Brazil Jaguars Plus– The Pantanal & Rio Cristalino NEW!
At A Glance
mammals, birds and photography.
Brazil: Cuiaba – Rio Cristalino - Pantanal – Cuiaba
Warm to hot (the river can be cool in early mornings)
Road travel by minibus, plus a special open truck for night drives in the Pantanal and speedboat trips during the day, comfortable hotels & lodges, all rooms with private facilities.
Jaguar, Giant River Otter, Brazilian Tapir plus many other mammals plus 200+ species of birds.
There can surely be few Neotropical mammals that hold the appeal of the Jaguar yet some tour leaders with several months (or even years), experience in Central and South America have only seen one or two. Although they have traditionally been considered a forest species it is now apparent that Jaguars are equally at home in open country and the Pantanal has become the place to see them. We are pleased to now be able to offer a new extended itinerary incorporating not only the best of the Pantanal but now also including three nights at the fabulous Rio Cristalino Lodge near Alta Floresta.
We will begin the tour with one night at the Floresta Amazonica Hotel in the town of Alta Floresta. An exploration of the grounds could produce our first primates of the trip along with a good selection of Amazonian birds. The impressive Harpy Eagle occasionally nests near the hotel.
We will then move on to the nearby Rio Cristalino Lodge for three nights. The lodge has 13 kilometres of trails and we will spend our days walking the trails, watching over the forest canopy from a 30 metre high tower and exploring the riverine forests from boats. We may also have the opportunity to visit a hide overlooking a salt lick.
Rio Cristalino is home to an excellent selection of mammals. Among the species we might encounter are Brazilian Tapir, Red-rumped Agouti, Capybara, Giant and Neotropical River Otter, Tayra, Red and Grey Brocket Deer, Collared and if we are lucky White-lipped Peccaries, Emilia’s Marmoset, Red-handed Howler, White-whiskered Spider Monkey, Red-bellied Titi, Guianan Brown Capuchin, Red-nosed Bearded Saki and Azara’s Night Monkey which can often be found around the lodge itself.
Rarer species that have been recorded at Rio Cristalino include Giant Armadillo, Short-eared and Bush Dogs and Margay but we would need exceptional luck to see any of these here on our short visit to the area.
Rio Cristalino Lodge features on many birding itineraries and spectacular species regularly encountered include Agami and Zigzag Herons, Razor-billed Curassows, Red-throated Piping Guans, Dark-winged Trumpeters, Sunbittern, Scarlet and Blue-and-Yellow Macaws, Pompadour Cotinga and Amazonian Umbrellabirds. Over 550 species of bird have been recorded at the lodge.
After leaving Rio Cristalino we will return to Alta Floresta and take a short flight to Cuiaba the gateway to the northern Pantanal. During our six-night stay along the world-famous Transpantaneira we will stay at three lodges, Piuval Lodge, Santa Teresa Ranch and finally Porto Jofre Lodge where we will spend three nights.
The rivers at Porto Jofre at the southern end of the Transpantaneira are without doubt the best place in the world to see Jaguars and since becoming the first British tour company to offer trips to see Jaguars in the Pantanal in 2004 we have run no fewer than 17 tours and have unrivalled experience of showing our clients Jaguars, usually at close range and often for prolonged periods. We have seen a minimum of two animals on each of our tours and on recent tours have had up to 14 encounters with Jaguars on a single tour encountering mating pairs on more than one occasion!
The Transpantaneira is also home to a number of other cats. Ocelots are seen on most tours and Santa Teresa Ranch offers exceptional opportunities to see this species. We also occasionally encounter Pumas (once with a cub), Jaguarundis and Margay. It is not unusual to see over 40 species of mammal on a trip to the Pantanal and other likely species include Brazilian Tapir, Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Giant and Neotropical River Otters, White-lipped and Collared Peccary, Marsh Deer, Red and Grey Brocket Deer, South American Coati, Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Raccoon, Azara’s Agouti, Bearded Capuchin, Paraguayan Howler and Black-tailed Marmoset. The Pantanal also offers excellent birding and we can expect to see 100+ species in a day including Hyacinth Macaw, Golden-collared Macaw, Sunbittern, Sungrebe and a range of herons and storks including Jabiru and perhaps an Agami. Caiman are abundant and we can expect hundreds in the pools along the road. Snakes including Yellow Anaconda are also possible.
We will spend long hours in the field including dawn and dusk to maximise our chances of seeing Jaguar and other cats, and will spend long hours spotlighting at night in our purposely converted truck. The itinerary in the Pantanal will be kept as flexible as possible to enable us to concentrate on finding any key species that we want to see. We will use boats at Porto Jofre to maximise our chances of seeing Jaguars. There will however be plenty of opportunity to rest and catch up with your sleep during the heat of the day.
Our revised itinerary not only offers fantastic wildlife watching in the Pantanal but also the exceptional mammal and bird watching available at Rio Cristalino. We have also reduced the amount of driving on the tour increasing the time actually spent looking for wildlife in the field. The best just got better! (Please note that this is primarily a mammal tour, birds come second. We will see lots and lots of birds but these are not tours for big species lists, we will not be looking for little brown jobs!)
Day 1: Depart Heathrow for Sao Paulo via Zurich.
Day 2: Arrive Sao Paulo and connect to Cuiaba. Overnight hotel.
Day 3: Cuiaba, fly to Alta Floresta. Afternoon exploring Floresta Amazonica Hotel area. Overnight at Floresta Amazonica Hotel
Day 4: Morning exploring Floresta Amazonica Hotel / Transfer to Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Overnights Cristalino Jungle Lodge.
Day 5: Full day exploring Cristalino Jungle Lodge.
Day 6: Full day exploring Cristalino Jungle Lodge.
Day 7: Full day exploring Cristalino Jungle Lodge.
Day 8: Morning departure to Alta Floresta / Fly to Cuiaba / Transfer to Piuval Lodge. Overnight at Piuval Lodge.
Day 9: Full day exploring Piuval Lodge.
Day 10: Morning departure to Santa Teresa Ranch / Afternoon boat ride exploring Pixaim River. Overnight Santa Teresa Ranch.
Day 11: Morning boat ride exploring Pixaim River. Afternoon departure to Porto Jofre with stops for Wild Life along the way. Overnight Porto Jofre Lodge.
Day 12: Full day looking for Jaguars at Porto Jofre area.
Day 13: Full day looking for Jaguars at Porto Jofre area.
Day 14: Drive back to Cuiaba Airport. Fly to Sao Paulo and connect on
Day 15: Arrive back Heathrow early afternoon, via Zurich.
NB: Exact itinerary subject to local conditions.
Potential mammal list for the 2019 Pantanal Plus Tour – includes species seen on one or more of the 2004–2015 Brazil Jaguar tours:
White-eared & Grey Four-eyed Oposum
Yellow & Nine-banded Armadillos
Various species of bat including Greater & Lesser Fishing Bat
Emilia’s & Black-tailed Marmoset
Azara’s Night Monkey
Guianan Brown & Bearded Capuchin
Red-nosed Bearded Saki
Red-handed & Paraguayan Howler
White-whiskered Spider Monkey
South American Coati
Neotropical River & Giant River Otter
Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Margay, Southern Oncilla and Jaguarundi
Red & Grey Brocket Deer
Collared & White-lipped Peccary
Red-rumped & Azara's Agouti
200+ species of birds.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Dates: 11th – 25th October 2019
Leaders: Regina Ribeiro plus local guides.
£5999 per person sharing a twin room.
£625 - Single supplement
£1000 - Deposit
Group size: 7-8 plus leader and guides.
Price includes: International and internal economy class flights including pre-paid taxes, all ground transportation including boat trips, all accommodation and meals, park entry fees, services of WildWings leader and local guides. Mammal & bird checklist. Non-stop flights are also available to Sao Paulo, supplement from £425pp.
Price excludes: Travel insurance, laundry bills, drinks, other items of a personal nature, gratuities.
All the previous trip reports including 2015, some with photos, are available on our website or on request from us.
TBC August 2020