Brazil Private Journey

Jaguars of the Pantanal, plus Rio de Janeiro


The Pantanal, the world’s largest freshwater wetland, stretches across the western edge of Brazil to Bolivia and Paraguay in a remarkable maze sheltering more than 600 species of birds, 300 species of fish, and 80 species of mammals. On our wonderfully varied Private Journey, you’ll search for the elusive jaguar by boat and explore the meandering waterways of this surreal landscape. We chose the most secluded parts of the Pantanal that grant you incredible access to wildlife without crowds of other travelers. Round out your adventure in the vibrant capital city of Rio de Janeiro, visiting Corcovado Mountain where the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue looks out over the charismatic city.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Araras Eco Lodge, Pantanal

From Cuiabá airport, transfer to Araras Eco Lodge, a simple yet welcoming lodge set right on the edge of the Pantanal wetlands with amazing wildlife viewing. Activities here include hiking (there are more than 10 miles of trails), horseback riding, canoeing, and photo safaris by Jeep. On an evening Jeep safari, keep an eye out for some of the Pantanal’s interesting nocturnal animals.

Araras Eco Lodge
Pantanal, Brazil
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-6
Exploring the Paraguay River by Riverboat

Each day holds new experiences as you make your way through the maze of lesser-traveled channels and waterways of the Pantanal’s Paraguay River. Set out to explore Taiama Reserve Island and hidden lagoons, with almost guaranteed jaguar sightings as they prowl the terrain on half-day excursions from the hotel. Jaguar are solitary animals and the boat truly gives the best access to see them as they make their way to the water’s edge to rest, drink, or to hunt caiman and capybara. We chose this section of the Pantanal for its seclusion from other boats. This is especially crucial during your search for jaguars, where more boats can make these wildlife experiences seems like a zoo rather than a wild encounter.

Hotel Baiazinha
Caceres, Brazil
Days 3 to 6 (4 nights)
Days 7-10
Rio de Janeiro

Fly to Rio de Janeiro, nicknamed Ciudade Maravilhosa or “Marvelous City.” Music is the heartbeat of the city and buildings combine 16th- to 19th-century architecture that creates a lovely Old and New World ambience. While here you’ll visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, perched on top of Corcovado and towering more than a hundred feet high, the Tijuca Forest National Park in the heart of Rio, which protects the largest urban forest in the world, and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), where you’ll savor outstanding views of the city. You can also explore the Santa Teresa neighborhood, with its narrow cobblestone streets, eccentric art, and bohemian vibe. Depart on Day 10.

Arena Copacabana Hotel
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)
PortoBay Rio Internacional (Optional Upgrade)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Days 7 to 9 (3 nights)



Explore the World Heritage Site of the Pantanal by foot and boat
Amazing wildlife viewing, including the elusive jaguar
Visit the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking all of Rio de Janeiro
Stroll the cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa, the bohemian outpost of Rio


Length: 10 days
Cost From: $5895  
Arrive: Cuiabá
Depart: Rio de Janeiro
Lodging: 6 nights eco lodge and 3 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included except 3 lunches and 3 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations, walking tours, day hikes, river explorations by boat