Jaguars of the Pantanal


A well-kept secret of wildlife lovers and nature photographers around the world, the Pantanal shines as Brazil’s best region for animal watching. The world’s largest floodplain has an incredible quantity of birds, reptiles and big mammals because of its rich geography.

It’s a seasonal wetland that spends part of the year underwater and all its natural species are adapted to this reality. For photographers and those looking to get up close with animals that exist only in one of the last large untouched natural reserves on Earth, the dry season is paradise.

From May to October, immense flocks of birds come in search of fish, as some 200 species reside in the temporary lagoons and oxbow lakes. These birds include roseate spoonbills, wood storks and jabirus. Caimans and capybaras in turn are drawn to the water by the birds. And at the top of this food chain is the much sought-after jaguar.

This abundance of food and diversity is particularly evident in the Northern Pantanal, homeland of the jaguar – known here as the onça-pintada  – the largest and most elusive feline in the Americas. Also, the giant otters, neotropical otters, greater rhea and other species aren’t scared off by human presence.

Also, the fact that there are no hills in these open plains make the scenery even better for spotting wildlife. During the dry season, there is the added bonus of the beautiful ipê trees in bloom. Those interested in cultural differences get to observe the daily lives of the “pantaneiros,” local cowboys who engage in a seasonal work-life herding cattle in the wetlands.

Tour Highlights

  • Intensive viewing and photography – Up Close And Personal – Jaguars, Giant Otters, Caiman, Macaws, Tapirs, Storks, and a wide variety of birds and other wildlife
  • Early morning and late afternoon photo shoots to take advantage of the best light, watching and waiting for wildlife in just the right setting
  • Custom designed itinerary
  • Comfortable safari accommodation, most locations equipped with wifi
  • 2 to 14-seater boat available for the Jaguar-searching portion of our Pantanal Safari
  • Count on assistance from SouthQuest’s naturalist guides who have vast experience with the local wildlife and photography expeditions
  • Optional hands-on photography assistance by Brazilian NatGeo photographers

Suggested itinerary

DAY 1 - Cuiabá (-, -, -)

Arrival at Cuiabá airport (CGB). Transfer to the hotel, check-in and overnight. Cuiabá is the state capital of Mato Grosso and is served by daily flights from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian hubs.

DAY 2 - Cuiabá - Poconé (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Poconé, the last town before we get on the Transpantaneira park road. Since we drive through the Transpantaneira there are great chances to see the Pantanal’s wildlife such as ringed kingfisher, American wood stork, marsh deer and more. Usually our first stop is the Piuval lodge, an old ranch with 7.000 ha. In this place we have the chance to visit different ecosystems of the biome Pantanal, open grassland, beautiful trails into the forests and nice roads for a driving game. Piuval lodge is home for hundreds species of birds, mammals and also every year jaguars are spotted there, nests of hyacinth macaw around and inside the forest, and definitely the best place to photograph the giant anteater in the Northern Pantanal.

DAY 3 - Poconé - Porto Jofre (B, L, D)

After morning activities and lunch, we’ll depart for Porto Jofre (3,5 hours driving), our base for the next few days. We can make a few stops along the way to photograph the wildlife. Porto Jofre is the end of the Transpantaneira park road and the edge of the Cuiabá river. This is the home of the largest cat of the Americas, the mighty Jaguar.

DAYS 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Porto Jofre (B, L, D)

Full days dedicated to navigate through the Cuiabá river and its tributaries in search of the Jaguars and the riverine fauna. Here you will spend some time on a skiff with an experienced local naturalist, who will wind you through a maze of waterways, deep into jaguar territory for very dependable sightings, positioning the boat for the best angle to afford you fantastic viewing and photo opportunities. Although the focus of this tour is on Jaguars, you will also see and photograph some rare and iconic species, such as Giant River Otter, Neotropical Otter, Tapir, Yellow-Billed Tern, Black Skimmer, Herons, Anaconda and much more!

DAY 8 - Porto Jofre - Poconé (B, L, D)

Driving back on the Transpantaneira road to a new lodge which is a cozy place settled inside a deciduous forest just beside a “corixo” and Pantanal Chanel, where we’ll be surrounded by lots of birds! Key species: Woodpeckers, Woodcrepers, Parrots and Parakeets, Agami Heron and Marmosets.

DAY 9 - Poconé - Cuiabá - Departure (B, -, -)

Early morning check-out and drive back straight to the airport in Cuiabá. Here we can take the flight back to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro and connections.

Quick Facts

  • Northern Pantanal, Brazil
  • May to October
  • Nature Photography
  • Natural History
  • Individuals & Groups
  • All physical levels

Contact Us

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