Brazil: Jaguars and Wildlife of the Pantanal

Exploring the World’s Largest Wetland

Overview

The Pantanal of Brazil, the world’s largest tropical wetland, is a vast water-world of flooded grasslands, tropical savannas, and gallery forests that shelter phenomenal wildlife. Hundreds of rare and wildly colorful avian species nest in the Pantanal, caiman and capybara roam the meandering river banks, and the top predator in this hotspot of biodiversity is the majestic jaguar, the largest native cat in the New World, found here in great numbers. We bring you into the heart of the Pantanal for an incredible wildlife adventure, and unlike the Amazon, where wildlife can be hard to spot, the Pantanal has wonderfully open habitats. We’ve timed our trip for the dry season, when the waters recede, the wildlife is concentrated, and jaguars are found near the Paraguay River, where they come to drink, swim, and hunt. We’ll bring you to a remote lodge for this thrilling experience (avoiding the crowded Port Jofre area), and we explore by boat on the lookout for these magnificent creatures. Heading deeper in the Pantanal, we safari by 4WD vehicle and canoe in a riverine forest with extraordinary birdlife, including macaws and huge jabiru storks. With luck, we may see giant anteater and giant otter here as well. We combine our wildlife safari with hiking in the stunning “cerrado” ecosystem of Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park, a land of tropical savanna, sandstone cliffs, red-rock formations, and towering waterfalls. Here we’ll explore the canyons, valleys, and savannas, with opportunities for refreshing dips in some of the many waterfalls. Our accommodations include a forest ecolodge in the Pantanal reserve and a small, ideally located lodge in Chapada Dos Guimarães that brings us broad vistas across the park, with hiking trails all around us. This adventure with Brazilian naturalist Sergio Freitas is safari-style, with early morning starts for optimum wildlife viewing, mid-day breaks to avoid the afternoon heat, and late afternoon excursions. We may also have after-dinner outings to see nocturnal wildlife. Join us in Brazil for a phenomenal wildlife adventure!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
The Pantanal / Paraguay River / Jaguars in the Wild

Our drive on the remote road to our first lodge is a “safari” as we look for wildlife and spectacular birds, possibly including roseate spoonbill. Arriving at our riverside lodge, we take excursions along the Paraguay River and around Taiama Ecological Reserve, a river island noted for its thriving population of jaguar. The lodge is in a secluded area of the Pantanal, away from crowded jaguar-viewing lodges, and brings us fantastic sightings. The jaguars find their favorite prey, the capybara, here, along with crocodile-like caiman. The abundance of Pantanal wildlife includes ocelots, giant river otters, and a kaleidoscope of tropical birds. And unlike the Amazon, the Pantanal has a wide-open habitat, which makes for easier viewing and photography.

Hotel Deville
Cuiabá, Brazil
Day 1 (1 night)
Hotel Baiazinha
Caceres, Brazil
Days 2 to 4 (3 nights)
Days 5-7
Riverine Forest Wildlife / Aymara Lodge

Heading to a riverine forest region renowned among wildlife photographers and birders, our explorations are on foot or by canoe as we look for mammals from tapir to anteater and river otter. The host of avians including all five species of the South American kingfisher and the sought-after hyacinth macaw, the largest parrot species in the world. Our lodge is a forest gem with wildlife all around.

Aymara Lodge
Poconé, Brazil
Days 5 to 7 (3 nights)
Days 8-10
Hiking in Chapada Dos Guimarães

Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is a wild realm of red-rock formations and tumbling waterfalls. On daily hikes, we explore the tablelands and tropical savanna, with opportunities for refreshing dips in some of the many cascades. At the 300-foot-high Veu da Noiva waterfall, we’ll look for avians including channel-billed toucan and blue-winged and red-and-green macaw. Our ecolodge is set on 1,200 acres of private land. Depart on Day 10 via Cuiabá.

Pousada do Parque
Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park, Brazil
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

See jaguars in the wild along the banks of the Paraguay River
Witness spectacular birds, from hyacinth macaws to roseate spoonbills
Look for giant anteater, capybara, caiman, and giant river otter
Hike in the stunning landscape of Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
Enjoy overnights in cozy wildlife lodges

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Cuiabá, Brazil
Depart: Cuiabá, Brazil
Lodging: 1 night hotel, 8 nights wildlife lodges
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Easy nature walks and light hikes in a hot and humid Pantanal climate, river excursions by motorboat and canoe, hikes in Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park

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