Our Pantanal Wildlife Tour takes you the world’s largest wetland, covering almost 230,000 square kilometres (or 88,000 square miles) right in the geographic middle of South America. Sprawling across Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, the wetlands extend for about 375 miles (600 km) north-to-south along the banks of the upper Paraguay River and several of its tributaries.
The Pantanal is home to an astonishing amount of fauna and flora; 700 bird species, about 3 500 plant species, 9 000 invertebrates, 325 fish species, 159 mammals, 53 amphibians and 98 reptiles. Among the roughly 700 species of birds that live in the region are the many species of Heron, Ibis, Duck, the Greater Rhea (South America’s largest flightless bird), and the Jabiru (the avian symbol of the Pantanal). The Pantanal is also home to the biggest parrot on the planet, the ridiculously blue Hyacinth Macaw. The beautiful wetland also provides sanctuary for the evocative Jaguar, Black-and-gold Howlers, Azaras’s Capuchin monkeys, Giant Anteaters, Marsh Deer, Lowland Tapirs, Capybaras, Giant Otters, Green Anacondas, Yacare Caimans (about 10 million of them!) and many other rare, endangered and fascinating creatures.
The Pantanal is a once-in-a-lifetime, top-of-the-bucket-list kind of place to visit, and this tour will highlight the absolute best that this incredible place has to offer.
|Starts in Cuiabá||Ends in Cuiabá||Duration: 11 Days||Next planned Departure: TBC|
Day 1 Cuiabá / Paço Das Onças Lodge
Day 2-3 Paço Das Onças Lodge
Day 4 Paço Das Onças / Ueso Lodge
Day 5 Ueso Lodge
Day 6-8 Porto Jofre area
Day 9 Porto Jofre / Pouso Alegre Lodge
Day 10 Pouso Alegre Lodge
Day 11 Return to Cuiabá
Day to Day Itinerary
Cuiabá airport to Paço Das Onças Lodge – You will arrive at the Marechal Rondon International Airport in Cuiabá, where you will meet your guide and transfer to the first stop on our trip.
Although we won’t see much of the city of Cuiabá, it is still a fascinating place. It is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and located near the geographical centre of South America. The city was founded in 1719, during the gold rush, and it has been the state capital since 1818. The city is a trading centre for an extensive cattle-raising and agricultural area. The capital is among the fastest-growing cities in Brazil, followed by the growth of agribusiness in Mato Grosso. Cuiabá was also one of the host cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The city is a rich mix of European, African and Native American influences and numerous museums reflect this. Cuiabá is also notable for its cuisine, dance, music and craftwork. Known as the “Southern gate to the Amazon”, Cuiabá experiences a hot humid tropical climate.
We are heading northwest to our lodge on the Brazil/Bolivia border, passing through places like Cáceres (with its popular fishing festival each September) and Pontes e Lacerda, whose municipality contains 73% of the 120,092 hectares (296,750 acres) Serra de Santa Bárbara State Park, created in 1997.
We will enjoy a restaurant stop for lunch on the way, and enjoy the amazing scenery all around us.
Upon arrival at the lodge, we will check in, have dinner and rest after a long day in the vehicle. Tomorrow our tour starts in earnest!
Paço Das Onças Lodge – We have two full days in this beautiful area to enjoy our surroundings and the amazing wildlife on offer here.
After breakfast each day we will go on a motorboat cruise, looking for species like the iconic and Endangered Amazon River Dolphin, Black Caiman and many Amazon rainforest endemic birds.
The Amazon River Dolphin Inia geoffrensis, also known as the boto, bufeo or pink river dolphin, is a species of toothed whale classified in the family Iniidae. The Amazon River Dolphin is the largest species of river dolphin, with adult males reaching 185 kilograms (408 lb) in weight, and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length. Adults acquire a pink color, more prominent in males, giving it its nickname “pink river dolphin”. They have one of the widest ranging diets among toothed whales, and feed on up to 53 different species of fish, such as croakers, catfish, tetras and piranhas. They also consume other animals such as river turtles, aquatic frogs, and freshwater crabs. The Amazon River Dolphin is also famous for its mythical place in local culture; there is an Amazonian legend that the dolphins stalk the rainforest at night disguised as handsome, white-hat wearing men (the hat is used to hide their blowhole) in order to seduce and impregnate innocent local women!
We will return to the lodge in the evenings to update our trip lists, have dinner and socialise.
Paço Das Onças Lodge to Ueso Lodge – We will start our day with breakfast and then set off towards our next destination.
We will head back where we came from on day one, driving through the city of Poconé. Poconé (locally known as Cidade Rosa (the Pink City) due to the bloom of its Pink Trumpet trees), is the main gateway into the Northern Pantanal. The municipality contains part of the Taiamã Ecological Station, as well as 57% of the 108,960 hectares (269,200 acres) Encontro das Águas State Park, created in 2004.
From there we hit the famous Transpantaneira road, a dirt road that transects the Northern Pantanal. The water ponds along this road attract mammals and also birds which congregate here in search for food (ﬁsh, snails, crabs, caimans) in the remaining water, making wildlife sightings easier and every drive a great safari. The photographic opportunities along the road are also some of the best on the planet!
We will check in and relax in the evening at our lodge while having dinner and socialising.
Ueso Lodge – We will enjoy an early morning safari, looking for various interesting mammals.
Thereafter we will have breakfast and then do some horseback riding!
After lunch we will do a local walking trail that includes an observation tower, from where we might spot some local wildlife.
After dinner we will enjoy another safari, where some of the nocturnal species might be seen.
Then we are off to bed to rest after an exciting day.
Ueso Lodge to Porto Jofre area – We will start the day with another early morning safari, and after that we return to the lodge for breakfast.
We will then enjoy another walking trail before lunch. After our meal we will check out and transfer to the Porto Jofre area, enjoying the beautiful sights along the way.
As we enter into the richest lower area of the Transpantaneira, plant and animal diversity increases. We could see herds of Capybara, and Yacare Caiman dwelling in streams and ponds by the roadside. We might even come across some remarkable reptiles, including Yellow Anaconda.
There is plenty of wildlife along the road, as we cover the entire Transpantaneira to reach Porto Jofre. It is a settlement at the southern end of the Transpantaneira Road, at Km 146, and is adjacent to wetlands with marshland habitats rich in waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wildlife. These are protected Ramsar Convention and World Heritage Sites.
We will check into our accommodation, have dinner and relax into the evening.
Porto Jofre area – After breakfast at the lodge each day we will head off on a very exciting excursion; we will go on a river tour to try and see Jaguar, Giant Otter and more!
We will have two full days devoted to boat safaris on the Cuiabá River and its tributaries, in order to maximize our chances of watching and photographing the mystical Jaguar in this area. Most sightings are made from the boat, and the animals normally offer good photo opportunities. The boat also offers excellent chances for other mammals and of course for a diverse array of colourful birds and stunning landscapes.
Our outings will always be during the day, cruising the rivers in search of Jaguars which often come to the river banks in search of food, water, or just to cool off in the water.
The Jaguar Panthera onca is the largest native cat species of the New World and the third largest in the world. This spotted cat closely resembles the Leopard, but is usually larger and sturdier. It ranges across a variety of forested and open terrains. As a keystone species it plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating prey populations. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers are declining.
We will return to the lodge for lunch and a siesta every day, and then do another river boat trip until sundown.
After our exciting days we will have dinner at the lodge and relax into the evening.
Porto Jofre to Pouso Alegre Lodge – After breakfast we will check out and continue our tour by heading to the final stay of our tour.
We are heading for Pouso Alegre Lodge, on Kilometre 33 of the Transpantaneira Road. It is situated on a traditional Pantanal cattle farm with an area of 8,000 hectares and great diversity of preserved Pantanal landscapes without any introduced species.
After our midday break we go on an afternoon safari in search of dry land mammals and some interesting birds. After dinner at the lodge tonight we could go on a night safari, looking for species such as Ocelot, Puma, Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Crab-eating Raccoon and many others
Pouso Alegre Lodge – We have a full morning to explore the many photo opportunities at this incredible place. It may be the Hyacinth Macaws around the Manduvi trees, Toucans or Aracaris eating on fruiting Papaya trees, and small mammals just by the lodge.
Also we will spend time photographing the hundreds of caimans on the small lake, and the Jabirus in their nest along the lodge’s 7km private road.
After lunch we might take our vehicle and discover some of the remote areas of this vast ranch. This ranch stands as the best spot to ﬁnd Giant Anteaters in the Northern Pantanal, and often offers close encounters with other species such as Red Brocket and Marsh Deer, South American Coati, White-lipped Peccary, Tayra and Tapir.
After dinner we could go on another night safari in search of mammals and other nocturnal wildlife which may yield good views of Great Horned Owl, Tropical Screech Owl, nightjars and pottoos along with many other possibilities.
We will once again have dinner and sociallise into the evening, enjoying our final night together in this magical place.
Return to Cuiabá and Departure/End of Tour – We will enjoy a final sunrise safari, where after we will have breakfast and do a last morning safari before lunch. We then check out and return to the airport or your hotel in Cuiabá for your flight home after a wonderful tour.