jean-Pierre Sylvestre, shares his memorable encounters with whales, dolphins, walruses, seals, orcas, manatee and even a swimming polar bear in a natural environment where photography is always a challenge.
Shirley LaPlanche shares her encounters with nesting turtles and an abundance of other natural residents on a recent visit to this unique coral island ecosystem located on the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast.
Learn how researchers are identifying dozens of ways that African elephants communicate up close and over vast distances, and pick an educational safari to observe for yourself these fascinating giants in the wild.
Complementing our multi-faceted feature on Hawaii, Travel with a Challenge peaks through the lens of Hawaii’s pre-eminent nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey, and shares his observations on the endangered and threatened wildlife of these islands he calls home.
Doreen Pendgracs learned to obey the “number one rule” on the south shore of Hudson Bay in the Churchill region of Northern Manitoba, Canada, where the primary attraction is the always fascinating polar bear.
Join adventure journalist, Peter Aiken, for a two-park South African safari that leaves the four-wheel drive vehicle parked back at the campsite while participants strike out on foot to track wildlife on its own terms.
Naturalist and photographer, Jean-Pierre Sylvestre, encounters plenty of grizzly bears, killer whales and unexpected adventures when he visits British Columbia’s remote Knight Inlet Lodge floating on the sea.
Check out our other theme pages, clustering richly-illustrated feature articles by travel theme or regional destination:
Travel Adventures in Africa
Sleeping with History Accommodations
Multi-Generational Family Travel
South Pacific destinations
Cruise and Train Travel
Asia and India destinations
Wellness and Spiritual vacations.