About This Trip
- The Pantanal holds the world's highest density of wild jaguars. Unlike in other areas, jaguars here are active during the day, offering excellent chances to see these elusive cats in the wild.
- Along the way we also expect to see giant river otters, anteaters, tapir, capybaras, hyacinth macaw, and the world’s largest stork, the jabiru, among other wildlife.
- Our final day is spent at the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge where more than 300 bird species have been recorded.
- Our expedition is guided by award-winning nature photographer Pete Oxford, who has been guiding expeditions to the Pantanal for years.
Join us as we explore the incredible Pantanal in Brazil, the world's largest tropical wetland, with renowned wildlife photographer and Pantanal expert, Pete Oxford. Our Brazilian adventure starts and ends in Cuiabá, the northern access point to the Pantanal.
In a region that boasts perhaps the world’s highest density of jaguars, we offer you the opportunity to look into the eyes of this majestic cat. When not in pursuit of jaguars you may find yourself in the company of endangered giant river otters and tapirs, the once-endangered Hyacinth Macaw, or a plethora of capybara, spectacled caiman, and birds of all descriptions.
The northern Pantanal offers the best opportunities for jaguar sightings in the world, and your trip leaders were among the first people to photograph wild jaguars in the region (the photos adorned National Geographic, including the cover). The most reliable way to find and photograph this enigmatic and elusive cat is to patrol the sand banks of the Cuiabá River and its tributaries by boat. We will devote four full days to look for these majestic animals while staying on the river in the heart of jaguar country. Though jaguars are the expedition’ focus, the region also boasts some 350 species of birds plus much more to appease your naturalist and photographic desires. We will also enjoy seeing a host of other animals – some of them endangered, like the giant river otter.
Prior to the start of our expedition, you can choose to join our (highly recommended) trip extension to visit one of the great wonders of nature: Iguaçu Falls. We will stay just a short walk from the breathtaking falls at the only hotel located within Iguaçu National Park, allowing you to visit the falls at dawn and dusk when other visitors have vacated the park.
Offered in partnership with Pete Oxford Expeditions.
Notes on Trip Costs
Special terms and conditions apply. The trip, without the extension, starts and ends in Cuiabá, Brazil. International airfare is not included in the trip price. Limited single supplements are available for a fee of $1,050.
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Dates & Prices
The following itinerary is for our September 2-12, 2022 dates. The September 12-22, 2022 itinerary differs in that it begins with one day at SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, and ends with two nights at Fazenda Pouso Alegre.
Day 1: Arrive to Cuiabá
The expedition begins at the gateway to Brazil’s Pantanal: the city of Cuiabá. After arrival we will transfer to the Slaviero Varzea Grande Hotel. Dinner will be in a local restaurant followed by a briefing about the trip.
Day 2: Cuiabá - Fazenda Pouso Alegre
Today begins with breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards we will commence our journey into the Pantanal on the Transpantaneira road, enjoying the benefits of the raised earthen road to view many native Pantanal animals before arriving at Pouso Alegre. Apart from a wealth of birds including excellent hyacinth macaws we will see during our explorations on foot, this will also be our best chance for giant anteaters. This is a working cattle ranch run by true Pantaneiros (local cowboys). Overnight at Fazenda Pouso Alegre.
Day 3: Fazenda Pouso Alegre - Pantanal Jaguar Expedition
After breakfast at Pouso Alegre we will continue to Porto Joffre where speedboats will be waiting to transport us to SouthWild Jaguar Flotel & Suites: our live-aboard river hotel that will serve as our home base for the next days while we search the rivers for jaguars. This afternoon we have our first river excursion in search of jaguars. Overnight at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel & Suites.
Days 4–8: Pantanal Jaguar Expedition
For the next five days we will invest our time heavily in pursuit of Panthera onca, the jaguar. Expect to find this elusive feline patrolling the banks of the many rivers and to be able to photograph it from our private speedboats. The days will be filled with the exciting expectation of seeing jaguars, followed by the adrenaline of coming face to face with one. Between jaguar sightings you will be able to enjoy watching or photographing many animals which live in or around the river. These could include giant river otters, tapirs, Toco Toucans, caiman, capybara, monkeys, a plethora of birds, and many more species. Overnight at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel & Suites.
Day 9: SouthWild Pantanal Lodge
Today we retrace our steps part way back up the Transpantaneira for two-night stay at a naturalist’s paradise, South Wild Pantanal Lodge. We will arrive at this paradise in time for lunch followed by a relaxed boat ride on the river for the afternoon activity. In the evening we will look for another elusive cat, the ocelot. Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.
Day 10: SouthWild Pantanal Lodge
Our activities today will depend on group interest but may include a vehicle safari, a nature walk, more time on the river or horseback riding if it can be arranged. Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.
Day 11: Pantanal - Cuiaba - Fly home
After our final breakfast together we will say our goodbyes and head for the Cuiabá airport for flights back home.
During our expedition we will stay at comfortable hotels that have been selected due to their convenience, access to wildlife, and immersion within the natural areas we aim to explore. Hotels include:
- Slaviero Varzea Grande Hotel (1 night): This modern high-rise hotel is located just 100 meters from the Cuiabá airport, and offers a comfortable landing place from which we will embark on our expedition.
- Fazenda Pouso Alegre (1 or 2 nights): A simple, comfortable, and highly-rated lodge that is situated to offer some of the terrestrial wildlife viewing in the Pantanal.
- SouthWild Jaguar Flotel & Suites (5 nights): This comfortable floating hotel and suites is located in the area of highest jaguar density and offers unmatched access to prime jaguar viewing areas of the Pantanal. Rooms are air conditioned and WiFi is available. A full-time jaguar researcher is on-site and science lectures are provided during our stay.
- SouthWild Pantanal Lodge (1 or 2 nights): This intimate, land-based lodge allows provides access to a variety of wildlife for which the Pantanal is famous, including jabiru storks, toucans, tapirs, and giant river otters.
Your expedition will be led by one or more of the following expert naturalist guides:
Optional three-day post-trip extension to Iguaçu Falls
Iguaçu means “big water” in the Guarani Indian language, which is a fitting description for this magnificent landscape. Iguaçu is simply spectacular! The falls range from 60-80 meters (200-269 feet) in height and stretch for 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles), making them twice as wide as Niagara Falls. They are located within two UNESCO World Heritage sites, which means the lush microclimate created by the large clouds of spray and the falls themselves are protected. A visit here will undoubtedly leave you in awe.
The fauna around the Iguaçu Falls is extremely rich with over 60 species of mammals, 422 birds, over 40 reptiles, 18 amphibians, and 250 butterfly species. This area tends to be our best chance of seeing large numbers of Toco Toucans, the most spectacular of all toucans.
Contact us to request a detailed itinerary and pricing for this trip extension.