Fraud Blocker Brazil's Pantanal - Excellent Jaguar Viewing Opportunities

Brazil's Pantanal

Brazil's Pantanal:
Jaguars and Wetlands Wildlife

Brazil’s Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland (a staggering 15 times the size of Botswana’s legendary Okavango Delta) and South America’s primary wildlife sanctuary. The Pantanal contains elements of the Amazon Forest, the Caatinga, the Brazilian Savannah, the Atlantic Rainforest and the Paraguayan Chaco.
In this vast environment it takes serious planning to have opportunities to see the species that most interest you. Jaguars are almost a daily guarantee in the right location at the correct time of year. Giant anteaters are commonly seen close up on foot in some areas, and never seen in other locations.
We utilize our scientific knowledge to plan Pantanal safaris tailored to your wildlife interests. The focus is putting you in the best locations at the right time to maximize your opportunities for the wildlife viewing that interests you the most.
Pantanal is unique among conservation areas in that more than 95 percent of the area is privately owned and the majority of tourism takes place on cattle ranches. Many of the ranches host wildlife researchers, who are often on-site and available to share their projects with tourists. We have the wildlife biologist network, and are currently partnering with research groups studying ocelots, jaguars and giant otters.
For many the huge draw to the Pantanal is the jaguar. Our itineraries always include time in the most reliable area in the world to see jaguars, Porto Jofre. Nowhere else in the world offers a better chance to see the Western hemisphere’s largest cat. The existence of the top predator is an indicator of a healthy system that supports a full diversity of life. This is definitely the case in Pantanal with 656 bird species, 135 mammals, 260 fish species and 50 reptiles.
The lists are not just numerous but full of charismatic species beyond the jaguar, including a number of giants! Nowhere else outside of Africa has so many large mammals that are possible to observe (some more commonly than others). The following is a list of wildlife you may see on safari in the Pantanal:
  • Jaguar – the Western hemisphere’s largest cat
  • Six smaller cats including ocelot
  • Giant otter (top highlight for many!) and Neotropical otter
  • Giant anteater and lesser anteater (Tamandua)
  • Five species of armadillo
  • Tapir – South America’s heaviest animal
  • Five species of primates including black howler monkeys
  • Capybara – world’s largest rodent
  • 35 million caiman (South American crocodiles)
  • Anaconda – among the world’s longest snakes
  • Hyacinth macaw – the world’s largest parrot
  • Jabiru storks, five species of kingfisher, and more than a dozen species of heron patrol the waters.
  • Forty species of raptors have been documented, including black-collared hawks that catch fish and comical burrowing owls 

Brazil Sample Safaris

Realm of the Jaguar with Ocelot Research – Brazil’s Pantanal – 2024 Group Trip

Brazil’s Pantanal has an unrivaled claim as South America’s top wildlife viewing region.  In fact, many say it’s the top wildlife area outside of Africa.  Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland, a staggering ten times the size of the Everglades and fifteen times the size of the famed Okavango Delta.  Like Botswana’s Okavango there is a fantastic variety of habitats including wetlands, savanna, riverine gallery forests, and cerrado (forested savanna).  A number of rivers form the lifeblood of the Pantanal, and these have become reliable areas for sighting jaguars.  During our time of travel there is an astounding 95% daily success rate along the rivers for observing the world’s third largest cat.

Pantanal Vs. African Safari Comparison

From a wildlife viewing point of view, the Pantanal stands up strong for close-up viewing of an incredible diversity of animals. Like Africa, we also have a very high percentage chance of having great viewing of the key species in the area such as jaguar, ocelot, giant otter, giant anteater, armadillo and so much more. There are sometimes longer gaps between sightings than what we typically experience in Africa where there seems to always be another antelope ahead.
When it comes to the standard of accommodation the experiences are quite different. The classic Pantanal experience is to stay on working ranches that have turned much of their land over to conservation. In keeping with this traditional operation housing is in ranch-style chalets or rooms, rather than the custom safari tents we are used to. To fully explore the best jaguar viewing areas we need to be based on the rivers. The boats available to us for this purpose were built originally to serve fishing parties (still big business for them throughout the year) but they have now adjusted to serve wildlife tourism during the peak jaguar viewing months. There are also houseboats that remain anchored to the shore and only serve as accommodation but we opt to use a real cruising vessel so that we are able to cover the full two river systems that are prime for jaguars. Food is known to be good and hearty. Drinks are rarely included and a tab is kept but we are including them with The Wild Source settling the tabs at the end.
Likewise, even at the best properties, the game drive vehicles are more like converted farm vehicles than the meticulously crafted safari vehicles we use in Africa. While things like the vehicles won’t measure quite up to what we are accustomed to in Africa there is amazing flexibility for some independence that isn’t possible to safely offer in Africa. For example, you may be able to independently go walking around the property. This adds to the independent adventure opportunity that some of us miss in Africa.
This destination is best for wildlife enthusiasts who crave to dive deep into the natural world and are happy to experience it on a well-supported Brazilian traditional level. For sure we will see some things that we know from Africa can be done better, but we will also be blown away on this new adventure to savor some of the best wildlife viewing in the Western hemisphere.

Pantanal Safari Regions

Amolar Mountains

Serra do Amolar (Amolar mountain range) is a remote destination in the far west area of Pantanal, close to the border between Brazil and Bolivia. The unique landscape, where mountains surround and protect wetlands, crystal-clear rivers and an amazing biodiversity, is still unknown to many Brazilians.

This is an exceptionally beautiful landscape seen by very few tourists. Here the giant water lilies are only one of the marvelous natural wonders to be observed.

When the pinnacle predator – jaguar – is so successful it is a great indicator of the overall richness of the natural world. While we put emphasis on finding jaguars there is exceptional (some of the best in the world) birdlife, and the riverside environment is ideal for tapir (biggest animal in South America), giant otters, capybara, caiman, anaconda, and much more.

In Amolar we explore the Acurizal Private Reserve, including a 6 km one-way walk that is on a flat terrain scenic trail through open fields and lush woodlands offering the possibility of sighting the rare Titi monkey, as well as capuchin monkeys and a diverse array of birds and butterflies. We also explore the Acurizal Bay with sit-on-top kayaks.


The jumping off point for your Pantanal safari. Cuiabá is a city on the banks of the River Cuiabá and the capital of the central Brazilian state Mato Grosso. It’s known as a gateway to the wetlands of the Northern Pantanal.

Porto Jofre

Ply the water of the Paraguay and Cuiaba rivers aboard a river houseboat, with daily excursions on a purpose built speedboat to seek out jaguar and other prime wildlife. Our route allows us to uniquely visit all three prime wildlife areas, including the Amolar Mountains which have no tourist accommodation. This exclusive cruise will take you through an impressive variety of environments inside the Grand Pantanal. Cruising these rivers allow you to explore three different Nature Reserves: the Pantanal National Park, Acurizal Private Reserve, and the Meeting of the Waters State Park in search of its fascinating and rich wildlife – the elusive jaguar, the playful giant river otters, the numerous caimans sunning along the sand bars, and staggering numbers of diverse bird species.

Sao Paolo

São Paulo is a cosmopolitan city and the financial center of  Brazil. It is a “melting pot” city and home to the largest Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and Arab communities in Brazil. They all play an important role in the culture, tradition and gastronomy the city lives for and about. There is something for everyone: word-renowned and chef-awarded restaurants, casual graffiti street art, contemporary art galleries or historical museums, old and new architecture existing together, food and street markets, upmarket boutiques selling the world’s top brands, hipster neighborhoods, 24/7 entertainment, healthy bodies exercising in parks spread along the city, football stadiums experiences for the soccer fans, and more.

Southern Pantanal

The Southern Pantanal features large, wild areas that are visited through stays on large Fazenda (Ranch) properties. We find this is the highest quality safari area because there’s vast land to explore that features the best opportunities for seeing some of the more charismatic mammals such as giant anteater, ocelot and on a couple of properties a fair chance of seeing jaguar from a game drive vehicle instead of a boat. These preferred areas in the South also offer a full range of safari activities making them a great diverse experience and worthy of longer stays.


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