Brazil: Jaguars of the Pantanal and Hiking in the Chapada Dos Guimarães

A Wildlife Adventure


The Pantanal of Brazil, the world’s largest tropical wetland, is a vast water-world of flooded grasslands, tropical savannas, and gallery forests that shelter phenomenal wildlife. Hundreds of rare and wildly colorful avian species nest in the Pantanal, caiman and capybara roam the meandering river banks, and the top predator in this hotspot of biodiversity is the majestic jaguar, the largest native cat in the New World, found here in great numbers. Our newest WT Expedition brings you into the heart of the Pantanal for an incredible wildlife adventure, and unlike the Amazon, where wildlife can be hard to spot, the Pantanal has wonderfully open habitats. We’ve timed our trip for the dry season, when the waters recede, the wildlife is concentrated, and jaguars are found near the Cuiabá River, where they come to drink, swim, and hunt. We’ll have three nights aboard our river vessel to get to the best and most remote spots to observe these animals in the wild—a thrilling experience. Moving to the Pantanal reserve south of Cuiaba, we explore by canoe and 4WD vehicle from our lodge in a riverine forest environment. The birding is out of this world, and with luck, we may see giant anteater and giant otter here as well. We combine our wildlife safari with hiking in the stunning “cerrado” ecosystem of Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park, a land of tropical savanna, sandstone cliffs, red-rock formations, and towering waterfalls. Here we’ll explore the canyons, valleys, and savannas, with opportunities for refreshing dips in some of the many waterfalls. Our accommodations are varied: a comfortable riverboat on the Cuiabá River, a forest ecolodge in the Pantanal reserve, and a small, ideally located lodge in Chapada Dos Guimarães that brings us broad vistas across the park, with hiking trails all around us. This new adventure with Brazilian naturalist Sergio Freitas is safari-style, with early morning starts for optimum wildlife viewing, mid-day breaks to avoid the afternoon heat, and late afternoon excursions. We may also have after-dinner outings to see nocturnal wildlife. Join us in Brazil for a phenomenal wildlife adventure!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Cuiabá / Jaguar Spotting

Our introduction to the Pantanal’s wildlife begins with a bang as we look for jaguars along the banks of the Cuiabá River. We explore by small motor boat with our naturalist guide, navigating through one of the world’s prime areas for observing jaguar as they come to the river to drink, swim, and hunt. We’ll also encounter fabulous birdlife along the river. Overnights aboard a basic but comfortable river boat.

Days 5-7
The Pantanal / Aymara Lodge

Our Pantanal ecolodge is set along a secluded river bordered by gallery forest in an area renowned among birders and wildlife photographers. Regular avian visitors including toco toucan, blue-fronted parrot, crimson-crested and pale-crested woodpecker, rufous-tailed jacamar—the list is breathtaking! On canoe outings, we’ll look for wading birds as well as caiman and giant river otter. Our 4WD excursions increase our chance of seeing marsh deer and giant anteater. Optional horseback rides are available—a great way to get to the more remote spots.

Days 8-10
Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park

We have a complete change of scene as we enter Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park for hiking adventures amidst its red-rock formations, impressive cliffs, crystalline rivers, and stunning waterfalls. At 2,600 feet above sea level, the park is one of the water sources for the Pantanal’s marshlands and is a spectacular place to explore. We explore the tablelands, valleys, and cerrado (tropical savanna) of this magnificent region, with opportunities for refreshing dips in the park’s many waterfalls. Our remote lodge is set on 1,200 acres of private land on the edge of the national park. Depart via Cuiabá on Day 10.



See jaguars in the wild along the banks of the Cuiabá River
Learn about the wondrous Pantanal ecosystem from Brazilian naturalist Sergio Freitas
Witness spectacular birdlife, from hyacinth macaws to roseate spoonbills
Look for giant anteater, capybara, caiman, and giant river otter
Hike in the stunning landscape of Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park
Enjoy overnights aboard a comfortable boat and in cozy wildlife lodges


Length: 10 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Cuiabá, Brazil
Depart: Cuiabá, Brazil
Lodging: 1 night hotel, 3 nights river boat, 5 nights wildlife lodges
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Easy nature walks and light hikes in a hot and humid Pantanal climate, river excursions by motorboat and canoe, hikes in Chapada Dos Guimarães National Park

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