July 29 – August 6, 2018 : FULL
Join me in western Brazil as we explore the best place on earth to photograph wild jaguars! After scouting this area in 2017, I’ve put together an exciting itinerary that will offer you great opportunities to see jaguars and loads of other wildlife.
Brazil’s Pantanal has become popular in recent years for good reason: It’s the best place to find wild jaguars. Though I can never guarantee jaguar sightings, I can say with near certainty that we’ll have chances to see not just one, but multiple cats during this trip! Though the cats get all the attention, there’s a lot of other colorful and fascinating wildlife to see here. We’re likely to find unique species such as the giant river otter while looking for jaguars. On land, we will seek out other large species such as the Brazilian tapir and giant anteater. And let’s not forget the bountiful birdlife, from colorful macaws and other parrots, to raptors and a variety of wetland species.
Target species on this trip include:
- Giant river otter
- Giant anteater
- Southern tamandua (collared anteater)
- South American coati
- Yellow armadillo
- Neotropical river otter
- Three different monkey species
- Three different deer species
- Crab-eating fox
- Spectacled caiman, yellow anaconda and other reptiles
- Greater rhea
- Hyacinth macaw and other parrots
- Toco toucan
- Birds of prey, such as kites, hawks and owls
- A variety of herons
- Five different kingfisher species
- Loads of other birds
What to Expect
As you know, I offer a variety of tour experiences. While I like to immerse my groups in a great wildlife experience no matter where we go, tours vary in terms of the type of exploration involved and the required fitness level for participants. The good news about the Brazil trip is that it’s one of the more relaxed adventures I offer! We spend a lot of time being transported by expert guides and drivers and do a lot of photography directly from a boat or game drive vehicle. In certain situations, we’ll get out for walks, either to get closer to wildlife in the Pantanal savanna or as we walk forest trails in search of birds and monkeys. We’ll even have a chance to photograph wildlife from a 25m watch tower situated in the heart of forest wetland.
All of our jaguar exploration and some of the wetland wildlife photo opportunities will come exclusively from a boat. It’s a nice, easy way to get up close and personal with jaguars, otters and birds without infringing upon them.
We will stay in some of the best lodges in the region, in terms of both comfort and wildlife exploration. In all cases, there’s a chance to photograph wildlife directly on the lodge grounds! For our main jaguar exploration, we’ll be staying at a nicer land-based lodge in Porto Jofre that is situated directly on the river that serves as our launching point for our cat-centric adventures. This gives us a much more comfortable home base than other tours staying in cramped “flotels” on the river.
To find jaguars, we’ll take advantage of high speed motor boats that offer plenty of room for photographers. With powerful four stroke engines, we can get to the latest reported sighting quickly, and as part of the largest guide network on the river, we’ll increase our chances of getting cat reports from other boats whenever they discover a jaguar.
July 29: Arrive in Cuiabá (those participating in the pre-trip extension will also arrive here) and transfer to Araras Lodge. We’ll enjoy our first afternoon game drive, looking for anteaters, armadillos, capybaras, caiman and more.
July 30: Full day at Araras Lodge, including a morning shoot in the 25m birding tower.
July 31: Morning excursion at Araras (if we have a larger group, the second tower session will take place this morning, with the rest of the group enjoying a game drive). By midday, we will depart for Hotel Mato Grosso, where we will enjoy the first of two boat excursions on the oxbow lake looking for birds and other wildlife to photograph. Note: the local boat captains often bait raptors and otters at this location for photographers. We will NOT take part in this activity.
August 1: We’ll have a second boat excursion at Mato Grosso before departing for Porto Jofre. By the afternoon, we will be on the Cuiabá River searching for jaguars!
August 2 – 5: Mornings and afternoons will be filled with boat excursions searching for jaguars, giant river otters and other wildlife.
August 6: We will depart Porto Jofre for Cuiabá, where we will catch flights back to Sao Paulo.
Why Choose This Tour?
There are many Pantanal photo tours available. Why go on this one?
Our local naturalist guide on this trip is Frederico Tavares, one of Brazil’s leading naturalist wildlife and birding guides.
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, Brazil. He has been a hiking and naturalist guide since 1999, with particular emphasis on Southeastern Brazil, along with Pantanal and Northeast 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.
I’ve chosen some of the best spots for both comfort and accessibility to wildlife. The Araras Lodge gives us a great chance to see a variety of species, from birds (including a session at the 25m birding tower) to armadillos and anteaters. Hotel Matto Grosso puts us right on the river, for quick access to the wetland species we’ll photograph on two boat tours. The Porto Jofre Hotel is right on the Cuiaba River, giving us a great launching point for jaguar exploration, but it also offers more comfort than those boat “flotels,” and has wildlife right on the grounds.
As always, I try to limit my tours to smaller-than-standard groups, for more one-on-one attention and more comfortable shooting for my clients. This tour is limited to six guests, making for a more intimate experience. If the group fills, we’ll add vehicles (based on availability) in order to give photographers more room and comfort for shooting.
Better Time of Year
This trip takes place relatively early in the “jaguar season,” and that offers us a couple of advantages over September/October trips. This stems from lower average temperatures, which make things more comfortable for our group… but also for the jaguars! We’re more likely to witness interesting activity from these cats beyond just seeing them laying in the shade to escape the heat of the day. In 2017, I watched jaguars stalking, hunting, swimming, climbing trees (a rarity), multiple jaguars coming together and even an otter/jaguar faceoff. Who knows what sort of activity we’ll photograph in 2018!
Optional Extension: Brazilian Amazon Scouting Trip
You read that correctly. This will be a scouting excursion. What does that mean? When I originally scouted Brazil for this tour, the location I had originally lined up for a trip extension did not work out as well as I’d hoped. So in 2018 I plan to scout a new location prior to the start of our tour. I will be traveling to the Brazilian Amazon with Fred for the first time.
And you’re invited! Because I have not visited this area (Fred has, which is why I’m targeting this particular lodge), I will not be marking up the base cost of the extension. So you’re essentially getting a chance to visit the Amazon for a reduced price.
We will be staying at a nice lodge in the southern Brazilian Amazon, with potential for a lot of mammal, bird and herp sightings, including many species not found in the Pantanal. The lodge has two 50m canopy towers and offers an opportunity to do night walks and some macro work (which will not happen on the main Pantanal tour).
This extension takes place before the main tour. If you are interested in joining me for this special scouting excursion, let me know when you inquire about the main tour.
What’s Included in the Price of Your Tour
- All guiding and transportation from pick-up in Cuiabá on Day 1 to airport drop-off on Day 9.
- Optional photo instruction by Max.
- All lodging during the tour (Days 1 – 9).
- Domestic flights from Sao Paulo to Cuiabá and back.
- All food on Days 1 – 9, except for breakfast on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 9.
- Park entrance fees.
What is NOT Included in the Price of Your Tour
- Flights to/from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Lodging prior to arrival in Cuiabá and following drop-off there at the end of the trip.
- Brazil visa fees (Note: US citizens are required to get a visa prior to the trip).
- Alcohol/bar tabs at our hotels/lodges during the week.
- Tips for guides/drivers/hotel staff.
- Single supplement lodging fee listed below.
$8495 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single Supplement: $650
This tour is limited to six guests. This tour is now FULL!
Join the Waiting List!
The 2018 tour has sold out! If you are interested in getting on the waiting list in case a spot opens up, or would like to join a future Brazil jaguar tour, please contact me.
If you are interested in a future Brazil trip or booking a private tour for your group, feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to discuss options.