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Explore the Pantanal and enjoy some of the finest wildlife viewing experiences. Accompanied by expert guides, you'll search for one of the most elusive animals - the jaguar - in the world's most spectacular wetlands.

Harbouring a rich concentration of flora and fauna, this immense landlocked area is a sanctuary for birds, butterflies, brightly-coloured tropical flowers and fish, it is also home to capuchin and howler monkeys, capybaras, toucans, anacondas, caimans and tapirs. However the main objective of your visit is to spot a jaguar, an increasingly rare hyacinth macaw, or a giant river otter.

Just a short flight away, Cristalino Private Reserve offers an unparalleled opportunity to get to know the southern reaches of Amazon rainforest in the company of skilled naturalist guides.

Suggested itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

  2. Day 2: Arrive Sao Paulo, and connect to a domestic flight to North Pantanal

    On arrival in São Paulo, you have a few hours at the airport before your connecting domestic flight to Cuiabà. On arrival in Cuiabà, you will be met at the airport and transferred by road to your overnight accommodation, a journey of two and a half to three hours (around 135 kilometres). By the time you arrive it will be late afternoon, so you can settle into your accommodation and relax after the travelling - ready for tomorrow.

    Accommodation: Araras Eco Lodge, 3 nights

  3. Days 3-4 : Wildlife activities from the lodge

    Over the next two days various morning and afternoon wildlife activities in the Northern Pantanal are included. There may also be a night excursion to see nocturnal wildlife. Staff at the lodge will advise you about the programme of activities.

  4. Day 5: Transfer to Porto Jofre

    This morning you will be transferred south (120 kilometres) on the unasphalted Transpantaneira road to your next destination - Porto Jofre - for a three night stay. The drive takes roughly three hours, so you will arrive in time for lunch. After settling into your new accommodation, in the afternoon you head out for your first boat trip on the Cuiabà River and its tributaries, the Piquiri and the Três Irmãos Rivers, to try and spot jaguar.

    Accommodation: Hotel Pantanal Norte, 3 nights

  5. Days 6-7 : Early morning boat trips on the Cuiaba River to seek jaguar, and afternoon activities such as birdwatching

    Over the next two days you will set out early each morning for a boat trip on the Cuiabà River and its tributaries, the Piquiri, São Lorenço and Três Irmãos Rivers, to seek jaguar with a local naturalist guide. With luck you may also see smaller cats such as ocelot, as well as foxes, howler monkeys and caiman. Tapir, giant anteater, capybara, and peccary, all of which are rare in most of their remaining habitats, may also be seen here. You return to the lodge for lunch, and the middle part of the day is free for you to relax and/or enjoy the area's remarkable birdlife before an afternoon activity. Staff at the hotel will advise you about the programme of activities.

  6. Day 8: Early morning boat trip in search of jaguar, afternoon transfer to Cuiaba

    After a final early morning boat trip in search of jaguar, you prepare for departure after lunch. In the afternoon you will be transferred back along the Transpantaneira to Cuiabà, a journey of four to five hours, depending on the condition of the road. On arrival in Cuiabà, you head direct to your overnight hotel. This evening you are free for dinner.

  7. Day 9: Fly to Alta Floresta, transfer by road and motorboat to Cristalino Private Reserve

    This morning you will be transferred to Cuiabà airport in time to check in for the short domestic flight to Alta Floresta. 

    You will be transferred by LandRover to a jetty (a drive of around one and a half hours). For much of this journey you will see evidence of the deforestation that has taken place in the name of agricultural development. On arrival at the jetty, however, you board a motorised boat for the 30 minute trip across the Rio Teles Pires into the dense rainforest of Cristalino Private Reserve. On reaching your lodge, once you have settled in, the rest of the afternoon is free to relax after an introductory briefing.

    Accommodation: Cristalino Jungle Lodge, 4 nights

  8. Days 10-12 : Early morning and afternoon excursions

    Over the next three days early morning and afternoon wildlife trips with a naturalist guide are included each day. Staff at the lodge will advise you about the programme of activities.

  9. Day 13: Return to Cuiaba

    After a final morning sortie into the rainforest, you retrace your steps by boat and road to the town of Alta Floresta, in time to check in for the short afternoon domestic flight to Cuiabà. On arrival in Cuiabà you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.

  10. Day 14: Free morning, afternoon flight back to Sao Paulo and depart

  11. Day 15: Arrive UK

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 days from £6,495 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 13 days from £5,545 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,125
  • When to go: Jun-Oct
Featured locations:

Northern Pantanal

Accessed via the town of Cuiaba, the northern Pantanal is home to some of Brazil’s rarest wildlife, such as jaguar and giant river otter. Many of the lodges here are still functioning cattle ranches, offering day and night trips by boat, vehicle, on foot and on horseback, accompanied by local naturalist guides.

  • Where: Pantanal
  • Ideal for viewing: capybara, giant anteater, giant river otter, jaguar, spectacled caiman
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Jaguar watching

Cristalino Private Reserve, Alta Floresta

This private rainforest reserve on the Cristalino River occupies a region very important in terms of Amazon biodiversity. The high number of species and endemics makes it a great place to see birds, mammals, butterflies and orchids. It is easily reached from the northern Pantanal, avoiding a long flight to Manaus.

  • Where: Mata Grosso Province
  • Ideal for viewing: agouti, capybara, giant otter, harpy eagle, jaguar
  • Excellent for: River safaris

The Pantanal

This ecological paradise is the world’s largest wetland, with 124 mammals (including the world’s largest jaguars), 177 reptiles, 1,100 species of butterfly, and a myriad of birds, brightly coloured flowers, and shoals of fish. There are significant differences between the north and south; we recommend visiting both.

  • Where: Mato Grosso do Sul
  • Ideal for viewing: capybara, giant anteater, giant river otter, jaguar, spectacled caiman
  • Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Self-drive, River safaris, Jaguar watching, Birdwatching
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Voted one of the best hotels in Brazil by National Geographic Traveller, Cristalino Jungle Lodge is an environmental award-winning lodge, located in a private reserve beside Cristalino State Park, accessible only by boat. It is a good option for birdwatchers due to its 50-metre high observation tower.

Hotel Pantanal Norte

With direct access to the Ciuaba River, Hotel Pantanal Norte is one of the best places in Brazil to see the elusive jaguar, as you journey down quiet creeks and tributaries. In between excursions, the hotel has a swimming pool and lots of outside space in which to relax and observe birds or wildlife.

Pousada Araras Eco Lodge

Pousada Araras Eco Lodge is a rustic, but sophisticated lodge surrounded by more than 3,000 hectares of private land. You can see various birds, including the highly attractive, endangered, hyacinth macaw, from the lodge’s forest boardwalk, and tapir, marmoset and howler monkey are seen regularly in the area.