Let’s start with the big ones – elephants. You can’t get much bigger on land than that. Sri Lanka is one of the best places to spend time with these grey giants. We’d always recommend heading out to see them in the wild – here’s our guide on where to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka to get you started.
Fancy something with a bit more bite? How about adding some lions and tigers to the mix? If you head to Goa, you can see all three, with our 3-day tigers, tuskers and temples tour. Goa is famous for another mammal, too, of course – the cheeky monkey – so keep your eyes on the trees to spot them leaping about.
Closer to home, you might be surprised to learn that the Costa del Sol is a fantastic place for wildlife lovers. Andalucia’s Sierra de Andujar National Park is home to some impressive endangered species, including lynx, wolves, black vultures, and imperial eagles. And if you’re not lucky enough to spot these elusive creatures, you’ll still have a chance to see roe deer, wild boars, wild cats and Egyptian mongooses.
For something bigger than an elephant, you’ve got to head for the water and look for whales. One of the best countries for whale watching is Iceland, where you could see minke whales, humpback whales, blue whales and orcas. Hop onto a boat for one of our whale-watching tours and see if you get lucky. You may also spot dolphins or porpoises frolicking through the waves.
Finding a destination that’s located along a whale migration route is a great way up your chances of seeing them. And one of those routes passes by Portugal and the Azores. Stay in Porto Santo and you may even see a pod on your boat transfer from Madeira. Sperm whales, humpbacks, and even the mighty blue whale have all been seen in the area.
Our other favourite sea mammal is, of course, the dolphin. If you don’t see any in Iceland, along with the whales, head to Tenerife, where the fun-loving bottlenose dolphins are often spotted off shore. Or visit the quieter La Gomera for a whale-watching trip that offers the chance to see bottlenose, striped and rough-toothed dolphins, too.
The sea doesn’t just offer big – it also offers vibrant. For some of the planet’s best colours, find the perfect snorkelling spot and immerse yourself in another world.
Bathed in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is home to some of the most fabulous creatures the sea has to offer. You can find Nemo, giant clams, Picasso-esque trigger fish, and flittering butterflyfish just with a mask and snorkel. But, if you’re planning on diving, head to Flic En Flac on the west coast for some of the best dive sites on the island.
The Caribbean is a great destination for corals and tropical fish, but if you choose the Caribbean coast of Mexico, you’ll get a bit more diversity. Along the Riviera Maya, you can find coral beds and spectacular diving. Insider tip – look for the buoys and you’ll often find wonderful nurseries of baby fish sheltering from potential predators. You can also go to Casa Cenote in the jungle, for truly crystal clear waters that you won’t find in the sea. Look for fresh-water species that you don’t often get to see while snorkelling.
Are you a bit of a ‘twitcher’ or ‘twitterer’? We don’t mean someone who spends a lot of time on social media – we’re talking about someone who enjoys watching birds. If the toucans in Costa Rica don’t tickle your fancy, we’ve got a few other ideas for you.
The birds of Jamaica live up to the image of the rest of the island – bright and colourful. About 300 species of birds have been recorded here, many of them stopping by for their winter holidays. There are 30 species that are native to Jamaica, including the red-billed streamertail, which you’ll find darting through flowers. For other flying friends, Jamaica is also home to over 100 species of butterfly.
Where should you go if you prefer your critters more scaly than fluffy or feathery?
You could head to Florida, for a start. Take an airboat tour of the Everglades and see if you can spot one of the famous ‘gators’. But don’t stop there – the Everglades are home to over 50 species of reptile. Lizards, snakes, geckos, turtles, and terrapins all inhabit the swamps and surrounding areas.
Fly a little further south, to Cuba, and you’ll have over 130 species of reptile to discover. Around 90 of those are different types of lizard and the Rock Iguana is the most prevalent. It’s a big one, too, reaching up to five feet long. Some people keep them as pets, but you might be better off looking for them climbing trees or dashing about on Cuba’s limestone formations. Cuba’s also home to a large number of frog species – but they’re amphibians rather than reptiles, of course.
And if you’re still set on Costa Rica, find out why it’s the most eco-friendly place to visit.
Author: Natalie Howells
The beachfront TUI SENSATORI Riviera Cancun is famous for its gourmet restaurant, which serves 14-course meals. There’s also a chic Mojito Lounge.
If you want to add a luxury edge to your Florida break, the Vista Cay Resort by Millenium is just the ticket. It’s got an Italian design, tropical gardens, and the theme parks are only 10 minutes’ away by car.
Try the Hotel Jardin Tecina on the island of La Gomera. This clifftop hotel has a sea-level lido and it's a 10-minute walk from the Blue Flag Playa de Santiago.
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
More from TUI
About TUI MyTUI app Cookies Notice Privacy Notice Terms & Conditions Credit card fees Media Centre Travel Jobs Affiliates Discover Lakes & Mountains Discover Weddings App Store for Ios Google Play Store Travel Money Holiday Budget Calculator TUI Group TUI Credit Card First Choice Holiday Brochures Travel After Brexit Holiday Weather
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCOtravel and Facebook.com/FCOtravel
More information is available by checking /destinations/info/travel-aware
Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.travelhealthpro.org.uk.
The advice can change so check regularly for updates
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website.