Wildlife locations

9 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park

Surrounded by rainforest, the little visited savannahs of this tableland are of enormous ecological importance, and attract many hummingbirds. Situated at the heart of South America, the red sandstone cliffs give the landscape its characteristic appearance with canyons, caves and waterfalls.

  • Where: Mato Grosso
  • Ideal for viewing: Jaguar, Maned wolf, Puma, Scissor-tailed nightjar, Tropical screech-owl
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Birdwatching

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, Birdwatching

Iguacu Falls

Even the most seasoned traveller cannot fail to be impressed by the 275 separate waterfalls that tumble over a 90-metre-high, five kilometre wide, basalt cliff. The surrounding lush tropical forest is home to more than 2,000 species of plants, 400 species of birds and an array of mammals.

  • Where: Parana state
  • Ideal for viewing: Coati, Tapir, Ocelot, Agouti, Rushi’s rat
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve

These 57,000 square kilometres of mainly flooded Amazon forest are a Ramsar site designated as a wetland of global importance, and designed to protect Brazil’s tropical forests. The native Riberinho people assist with collecting data, in return for being taught how to hunt and fish sustainably.

  • Where: Amazonas
  • Ideal for viewing: Black squirrel monkey, Harpy eagle, Howler monkey, Two-toed sloth, Keel-billed toucan
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

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: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Jaguar watching, Birdwatching

Salvador do Bahia

This attractive colonial city was once Brazil’s capital, reflected by the richness of its architecture. Standing between green hills and broad sandy beaches, it makes a perfect stop for some culture and relaxation. Between May and December the nearby beaches are important breeding areas for turtles.

  • Where: Bahia
  • Ideal for viewing: Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Olive ridley turtle, Humpback whale
  • Excellent for:

Southern Pantanal

Conservation projects in the southern Pantanal focus on jaguar and the hyacinth macaw. From a comfortable lodge you can see wildlife by boat, vehicle and on foot. Bonito, on the southern fringe, is a mecca for ecotourism, where you will find grottos with blue lakes and walking trails surrounded by monkeys.

  • Where: Pantanal
  • Ideal for viewing: Capybara, Giant anteater, Giant river otter, Jaguar, Spectacled caiman
  • Excellent for: River safaris, Jaguar watching, Birdwatching

The Amazon

The basin of the world’s largest river contains its oldest tropical forest and most diverse ecosystem, with at least 40,000 plant species, and a variety of wildlife. The lodges offer outings on foot and by canoe to explore the rainforest. Alternatively a riverboat voyage can take you deeper into the rainforest.

  • Where: Amazonas
  • Ideal for viewing: Capybara, Giant otter, Red and blue macaw, Tapir, Yellow anaconda
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Jaguar watching, Birdwatching

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: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Jaguar watching, Birdwatching

Places to extend your wildlife trip

1 recommended location for extending your wildlife trip.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is legendary for its stunning beaches, and the iconic peaks of Sugar Loaf and Corcovado, with the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Nearby attractions include Tijuca National Park, where you can walk rainforest trails.

Wildlife trips

Brazil is dominated by the Amazon basin and its swathe of rainforest. However numerous national parks contain varied habitats ranging from coastal forest, savannah and mountain to the world’s largest wetland – the Pantanal – that house the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Attractions include imposing Iguaçu Falls and dazzling Atlantic beaches.

5 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

The Pantanal - Brazil’s Wetland Wonder

Join acclaimed prize-winning photographer, Nick Garbutt, to watch and photograph wildlife in the Pantanal. This immense landlocked delta in the heart of South America offers tremendous habitats and the finest opportunity to see the elusive jaguar, as well as other iconic and rare animals, often up close.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 15 days

Jaguars of the Pantanal

Staying in comfortable lodges, this trip offers some of the finest opportunities to see rate wildlife in the Pantanal. In the company of skilled naturalist guides, search for the elusive jaguar on the Cuiabà River, before continuing to Cristalino Private Reserve, which possesses a high number of species and endemics.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon

Voyage into a rarely visited area of the Amazon rainforest far up the Rio Negro where the flora and fauna is largely undisturbed. Staying on board a converted traditional Amazon riverboat, you will take motorised canoes up the smaller creeks to watch and photograph birds and animals.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Just Jaguars

Explore the maze of channels in Taiama Reserve, part of Brazil’s famed Pantanal wetland, to seek out jaguars. After two nights in an ecolodge in the north, your base for the next few days is the Taiama River, where you will head out each day by boat to search for jaguar.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 7 days

Brazil’s Natural Highlights

Enjoy a complete Brazilian wildlife experience, visiting three contrasting ecosystems. This trip offers an affordable option to explore the diverse Amazon rainforest, the rarely visited savannah of Chapada dos Guimarães, and the Pantanal wetland, home to some of Brazil’s rarest wildlife, such as jaguar and giant otter.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

When to go

Cooler in the south from June to September, wet in the north east from April to July and in the south from October to January, Brazil’s climate remains warm and tropical all year.

Seasons

  • Green season

    Oct to May: Southern Brazil’s summer months bring higher temperatures but higher rainfall.
  • Dry season

    Jun to Sep: Southern Brazil experiences cooler weather from June to September

Wildlife events

  • Oct to Oct: Water level falls in Amazon, exposing river beaches
  • Jan to Aug: High water in Amazon creates igapó (flooded forest)
  • Jul to Sep: Water level falls in Amazon, exposing river beaches
  • Nov to Dec: Pantanal rains, migrant birds depart; predators plentiful
  • Jan to Mar: Pantanal floods – animals seek high ground
  • Apr to Jun: Pantanal waters recede, migrants return, caiman give birth
  • Jul to Sep: Dry season in Pantanal – birds & reptiles gather at pools

Accommodation

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