The Pantanal

The Pantanal is a vast wetland that stretches across three countries - Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. The Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland, and home to lots of wildlife, including jaguar.

Many come to spot the jaguar and we recommend a lodge that offers guests a very high chance of seeing these beautiful animals in the wild. Wildlife spotting in the Pantanal is surprisingly easy when the seasonal flooding subsides (April-September) and the ecosystem of ponds, streams and lakes is at its most accessible. You can spot storks, capybara, caiman, parrots, puma and jaguars among others.

The Pantanal - What to Do

A trip to the Pantanal is all about the wildlife and taking part in excursions that enable you to see the best of this unique and fantastic habitat. For those in search of jaguar, then there are a couple of lodges that are by far the best located and give you the best chance of spotting them. Aside from looking for jaguar you can trek, horsehide through the marchland, go out in the jeeps and swing in the hammock of your lodge enjoying the sounds of nature.

The Pantanal - Where to Stay 

North or south Pantanal?
There are two main areas of the Pantanal that can loosely be defined as north or south. Below is further information on both areas.
North Pantanal (areas around Porto Jofre/Cuiaba)
To get to the north you would fly into Porto Jofre and then take a partially paved road to one of the many simple, yet more than adequate, lodges that are ok places to rest your head whilst during your Pantanal experience. The better lodges have air conditioning and pools. The majority of the better lodges are situated north of the main road where the Jaguars don’t often frequent. However, you can take day trips out on a boat from Porto Jofre in search of jaguar. This area can get busy when looking for jaguar as international and domestic tourists do come in high numbers to the area which does make it feel quite busy, but the chances of seeing the jaguar are high, but it is almost certain you would share the experience with many other tourists.
Where to stay in the northern Pantanal-Araras is a nice little family run lodge that will only take a couple of hours to get to from Porto Jofre and the road is not horrendous so you head should be ok. The rooms have air conditioning. The service is friendly and there is a cute pool. It is simple, yet good fun and probably the best option.
South Pantanal (areas around Campo Grande)
The main difference is that in this region the accommodation options in this region are significantly more luxurious and there are fewer lodges than in the northern Pantanal. There is still a very high percentage of spotting jaguar (80% if you stay at Caiman). The area does cost more, yet the experience is more natural and not so much like get there, see a jaguar, take a photo and leave. It is all about the overall Pantanal experience, not just jaguar.
Where to stay in southern Pantanal-Caiman is really good for Jaguar and you can take part in the conservation program (Onçafari project ) where you have around a 80% chance of seeing the jaguar. The better, and more expensive, lodge is Caiman Ecological Refuge.

Most come to the Pantanal to see jaguars, and therefore we highly recommend one of our favourite lodges in the continent where they run a superb conservation and jaguar tracking program, Caiman Ecological Reserve. This lodge is located in the south of the wetland where there is the highest concentration of cats.

The Pantanal - Our Opinion

The Pantanal provides the best wildlife experience in Brazil, especially if you visit after the rainy season from April to September, when the floods retreat and smaller watering holes draw a plethora of animals, which can be clearly viewed at this time.

The Pantanal - Top Tip 

If it is all about jaguar, then speak to us about taking part in the jaguar tracking program for one of your days. Spaces are limited.


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