Arcana Mundi Expeditions

Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal

Contact Arcana Mundi Expeditions

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Wild Jaguar, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Cheryl Connolly. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

2014 Update: SouthWild Jaguar Reserve & Flotel

 

Never before have Jaguars and humans lived in such peace and harmony…

-- Dr. Charles A. Munn, Founder, SouthWild Jaguar Tours

 

Best place in the world for photographing Jaguars…

-- Gabriel O’Rorke, 4 Best Places for Photographing Big Cats, CNN Travel, 3 April, 2013

 

How about 15 Jaguar sightings in 5 days!!!

How about 15 Jaguar sightings in 5 days!!! Jaguar swimming across the river in front of our boat, black-collared hawk flying over our heads to steal a fish from the mouth of a heron. It was fantastic! We went for Jaguars, and saw Jaguars. Our guide, Paul, was very helpful. His English was perfect… The crew on the boat were absolutely fantastic. They went out of their way to accommodate every request…

-- Arden & Leonard Zalman, August 2013

 

The tally for number of Jaguars for 5 nights at the Flotel was 21…

We actually saw 6 in the last afternoon alone…

 

All went very well in Brazil and our guests went home happy… We had great sightings of the Jaguars, more than last year… The suites were a treat… We really enjoyed staying in them. Also, there were many more great improvements to how everything was run at the Flotel… We really enjoyed having Kike as our guide. By the way, the tally for number of Jaguars for 5 nights at the Flotel was 21… We actually saw 6 in the last afternoon alone…

-- Tanya Cox, Natural Exposures, September 2013

 

We got to see Jaguars everyday!

We had a great time on this trip… our guide Paolo was fantastic… And we got to see Jaguars everyday! The best was watching one Jaguar hunting. Not a success for him, but great for us…

-- Nita Taublib & Gideon Kiriat, October 2013

 

The photo opportunities were exceptional…

We have returned from Brazil and the entire family had an amazing time. I am happy to say that the Pantanal surpassed all of our expectations… Needless to say, the photo opportunities were exceptional.

-- Chris Gamel, Chris Gamel Photography, October 2013

 

 

Dr. Charles A. Munn speaking about the SouthWild Jaguar tours.
Video: Ronan Fournier-Christol. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

Please note that the tented camp has been replaced by the Jaguar Flotel.

 

Our Jaguar Guarantee

US$ 1,000 refund per person if you don’t see a Jaguar.

 

Land price: 7 days/6 nights

 

2014 Fixed-departure Jaguar tours (Up to 11 guests)

There are several departure dates each month from May through November, please inquire.

US$ 4,445 per person in a cabin. Single supplement: US$ 690

US$ 5,860 in a Jaguar Suite. Single supplement: US$ 1,445

 

Private Jaguar tours (Minimum of 2 guests)

US$ 5,900 per person in a cabin. Single supplement: US$ 690

US$ 6,990 in a Jaguar Suite. Single supplement: US$ 1,445

Private itineraries can be modified to meet your exact requirements.

 

The land price includes escorted transfers, English-speaking guide, entrance fees, accommodations in a cabin (an upgrade is available to a suite for an additional cost), all meals except lunch on the last day, all land and water transportation, and travel insurance for guests through the age of 59 years (over that age, there is a supplementary fee). Not included: soft drinks, beer, wine, mixed drinks, laundry service, tips, and air tickets. All prices are per person based on two people sharing a guest room.

 

Flights

Air tickets are not included. Please schedule an early morning flight to reach Cuiabá. The group will leave no later than 2 pm from that city. If your flight is delayed, you will have to pay for separate lunch and private transport to the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge and most likely your driver will speak only Portuguese. The return from the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge to Cuiabá is at 6.30 am, which is ideal for flights leaving Cuiabá at or after 11:00 am. Guests with later flights are welcome to relax in our air-conditioned office and use free Wi-Fi. The office is only a 6-minute walk or 3-minute drive from the airport.

 

Guest Advisory

Jaguar Tours are frequently sold out one year in advance.

We strongly advise early booking, especially if your travel dates are not flexible.

 

Contact Arcana Mundi Expeditions

 

Videos

Toft Photo Jaguar SafariJaguars of the Pantanal

Articles

Wild and WonderfulThe Velvet HourJaguar Showroom

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Observation tower at the Jabiru Stork nest, SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

The Pantanal

Located in central-western Brazil, the Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland, a seasonally-flooded plain fed by the tributaries of the Paraguay River. At 68,000 square miles, it is almost 10 times the size of the Everglades. The Pantanal is also one of the world’s most productive habitats. Annual floods, fed by tropical rains, create a giant nursery for life. As the waters recede in the dry season, the Pantanal attracts a great influx of birds and other animals. The seasonally-flooded savannahs and tropical forests offer some of the finest wildlife viewing in Latin America. This area harbors a world-record 82 species of large birds, Between 3,000 and 5,000 of those birds can be seen during a one-hour drive on the raised Transpantaneira Road, the only all-year route that penetrates the heart of this enormous wild land. The Pantanal harbors 4,000 to 7,000 Jaguars, including the heaviest specimens in the world. A male Jaguar in our region recently weighed in at 310 pounds (144 kilos).

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Lounge, SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

SouthWild Pantanal Lodge

Your adventure begins at the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, an outstanding ecolodge located only three hours by road from the jetport of Cuiabá. The lodge is situated on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. The Transpantaneira is the only raised road that penetrates the core of the Pantanal, thus allowing all-season access. The Pixaim is the only navigable body of water on the Transpantaneira until its end at the Cuiabá River.

The lodge consists of one large, fully-screened living room/dining room with many overhead fans, outdoor sitting areas, and a library on Brazilian nature. Each of our twelve screened guest rooms has a private bathroom with a hot shower, overhead fan, air conditioning and one queen or two twin beds. To eliminate plastic-bottle waste, the lodge offers complimentary, chilled drinking water dispensed in unlimited amounts from dedicated water coolers. Bring your own durable Nalgene bottle to refill.

At the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, we are constantly improving both the quantity and quality of our amazing wildlife sightings. We access field, forest, and river variously with horseback riding, boat outings, trail walks, mobile observation towers, electric photo catamarans, and night spotlighting from our dedicated truck with special photo logistics. The last three are unique to our lodges -- no other lodge in the Pantanal offers them. Surprisingly, we have the world’s only observation tower at a Jabiru Stork nest. This 12-meter-tall platform is accessed by a user-friendly spiral staircase. The top of the tower is at the level of the nest, which is only 15 meters away. Our specially-trained naturalists have habituated these storks for years so that the birds now completely ignore guests and carry out all their most intimate nesting behavior in full view.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

SouthWild Jaguar Flotel

Location: Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park, Pantanal, Brazil. Reserve size: 270,000 acres. Wildlife it protects: Jaguars, Brazilian Tapirs, Giant Otters, Brown Capuchin Moneys, Black-and-Gold Howler Monkeys, Silvery Marmosets and 82 species of large birds, including Agami Herons, Black-collared Hawks, Sunbitterns, Sungrebes, Bare-faced Curassows, Great Potoos, Jabiru Storks and a profusion of other water and forest birds.

At the end of the Transpantaneira Road winds a labyrinth of rivers on which our specially-trained trackers and boatmen show these mighty cats to guests. This location is the site of the 270,000-acre Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park, one of the three largest protected areas in the entire Pantanal. No other location in the world can offer anything like this number of Jaguars per day. Most guests also see Tapirs and Giant Otters. Never before have Jaguars and humans lived in such peace and harmony. Most of the Jaguars in this huge “Jaguar park” appear over and over again, and we now have both a complete face dossier of the 15 most frequently-seen cats and a growing number of data points that allow us to map their overlapping territories.

To improve the Jaguar viewing experience for its guests, we have switched accommodations from the tented camp used in previous years to a superb alternative located 40 minutes closer to the best area for sighting Jaguars. This alternative is the Jaguar Flotel, an air-conditioned, floating hotel. The Jaguar Flotel features 10 private cabins and 6 luxurious suites. Each cabin has two beds, a mini-bar, a silent air conditioner and an en suite bathroom with flush toilet and hot water shower. Each cabin also features a 110-volt electrical socket for charging cameras and other equipment. The suites are three times as large as the cabins and feature unobstructed river views as well as numerous additional amenities. The Jaguar Flotel is anchored right in the center of the river sections that have produced the best Jaguar sightings in recent seasons. This optimal location, combined with SouthWild’s administration by professional biologists, a unique fleet of radio-equipped scout boats and highly-trained Jaguar spotters have enabled all of its guests visiting in 2011 and 2012 to see Jaguars multiple times. The Jaguar Flotel is the only lodging inside this enormous Jaguar preserve. The “big three” mammals of the Pantanal clearly are the Jaguar, the Tapir, and the Giant Otter. Our itineraries offer very high probabilities of seeing all three. No other lodge in South America can offer almost certain viewing of the Big Three of the South American rainforests.

 

Itinerary

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

A Jaguar Suite, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 1: Cuiabá - SouthWild Pantanal Lodge

In Cuiaba, our English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport. After a Brazilian buffet lunch, depart to the Pantanal in an air-conditioned vehicle, driving for an hour and a half to reach the beginning of the famous Transpantaneira Road, one of the best wildlife viewing areas in the world. During the next hour and a half, you can admire the flora and fauna along the Transpantaneira and make several stops on the way to film or take photographs. Arrival at the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge before dinnertime. The Pantanal Lodge was once called Fazenda Santa Tereza. The “Fazenda” was a traditional cattle ranch. Today, it is an ecolodge on 3,500 hectares (nearly 9,000 acres) of flooded lands situated at the end of Rio Pixaim River. Here you are deep into the Pantanal where, upon your return, you can take a boat on the river, seeing monkeys, many bird species, capybaras, caymans, and giant otters. You can also explore the marked trails through the forest surrounding the lodge. Canopy towers are strategically located at fruiting and flowering trees. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Responding to a Jaguar sighting, Cuiabá River, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 2: SouthWild Pantanal Lodge - SouthWild Jaguar Flotel (Afternoon Search for Jaguars by Boat)

After breakfast at the Pantanal Lodge, we will continue south on the Transpantaneira Road for two and a half hours in an open-sided, roofed, bucket-seat-equipped safari truck. The Tranpantaneira provides some of the best opportunities to see a great variety of birds and wildlife. It is a photo safari in and of itself, and we allow the right amount of time to savor the wildlife and scenery, reaching the very end of this famous road, at Km 140, by 10 am. Here, we find Porto Jofre and the 250-meter-wide (820-foot-wide) Cuiabá River, which is the border between the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. We will complete our leisurely journey to the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel by boating one hour upstream on the Cuiabá River to the mouth of the Three Brothers River. The 270,000-acre Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park begins about a third of the way up the river to the Jaguar Flotel, which is in the very heart of this remote, wild park. The air-conditioned, floating hotel features 10 private cabins and 6 luxurious suites. Each cabin has two beds, a mini-bar, a silent air conditioner and an en suite bathroom with flush toilet and hot water shower. Each cabin also features a 110-volt electrical socket for charging cameras and other equipment. The suites are three times as large as the cabins and feature unobstructed river views as well as numerous additional amenities. The Flotel is anchored right in the center of the river sections that have produced the best Jaguar sightings in recent seasons.

After lunch, we leave the Jaguar Flotel for the first of our four-hour boat outings to observe the diversity of the animals in the region. We will watch for Jaguars, Tapirs, Anteaters, Giant Otters, birds and other wildlife. We’ll use small motorboats to explore for Jaguars along the three rivers and connecting channels at the core of this huge park. The rivers include the Three Brothers (where the Flotel is anchored), Cuiabá, and Piquirí. Recent guests have seen several of these huge predators during the day, many of them at very close range for extended periods. Return to the Flotel at the end of the afternoon in time for dinner. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Wild Jaguars on a riverbank, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 3: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel (Morning & Afternoon Searches for Jaguars by Boat)

After an early breakfast, we leave the Flotel in our small motorboats for a four-hour morning and a four-hour afternoon outing in search of Jaguars, Tapirs, Anteaters, Giant Otters, birds and other wildlife. Outings take place between 6 am and 6 pm each day, and are timed to allow photography during the first and last hour of light. Boats are equipped with a short-wave radio and special shade umbrellas, not large roofs, as the latter catch the wind, rock the boat, and block viewing and photography angles. Return to the Flotel for lunch and at the end of the afternoon in time for dinner. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Spotting Jaguars, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 4: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel (Morning & Afternoon Searches for Jaguars by Boat)

After an early breakfast, we continue our search for Jaguars, Tapirs, Anteaters, Giant Otters, birds and other wildlife along the rivers. Return to the Flotel for lunch and at the end of the afternoon in time for dinner. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Wild Jaguar on a riverbank, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Cheryl Connolly. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 4: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel (Morning & Afternoon Searches for Jaguars by Boat)

After an early breakfast, we set out for a final day’s search for rare wildlife and the photo opportunities of a lifetime. Return to the Flotel for lunch and at the end of the afternoon in time for dinner. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Wild Jaguar, SouthWild Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Cheryl Connolly. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 6: SouthWild Jaguar Flotel - SouthWild Pantanal Lodge

After breakfast, depart the Jaguar Flotel by boat to Porto Jofre, with arrival by 10 am. Complete your wildlife road safari along the Transpantaneira on the way back to the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, with arrival in time for lunch. Afternoon of bird watching at the Jabiru Stork nest and on the trails surrounding the lodge or boating on the Río Pixaim River. The SouthWild Pantanal Lodge is an excellent location for bird watching. It is also one of the best sites for predictable viewing of wild Giant Otters from a distance of only 3 to 16 feet away. Often, they will come close to the boat, craning their necks, and snorting loudly. Dinner and overnight in the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.

 

 

jaguar pantanal brazil tour safari

Pixaim River, SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photo: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.

 

Day 7: SouthWild Pantanal Lodge - Cuiabá - Home

After a 6 am breakfast, drive in an air-conditioned vehicle for an hour and a half along the Transpantaneira back to the town of Poconé and for another hour and a half on asphalt to the Cuiabá airport, arriving about 9:30 am.

 

Why Choose our Jaguar Tour?

 

1) Because of the unique location of the Jaguar Flotel in the Jaguar Zone, we wake up and go to sleep in the middle of the cats (and lunch there, and snooze after lunch) -- we are where the action is 24/7, so you get to the cats one to two hours before the competitors and can stay one to two hours later, maximizing your time for spotting Jaguars.

2) We keep close track of which cats are active where and doing what, and we go back there the next day.

3) We have a powerful VHF radio system linking all of our boats. A key feature of this radio system is that our command post is located on the floating hotel, which means that it is centrally-located for keeping excellent communication flowing about the latest Jaguar sightings. Further, we are the only company that guarantees a minimum of three radio-equipped boats reporting from the various river channels during most of the day.

4) Even when there are few or even two people at our Jaguar Flotel, we put out scout boats with radios to find more cats.

5) We serve full meals in front of the Jaguar and will never take you from a sitting Jaguar unless you vote to leave (we will take people away one by one for a bathroom break and then return them).

6) We carry out scientific research on the cats by building up a profile of their use of time (an “ethogram”).

7) We are the only operation with a full-time biologist on staff to help coordinate the data collection and give lectures about the Jaguar research and monitoring that we are doing. No other operator has information with maps of which cats live where and no other operator has lectures.

8) Our boats are Jaguar-optimized and photo-optimized. We are the only operation with purpose-built Jaguar-watching boats. One key advantage of our Jaguar boats is that guests have individual sun umbrellas that can be set into a special slot by each seat and angled toward the sun. These 2-meter-wide umbrellas are the ideal way to provide shade. We only put up the umbrellas on a seat by seat basis upon request because photographers usually do not want them, as they can get in the way of serious photography. With the individual umbrellas, we avoid the multiple upright poles on the sides of the boat that are used to support the sun canopies on all of the other boats (which are actually designed for sport fishing). Anyway, those canopies are too low to permit guests to stand up, and they protect guests only a fraction of the time. Further, our Jaguar boats are all designed to have the boat driver in the back (hence out of the photo frame) and to have all passenger seats distant from the outboard motor.

9) We have tested all speeds and all distances from the riverbank and know which speeds and distances from the bank produce the best results in Jaguar sighting. Some of our competitors go much too fast and miss a lot of cats -- and also erode the riveranks with their big waves.

10) Our Jaguar Flotel is anchored next to a forest full of birds and mammals, and is low impact in every way. Our competitors have cement block houses one to two hours away from the center of the Jaguar Zone. All those “competing” lodges are in direct sun in deforested clearings -- all hot, and none permitting you to hear birds, crickets, and large mammals.

11) 24-hour electricity produced by off-site generators in order to eliminate vibrations and noise in your accommodations.

12) A guarantee that you will see a Jaguar, which no one else offers.

 

Inclusions

 

• Predeparture information, including a list of commonly-seen birds and mammals of the Pantanal.

• Highly-trained, English-speaking guide throughout the entire trip, equipped with a customized iPad, specially-loaded with scientific lectures, in-house photo-guide of Pantanal birds, other books on Brazilian birds, custom-made Google Earth maps and other unique features.

• Comfortable, air-conditioned transport between Cuiabá and the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.

• Open safari truck for transfers between the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge and Porto Jofre.

• Eight hours per day of Jaguar searches in a maneuverable, radio-equipped motorboat powered by 15 hp, 20 hp, or 25 hp motor.

• Three radio-equipped boats on the rivers specifically searching for Jaguars for at least eight hours/day

• Duffel so that guests can take a reduced amount of clothing and gear for the stay at the Jaguar Flotel. The guests’ main suitcases remain safely stored at the Pantanal Lodge.

• Free Wi-Fi Internet at the Pantanal Lodge whenever weather permits, which is 95% of the time.

• Unlimited drinking water from large water coolers at both the Pantanal Lodge and the Jaguar Flotel (refill your own bottles, please).

• In the unlikely event that the state government closes Rio Tres Irmãos or imposes new boat-use restrictions, we search for and find Jaguars on rivers just outside and around the state park. Jaguars are everywhere there.

Travel insurance for U.S. and Canadian residents through the age of 59 years (over that age, there is a supplementary fee). Others receive a five percent reduction in the tour price to purchase coverage in their home country.

• Not included: Lunch on last day, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, laundry service, air tickets and personal travel gear.

 

Contact Arcana Mundi Expeditions

by Inka’s Empire Tours

 

2345 Broadway, Suite 638, New York, NY 10024. Tel: +001 212 787 0500. Email: expeditions@arcanamundi.com

 

© Inka’s Empire Corporation 2014. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal. All rights reserved.