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Jaguar in Pantanal

Brazil: Jaguars & Rainforest

Nature & Wildlife
Land-Based Expeditions
Jaguar in Pantanal

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Brazil: Jaguars & Rainforest

Iconic wildlife, epic rainforests and sweeping wetland reserves are what await you on International Expeditions’ Brazil adventure combining two iconic areas of Brazil – Pantanal and Amazon – into one exceptional journey of a lifetime, replete with daily adventure and rewarding experiences. 

Listen for the raucous and boisterous hyacinth macaw. Observe bands of curious and timid capybara up to 100 strong. Watch for anteater and deer in the fields as well as over 600 species of birds and five species of monkeys in the trees.  Most of all, Pantanal is where high jaguar density and increasing rates of habituation combine to give you the best chance anywhere in the world of spotting wild jaguar.

Journey into the heart of biodiversity itself when you visit the world-renowned Brazilian Amazon. Stay at an award-winning ecolodge and enjoy a variety of wildlife viewing activities including a canopy tower, countless streams and numerous forest trails offering you the extraordinary chance to observe Amazonian wildlife at its finest…these treasures include endemics such as white-cheeked spider monkey, red nosed saki and crimson-bellied conure.  

Optional Pre-Trip Extensions

Araras Extension

Daily Itinerary

Brazil Itinerary

  • Day
    1-2

    Depart Home City / Cuiaba

    Depart your home city on independent flights to Cuiaba.  Upon arrival, you are met and escorted to Hotel Deville Prime Cuiaba, your home for the night.  Consider joining our Pantanal optional extension at Araras EcoLodge to get even more from your time in this amazing region. (Meals Aloft / Day 2: D)

  • Day
    3

    Transpantaneira Highway / Pantanal

    Accompanied by your expert naturalist Expedition Leader, you are driven along the Transpantaneira Highway to Porto Jofre, spotting wildlife along the way. The Pantanal is the largest continuous wetland on the planet and was declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.  This is South America's primary wildlife sanctuary! With a total area of approximately 150,000 km² and located in the center of the continent, the Pantanal is a biogeographic mixing bowl containing elements of the Amazon rainforest, Caatinga, Brazilian savannah, Atlantic rainforest and Paraguayan Chaco. This fantastic biodiversity includes 698 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, 260 species of fish and 50 species of reptiles. The Transpantaneira Highway traverses the full length of the Pantanal between Poconé and Porto Jofre and is the only road through the area. Stop for wildlife viewing as well as lunch along the way to Hotel Porto Jofre, your home for the next three nights. (B,L,D)

    brazil pantanal photos jaguar
  • Day
    4-5

    Pantanal

    Board small motorboats to explore along the Three Brothers, Cuiabá, and Piquirí Rivers, which form Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park, one of the Pantanal’s largest protected areas. Naturalist-guided water safaris give you the best photographic opportunities as well as the highest chances of observing the wild jaguar, often seen along the river banks. Many of the cats have become quite used to boat traffic and people and with a population of over 60 individuals this area has become a hotbed for spotting the elusive cats in their natural habitat. During excursions, you will also encounter other interesting wildlife. Watch for giant river otter, caiman, tapir, anaconda, howler monkey, capybara and many bird species.  (B,L,D Daily)

  • Day
    6

    Cuiaba / Alta Floresta / Amazon

    Return to Cuiaba early this morning for your group flight to Alta Floresta, perched on the edge of immense old-growth rainforests that make up Brazil's southern Amazon. Incredible numbers of birds, mammals, butterflies and more make this one of the most biodiverse and rewarding places in the world to visit. Journey by road and water to your home for three nights, Cristalino Lodge. Set on a private reserve of 44 square miles, Cristalino was voted one of the World's Best Ecolodges by readers of National Geographic Traveler and is renowned for its conservation work as well as quality of experience. (B,L,D)

    Jungle walk at Cristalino Lodge
  • Day
    7-8

    Amazon

    During your three-night stay you'll venture out into the forest and experience all this unique ecosystem has to offer. Because this region lies between 300 and 450 meters above sea level, the rivers do not generally flood the forests. For this reason, the predominant vegetation is evergreen forest (terra firma) with tall and well-formed trees. In addition to evergreen forest, five other distinct vegetation types are found on the lodge's private reserve. Combine that with the proximity of the Pantanal and the Cerrado and you wind up with high levels of species diversity and population density...offering visitors to this special place a unique opportunity to view species that inhabit three different regions. A large number of endemic species, such as the white-cheeked spider monkey, red-nosed saki, cryptic forest falcon, crimson-bellied conure, and black-girdled barbet can be found only in this area. Explore the many trails and waterways Cristalino has to offer, climbing to canopy towers for bird's eye views and visiting a site naturally rich in minerals. This area is favored by large forest mammals such as the South American tapir, collared peccary, white-lipped peccary, giant anteater and the southern tamandua. (B,L,D Daily)

  • Day
    9

    Amazon / Sao Paulo

    After a morning hiking in the forest you'll return to Alta Floresta to fly south to São Paulo. Spend tonight at Marriott Sao Paulo Airport. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    10

    Sao Paulo / Depart

    Enjoy a morning at leisure before you are transferred to airport for your independent flights home. (B)

  • Day
    11

    Arrive Home City

    Arrive North America and connect to your independent flights home. (Meals Aloft)

Optional Post-Trip Extensions

Iguazu Falls Extension

Things to Know

What is included in IE's Brazil?

Included in the price of your trip are the following.

Accommodations, excursions, meals and transportation as listed in the itinerary
Services of a private IE Expedition Leader and local guides
Park and entrance fees
Arrival and departure transfers between the group hotel and airport no matter what day or time
One soft drink or local beer per person per included lunch and dinner
Bottled water on excursions, group transfers, at included lunches and dinners and in rooms daily
All gratuities to group service staff except your IE Expedition Leader

What is the activity level for IE's Brazil tour?

A trip to Brazil requires good health and mobility. You’ll enjoy excursions on foot and by boat.

You’ll explore the Porto Jofre area by boat, with seat back and sun shade. The boats hold only a few people so there is no WC available onboard. Your excursions are half day here. Little walking is required here but you do need the stamina to get into and out of the boats. The road between Cuiaba and Porto Jofre is mainly a dirt road (the Transpantaneira Highway) and is the only way in and out of the region. It is very bumpy in places and you’ll cross several small wooden bridges.  

In the Cristalino area of the Amazon you’ll explore on foot and by boat. There is a canopy walkway that requires you climb several flights of stairs. Otherwise, walking is mainly flat but over uneven ground. 

Walks/hikes are typically early in the morning and late in the afternoon, though some mid-day activity may be included. You will need to be able to walk and stand for up to three hours at a time. While we have time scheduled for rest and recuperation, your itinerary has a steady and robust pace, involving activities and transportation in such a way to ensure you have maximized opportunity to interact with the wildlife and local culture while allowing for time to recuperate. We urge you to listen to your body. If you are feeling too tired to partake in a particular activity, sit it out and let your body recuperate so that you can fully enjoy the rest of your trip.

What is the expected weather during IE's Pantanal tour?

Because you are visiting two separate and distinct ecosystems in one trip, you can expect a variety of weather. Your trip is schedule for the start of the dry season in the Pantanal, when it becomes easier to see wildlife and to travel through the countryside. The same is true in the Amazon where intermittent showers occur nearly every day but where you’ll have better boat access to wetlands and temporarily flooded forests before the waters recede in later months. It will be hot and humid here.

Is IE's Brazil a "birding" trip?

This is not a birding-only trip. Our expedition is designed to provide opportunities to view as many types of wildlife as possible, from amphibians and reptiles to mammals and insects.  However, birds are ubiquitous and prolific, as well as beautiful and interesting, in the places you will be visiting.  As such, birds are a highlight and you can expect to enjoy seeing as many species as possible while still enjoying the other wildlife the region has to offer.

Do you offer optional extensions to IE's Brazil?

We do offer optional extensions to other wonderful places in the region to enhance and complete your experience, should you choose to do so. Information on these extensions is listed on the webpage for this program and feel free to contact our office for more info. 

Are you able to customize a trip to Brazil to feature destinations and activities of my choice?

Yes! If our Brazil itinerary does not suit your desires please contact our Custom Department where a specialist can craft the kind of experience that will make your adventure the trip of a lifetime.

Accommodations

Hotel Deville Prime Cuiaba

Hotel Deville Prime Cuiaba

15 minutes from the airport, Deville Cuiabá is at the center of the capital of the state of Mato Grosso. The hotel features 174 rooms, outdoor swimming pool, bar, full spa, fitness center, convenience store and business center.  Deluxe rooms feature free Wi-Fi, AC, LCD TV with cable, mini bar and hair dryer.

Golden Tulip Pantanal

Golden Tulip Pantanal

The hotel Golden Tulip Pantanal is strategically located in the heart of Cuiaba. Rooms feature free Wi-Fi access, AC, minibar, TV with cable channels, bathroom with shower, hairdryer and safe deposit box. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, 24-hour room service, and business center.

brazil pantanal accommodations porto jofre hotel

Porto Jofre Hotel

Known as both Porto Jofre Hotel and Hotel Pantanal Norte, guests here enjoy a privileged location at the end of the Transpantaneira Highway and on the banks of the Cuiaba River.  The 28 air-conditioned rooms include TV, minifridge, porch with hammock, and telephone. The hotel features a pool, business center, a small convenience store.

Cristalino Lodge

Cristalino Lodge

Cristalino Lodge is considered one of the best ecolodges in Brazil and was voted one of the 25 best ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler. The lodge sits on the banks of the Cristalino River in a private reserve, strategically located next to a state park and a government reserve comprising over 5 million acres of pristine wilderness. The lodge has been carefully designed to integrate harmoniously with the surrounding jungle, so that guests can enjoy the accommodations and public areas in an exotic yet comfortable environment that caters to their needs, with a cozy bed, refreshing baths, a soothing hammock, and every convenience close at hand. The facilities include an extensive trail system, a 50m tower that rises above the forest canopy, and a clean black-water river where one can canoe and swim. The bar, with an inviting log fire burning in the middle of its riverside deck, provides a view of the night sky full of stars, while the restaurant complements the experience by serving delicious candlelight dinners. Well-trained resident guides assist visitors in finding interesting wildlife and to interpret what they see. The tastefully decorated rooms and bungalows provide all the necessary comforts and amenities. In addition to practicing responsible tourism, the hotel supports the Cristalino Foundation, an organization devoted to environmental education, human development, minimizing human impact on the environment and carrying out research in the region. Everything is geared towards sustainability through tourism, helping you to integrate with nature.

Pullman Sao Paulo Airport Hotel

Pullman Sao Paulo Airport Hotel

Conveniently located just five minutes from Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, the Marriott features the functionality of an airport hotel with the exceptional service guests have come to expect from the Marriott brand. Hotel amenities include two acclaimed restaurants, an on-site business center, outdoor swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness room with cardio equipment, free weights and complimentary fitness classes. 316 guest rooms are designed with sophistication and comfort in mind and feature plush bedding, spacious work desks, LCD televisions and 24-hour room service.

brazil pantanal accommocations hotel das cataratas

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel located within Iguacu National Park, with world famous Iguacu Falls just a stroll away. As the only hotel within the national park, guests are able to enjoy exclusive access to the falls each morning before the park opens. The hotel features a large swimming pool and is surrounded by tropical gardens where delicate orchids grow. Due to the spray from the cascading waters of the falls, the area is very lush and there is abundant tropical vegetation. The Itaipu Restaurant offers a selection of both traditional Brazilian delicacies and international cuisine. 24-hour room service is also offered. The Bar Tarobá is ideal for an early evening drink, which can be taken inside or on the outdoor veranda. The hotel has 102 superior rooms located throughout the property, all featuring free Wi-Fi access, polished wooden floors, air-conditioning, LCD TV, DDD and DDI direct dial telephone, mini-bar, individual safe, radio alarm clock, hairdryer, and 110 volt sockets for shavers.

brazil pantanal photos araras ecolodge breakfast

Araras EcoLodge

Araras Ecolodge is built in regional rustic style, offering comfortable, air-conditioned rooms, screened windows, ceiling fans, private bathrooms (cold and hot shower) and outdoor sitting area with hammock. The lodge features a swimming pool with an adjacent covered area for meals, and the restaurant serves regional fare made from the tasty meat and fish of the Pantanal, as well as featuring organic salads, vegetables and seasonal fruits. Araras Ecolodge is a true pioneer of ecotourism, where guests can see conservation practices in action. The lodge’s environmental protection projects include monitoring, educating locals and planting manduvis (the tree where hyacinth macaws nest) trees to encourage increased populations of hyacinth macaws; protecting the endangered giant river otters of the Rio Clarinho by preventing deforestation, stopping the use of motorboats, and purchasing land along the river to create a private reserve; and extensive recycling programs.

Field Leaders

brazil pantanal guides helder brandao

Helder Brandão

Expedition Leader

Helder (pronounced "Elder") was born in São Paulo, where he earned his degree in Biology. In 2006, Helder traveled to the Pantanal as a naturalist tour guide, fell in love with the region and became head guide for a local ecolodge. He developed great skills in birdwatching and for years guided International Expedition groups before becoming Environmental Manager at the same lodge, where he developed environmental projects and worked on environmental certifications. Helder is again leading groups throughout Brazil and we are proud to feature him on our program.  He has a deep passion for his native country, flora and fauna and enjoys sharing info and time with IE guests.

Regina Ribeiro

Regina Ribeiro

Expedition Leader

Regina’s great interest in nature and travel led her to get a degree in Tourism Business, concentrating her studies on environmental sciences, eco-tourism and biology. Since 1996 she has been leading wildlife and nature photography trips into the various eco-systems of Brazil, her native country, as well as other places in South America. She is well-known for her ability to spot wildlife and interpret natural history. Her naturalist skills, along with her warm and friendly personality, have made her an IE favorite, very popular among our guests. She has published articles about birds and is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge with others.

Brazil guide Fred Tavares

Fred Tavares

Expedition Leader

Fred has completed extensive study in biology, the primates of southeastern Brazil and the ecology of the Pantanal region, and holds a degree from Izabela Hendrix University in Belo Horizonte. He has been a naturalist guide since 1999, with particular emphasis on southeastern Brazil, along with Pantanal and Amazon areas. Fred is known as a leading instructor on natural history guiding and interpretation techniques, and has taught many courses on those subjects. He possesses an enormous enthusiasm for his work to go with his vast knowledge of Brazilian wildlife. He is enthusiastic and tireless! He has represented Brazil in two international bird races held in Peru and is an avid soccer fan.

Wildlife

Squirrel Monkey

Tarantula

The Green Anaconda

Capybara

Black Caiman

Amazon Kingfisher

From: $6,998 per person
Duration
11 Days, 10 Nights
Guest Capacity
18 Guests
Trip Type
Land
Expedition Destinations

Trip Highlights

  • Exciting & comprehensive combination of Brazil's best wildlife areas
  • Excursions in Porto Jofre where jaguars are frequently found on the riverbanks
  • Explore the jungle floor, serene waterways & canopy towers of the Brazilian Amazon from an award-winning lodge
  • Expert leadership of a private IE Expedition Leader & local guides throughout