A range of mostly gentle walks, vehicular safaris and boat rides. All the walks are on flat terrain and may last 2 – 3 hours. It might be very hot and raining on some days.
Principally mammals, with emphasis on searching for Jaguar, but also the other wildlife of the Pantanal, especially Giant Otters and Birds
· Jaguar sightings
· Giant River Otters and other Pantanal mammals
· Giant Anteater regularly seen
· Stunning birds and Caimans by the thousand
Day 1 Fly to Cuiaba & drive to Pouso Alegre
Day 2 Pouso Alegre
Day 3/6 Jaguar Suites* Flotel
Day 7/9 Southwild Pantanal Lodge
Day 10 Fly Cuiaba – Home
*Featuring the Suites, Charlie´s newest luxurious floating Hotel in Pantanal
Dates and Price
Start dates for private tours to Pantanal:
· Any day of October or November
Arrival to Cuiaba City and Pouso Alegre Lodge
Arrival to Cuiaba city, the Capital of Mato Grosso State. From here we drive approximately 2 hours into the Pantanal, to our first lodge, Pouso Alegre, where we stay for 2 nights.
The drive from Cuiabá will introduce some of the inhabitants of the Pantanal Region, with the last 7 kms of the drive being the private, wildlife-rich driveway of our lodge, Pouso Alegre. As we drive, we will see a transitional forest grading from dry “Cerrado” to more wet woodland typical of Southern Mato Grosso region, and the birdlife is both colorful and plentiful with representatives from some of the Neotropical families, such as toucans, tanagers and hummingbirds, that we will be seeing throughout the tour.
The drive from Cuiaba Airport starts with driving 100 km southwest on asphalt (for 70-75 minutes) to the town of Poconé, which with 25,000 inhabitants is the county seat for 5 million acres of the north Pantanal. These 100 km run through different types of tropical dry forest that go by the name of “Cerrado”. As you leave the south end of Poconé on your way into the Pantanal proper, you see the dry forests and fields drop slightly into the large flat floodplain on the Pantanal proper, and the 122 bridges begin… After 17 kms we will encounter the first wooden bridges, often seeing the first assemblage of herons, caimans, and capybaras. Pouso Alegre´s entrance gate is located 12 km further south along the well-known 145-km-long “Transpantaneira” raised dirt and gravel road. The lodge is famous for its excellent mammal viewing and birding, much of which one does along the lodge´s private 7-km-long, raised driveway. Slow drives on this long entrance road often yield good views os species such as Red Brocket Deer, Bare-faced Curassows, Chestnut-bellied Guans, Brazilian Tapir, and even Giant Anteaters! On the first 29 Km of the Transpantaneira, and on the last 500 m before reaching the lodge, you will also enjoy your first good views of hundreds of Paraguayan Caimans as well as dozens of Capybaras. Other wildlife species often seen at Pouso Alegre include Marsh Deer, Azara´s Agouti, Brazilian Cavy, Common Iguana and several colorful lizards.
While based at Pouso Alegre, we may drive short distances in the evening on the Transpantaneira to gain access to other marshes and bridges in search of Fauna. We also include one-hour-long night spotlighting drives on at least one of the two nights at Pouso Alegre.
We leave Pouso Alegre Lodge early in the morning in our private transport and drive towards the end of the Transpantaneira Road, which is in the locality called “Porto Joffre”. During the long, 120 km drive, which is a wildlife safari itself, we will be on the lookout for families groups of Black and Gold Howler Monkeys and Capybaras as well as for South American Coatis and aggregations of large wading birds in ponds along the side of the road.
Upon reaching Porto Joffre, which lies on the north bank of the 170-m-wide Cuiaba River, we board our radio equipped Jaguar search boat and cruise upstream for 15 Km for 30-45 min, starting our search for jaguars and Giant Otters. Both species reach their global maxima and are most habituated in the 100 km of river channels upstream from Porto Joffre. We ensure information flow by radio-equipped boats on the river, talking with another about sightings of Jaguars and Giant Otters.
Our accommodation is a unique, luxurious, high quality, floating hotel or the Suites “Flotel” near the mouth of the “Tres Irmaos” River, with 9 double-occupancy guest rooms equipped with silent, split air conditioners and never-ending hot showers in private bathrooms in each room. The flotel is operated as a Jaguar research and tourism base by the only PhD conservation biologist living and working full time in the Pantanal. The biologist Charles Munn is both Oxford and Princeton-trained, is the author of a National Geographic cover story on macaws, and was for years a senior field scientist in the Pantanal and the Amazon for the New York Zoological Society´s international research division. While our biologist host in not always at the flotel, as he also spends time at his Manned Wolf site north of Brasilia and at other conservations locations in South America, the photo dossier research on jaguar faces continues apace, as guests become, in effect, guests researchers. Photos of more than 70 different jaguars that have been seen and photographed since 2005 in the 100 Km of river channels that we actively use for our own jaguar and Giant Otter search and observations!. If a guest provides our team with a good face photo of a previously-unphotographed Jaguar, then he or she has naming rights.
The Suites flotel could also be called “The Giant Otter Zone”, as these 100-km of river channels are by far the best place in the world to see either of these otherwise shy and elusive top predators. Although Pouso Alegre has a good population of Hyacinth Macaws, you also will see more of these amazing, huge parrots in the jaguar Zone, notably 1500 m downstream from the Suites flotel and also at the river port in Porto Joffre.
Jaguar Suites Flotel
Three full days in this area will mostly be spent exploring by boat the most jaguar-rich sections of the following three rivers: the Cuiaba, Piquiri, and the three brothers. The best time for beginning afternoon activities will be around 2.30 – 3 pm in order to spend the late afternoon checking the sandy banks, patches of dense tropical forest on the riverbank, and rush-beds along the water’s edge in search of the biggest predator in the Pantanal. These excursions will always be subject to possible changes following suggestions by local guides and boat drivers depending on the appearances of other mammals in the area, which may also include the attractive Margay or the Brazilian Porcupine. Six half-day boat trips are scheduled during our stay.
An adaptable and versatile predator, the Jaguar once occurred much more widely in South America but conflict with man has reduced its range by 40%. Always unpredictable and secretive by nature, it is no easy task to find a Jaguar in the wild even when the animal occurs at world-record densities such as this. Even though our programme is designed to provide an excellent chance of achieving our aim, success is not guaranteed.
Searching for these wary creatures may demand extreme patience and occasional discomfort, with periods spent in small boats during which absolute silence is essential to avoid frightening away the wildlife on the river bank. If we do find a Jaguar, viewing time may be brief, but the effort entailed does ensure a tremendous elation and sense of privilege at finally sharing a few moments in the life of this wonderful animal.
While looking for our quarry, and during our periods ashore, we will doubtless meet with a varied selection of birds and mammals; Capybara, Crab eating Fox, Azara´s Agouti and possibly Tapir may feature among the mammal sighting, while bird could include Maguari Stork, Magellanic Horned Owl, Blue-crowned Parakeet, Large-billed tern and a host of passerines.
Southwild Pantanal Lodge
After Breakfast, we boat 15 km downstream from the flotel to our private vehicle and retrace our steps, driving along the Transpantaneira back to km 66, where we turn onto a 3-km-long private drive to our final lodge, the intimate Southwild Pantanal Lodge (also known by its two older names: Pantanal Wildlife Center and Santa Teresa). Here we settled into our air conditioned rooms, LUNCH and nap before heading out at 3 pm or so for a boat outing on the 60-m-wide wildlife-rich Pixaim River or a slow wildlife stroll through the 5 km of marked, clean forest trails designed by our biologist host (the same host from our time at the flotel).
Southwild Pantanal is full of wildlife and photo opportunities that are missing or much more difficult at the Jaguar Flotel. Firstly, there are two wildlife observation towers: one in the riverine forest and the other next to a nest of thoroughly-habituated Jabiru Storks. Secondly, the Brown Capuchins in the gallery forest of the lodge are among the most visible and photogenic in Brazil. Finally, the wildlife within 20 m of the lodge is rich and varied, including good, daily views of the world´s largest toucan, the emblematic Toco Toucan. Other regulars include Capybaras, Paraguayan Caimans, and a number of very colorful songbirds at nectar and fruit feeders, notably the orange-backed Troupial.
The marked trails in the gallery forest present a unique opportunity to see more of the more elusive forest birds and mammals, but you must walk slowly and silently to have the best results. Gallery or riverine forest is the most species-rich habitat type but represents only 2% of the entire Pantanal, and Southwild Pantanal lodge has the best access and best trail system in the gallery forest which is not grazed or invaded by cattle, so the understory is intact and clean, meaning more birds species and fallen fruit to attract wild mammals and large game bird species.
Southwild Pantanal Lodge
On these days, we alternate slow boat rides with forest and field walks. The Pixaim River is right next to the lodge, and is an excellent location to see Boat-billed Herons and Agami Herons, and in some years there even are some excellent jaguar viewings on the riverbank within 1 km of the lodge.
The area of the Pixaim River at our lodge also boasts two pairs of very habituated and photogenic Jabiru Storks, which will sometimes fly next to our boats – great for close-up photos of this huge bird on flight. Also very tame and photogenic are a series of Ringed and Amazon Kingfishers and several Hawks, notably Black-Collared and Great Black Hawk, they are happy to take fresh fish off the surface of the water, making for spectacular photo opportunities.
Finally, the night spotlighting drives in our private transport, with Brazilian Tapirs seen on as many as 30% of the 1-hour-long night drives. All in all, with the productive wildlife watching, the food, service, and air-conditioning, this lodge is a perfect complement to the time we had while at the Jaguar Hotel.
After breakfast and a short morning activity, we leave the lodge for 3 hours to Cuiaba Airport to catch our flight back to Sao Paolo and then home.
NB. Please note that the itinerary above our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather & other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximize best use of the time and weather conditions available.
The Suites at Cuiaba River
A Jaguar Suite: 30m2 (323ft2), huge picture window, 2 beds 128cm-wide (50 inches)
WIFI in all romos
30 square-metre rooms (323-square-foot)
Off-site sleeptime generator to prevent noise and vibration
50-inch-wide beds fasten together to make “super king bed”
22 easy-access electrical sockets mostly waist-level above two wide, long work desks for using laptops to edit photos
Huge, sliding glass doors open onto private screened porch with view across the Cuiabá River to wild pantanal forests.
The only guest rooms in Latin America with two active cooling systems: split air-conditioner or flow-through fan pulling fresh night air across the beds.
Latin America’s (maybe the world’s) cleverest, most effective, most user-friendly mosquito nets, which can be deployed or opened effortlessly in only seconds without risk of ripping.
Special “Jaguar window” on port (forest) side of ship along with 2-way radio to call for room service and for Local Operator to call you when a Jaguar is about to walk by on the riverbank
Any specific information please feel free to contact: or