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The northern Pantanal offers outstanding opportunities to see a wide range of rare South American wildlife, including jaguar and giant river otter, along with spectacular birdlife.

From Cuiabà, the capital of Mata Grosso state, a tarmac road leads 100 kilometres south to the town of Poconé, where the infamous Transpantaneira highway begins. Passing through wildlife rich flooded plains and rich gallery forest, the unasphalted Transpantaneira extends south for a further 145 kilometres to the locality known as Porto Jofre, on the Cuiabà River.

On either side of the Transpantaneira, accommodation is provided by a number of pousadas, many of which are still functioning cattle ranches that offer a variety of wildlife excursions in search of giant and lesser anteater, crab-eating fox, South American coati and Brazilian tapir. For sightings of jaguar and giant river otter it is necessary to venture out on to the rivers around Porto Jofre, where these typically elusive species are now being seen on a regular basis. 

Our wildlife photography trip with Nick Garbutt travels to the northern Pantanal and offers exceptional opportunities to photograph jaguars in their national habitat.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: capybara, giant anteater, giant river otter, jaguar, spectacled caiman
  • Where: Mato Grosso, Brazil

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Jaguar Fiesta

There is no finer place in the world than the Pantanal to see South America’s greatest apex predator - the jaguar. Accompanied by acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt, we track and photograph these magnificent felines with our research team and get close encounters by boat from Porto Jofre.

  • When to go: Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

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.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

The Pantanal: Brazil’s Wetland Wonder

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

  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £9,895 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Wildlife of the Pantanal

This 12-day small group trip focuses on the abundant wildlife of Brazil’s North Pantanal, combing two well established wildlife lodges with an exciting new lodge in a remote area, offering excellent chances of encountering jaguars, giant rivers otters and a wealth of other mammals and birds.

  • When to go: Jun-Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,395 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

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.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,275 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Jaguars of the Pantanal

Staying in comfortable lodges, this trip offers some of the finest opportunities to see rare 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.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,095 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Hotel Baiazinha

Situated on the Paraguay River near the Taiama Ecological Reserve, the Hotel Baiazinha provides a comfortable base from which to explore the Northern Pantanal and discover its wildlife. With just six en suite rooms, it has an intimate atmosphere to accompany its scenic situation.

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 yet 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.