The way to See Jaguars within the Pantanal, Brazil – Wild Junket Journey Journey Weblog

Final Up to date on Could 19, 2023 by Nellie Huang

The Pantanal boasts the very best focus of wildlife in South America. Right here’s an in depth information on the right way to do a Pantanal jaguar safari, by Dave & Becca from Deliver Us That Horizon.

The Pantanal is usually outshone by the Amazon rainforest, the truth is, the Pantanal might be Brazil’s best-kept secret! The Pantanal is an immense freshwater wetland which expands and contracts with the seasons. It’s dwelling to a few of the world’s most iconic animals, together with the inexperienced anaconda, large anteaters, howler monkeys, capybara and its crowning jewel, the elusive jaguar.

The Pantanal is undoubtedly the very best place to see jaguars in Brazil. Actually, we are able to safely say the Pantanal is likely one of the finest wildlife locations on the earth! Individuals usually steer away from Pantanal and in direction of Mato Grosso du Sul as they’re involved by the worth tag; this information will present you it doesn’t have to interrupt the financial institution to see jaguars in Brazil.

pantanal jaguar safari brazil - jaguars in pantanal

Pantanal Jaguar Safari

The place is the Pantanal?

Round 80% of the Pantanal is in Brazil, break up between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso du Sul. Nonetheless, because of its immense measurement, it additionally spills into Paraguay and Bolivia. The Pantanal’s measurement is estimated at 42 million acres (in response to WWF); To place that in perspective, it’s bigger than 29 of the 50 US states, together with New York and Florida.

Over 1 million individuals go to the Pantanal annually, however the majority of those guests head to the state of Mato Grosso du Sul within the south. Accessed through the town of Campo Grande, Mato Gross du Sul is simpler to achieve and presents a wider vary of lodging and has higher infrastructure.

Bonito, in south Pantanal, is an eco-tourism hotspot the place you’ll be able to partake in organised actions like snorkelling the crystal-clear waters of Rio da Prata or visiting the macaw heritage reserve of Buraco das Araras. As in comparison with Paraguay and Bolivia, the Brazilian a part of the Pantanal is by far the very best geared up for eco-tourism. 

pantanal jaguar safari - pantanal river

The Pantanal Map

While the south could be a number of enjoyable, if you’re decided to see wild jaguars in Brazil, it’s price making the additional effort to journey down the 145km dust street named the Transpantaneira freeway to Porto Jofre. Occurring a Pantanal jaguar safari is all the time an journey, one that always includes treacherous, lengthy drives and discomfort, however it’s properly price it in our opinion. If you happen to go to Porto Jofre in the course of the dry season, you’re virtually assured to identify the Pantanal jaguar!

If you happen to’re planning a visit to Brazil, be sure you learn my 2-week Brazil itinerary.


Greatest Time to Go to Pantanal

The very best time to go to the Pantanal is within the dry season, between the months of July and October. There’s much less rain and decrease probabilities of flooding; 80% of the plains recedes again to the principle rivers.

August and September, specifically, see the very best variety of Pantanal jaguar sightings. With the water receding, the caiman (the principle prey of the jaguars) inhabitants is concentrated to smaller areas. It’s thus a lot simpler to foretell the place you’ll be able to spot jaguars within the Pantanal. The temperatures throughout this season vary from round 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).

Some extra advantages of visiting the Pantanal in the course of the dry season are that the climate is much less humid and there are much less bugs. Additionally, the principle street into Porto Jofre is 145km of dust street and are often solely satisfactory in the course of the dry season. 

jaguar attacking caiman - pantanal jaguar safari

pantanal jaguar safari - sunset in pantanal brazil

The place do Jaguars Dwell?

Jaguars love water and so are generally present in rainforests, savannahs and swamps. Traditionally jaguars could possibly be discovered on the Americas anyplace from mid-Argentina all the best way as much as Southwest USA. Sadly, since 1880, jaguars have misplaced greater than half of their territory, primarily because of unlawful poaching and deforestation. 

Though they do nonetheless have small pockets in Central America and as far north as Mexico, it’s estimated over half of the inhabitants of untamed jaguars dwell in Brazil. The Amazon basin is the final main stronghold of jaguars within the wild. Nonetheless, it’s extremely tough to identify jaguars within the Amazon rainforest as a result of dense jungle. Due to this fact, the very best place for to see jaguars in Brazil is the Pantanal, particularly the Cuiabá River close to Porto Jofre.

pantanal jaguar safari -

The way to Go to the Pantanal

Due to how distant the Pantanal is, you’ll probably have to fly there. It’s doable to run a collection of long-distance buses, however it can take eternally and it will probably usually work out costlier. Regardless of the title Cuiabá Worldwide Airport – Marechal Rondon, there are at present no worldwide air routes.  

There are a great deal of flights every day (multiple an hour!) between Sáo Paulo and Cuiabá. The flight time is round 2 hours 15 minutes, with costs round $100 return.  Flights from Rio de Janeiro to Cuiabá are round 2 hours 40 minutes and costs are round double that of flying from Sáo Paulo. Verify for flights to Cuiaba.

In case you are planning to go to each northern and southern Pantanal you do have the choice of an 11-hour bus, which could be performed in a single day for round $50. Alternatively, you’ll be able to fly between Campo Grande and Cuiabá, which takes simply over an hour and prices round $70. Upon getting reached Cuiabá, the next step will tremendously rely upon whether or not you decide on visiting Pantanal via an organised tour or self-driving. Extra on this beneath.

pantanal jaguar safari - boat cruising on river

Do You Want a Pantanal Jaguar Safari Tour?

To see jaguars within the Pantanal, you should both e book an organised tour or self-drive. Reserving an organised Pantanal jaguar safari usually includes much more cash, although the whole lot will probably be taken care of for you, together with transport and loding. Most significantly, you’ll have a wildlife information who can spot the jaguars for you. Self-driving is extra appropriate for adventurous vacationers who’re eager on treading your individual path.

No matter which possibility you select, you might be virtually assured to see jaguars within the Pantanal for those who go to within the dry season. Listed here are the issues to think about between self-drive and an organised Pantanal tour:

  • Price – Let’s begin with the apparent one, for those who self-drive the Pantanal it’s more likely to be a minimum of half the worth!
  • Pantanal jaguar safari itinerary – If you happen to be part of an organised tour your itinerary is about out for you, however by self-driving the Pantanal you might be accountable for your individual future.
  • Stress – An organised tour is definitely going to be the least disturbing, you solely have one slightly than a number of bookings to make and as soon as you might be there you’ll be picked up from the airport and ferried from A to B and again once more, with out the necessity to consider it.
  • Communication – Pantanal ecotourism is comparatively new; you will see a lot of the lodges within the Pantanal have little English subsequently becoming a member of an organised tour offers you the advantage of having somebody whom you’ll be able to simply talk with. 
  • Details about the animals – Occurring a tour, you’ll have entry to a wildlife information who can present every kind of data on the wildlife. 
  • Variety of individuals in your Pantanal jaguar safari – One vital factor that you simply discover on visiting the Pantanal is that almost all organised excursions exit in teams of between 4-10. Getting that good photograph of Pantanal jaguar could be troublesome with half a dozen individuals in your means!

In abstract, the deciding issue might be how a lot cash it’s important to spend in your journey. So so long as you might be glad to pay for it, many tour corporations will tailor a non-public journey to go well with you, however self-driving is the extra adventurous, budget-friendly possibility.

Pantanal Jaguar Safari: How to See Jaguars in the Pantanal, Brazil

Organised Pantanal Tour Choices

Earlier than opting to self-drive our Pantanal jaguar safari journey we did analysis into the completely different tour choices, right here is the knowledge we discovered and a abstract of what every Pantanal tour contains:

Viator – ‘Following the footsteps of the Jaguar’

  • Tour size – 6 days
  • Tour price – Ranging from $4,212 per particular person
  • Transport – decide up and drop off from Cuiabá airport
  • Lodging – 3 nights in lodging close to Poconé (e.g – Pousada Rio Claro/Pousada Piuval). 2 nights in Porto Jofre at Resort Pantanal North 
  • Safari excursions – all safari excursions in group sizes of a most of 10 individuals
  • Meals – full board day-after-day


Wildlife Pantanal Excursions 

  • Tour size – 4 days
  • Tour price – $2,740 per particular person
  • Transport – decide up and drop off from Cuiabá airport
  • Lodging – 1 night time in Poconé (Piuval lodge) space and a pair of nights in Porto Jofre (lodging not specified)
  • Safari excursions – Personal
  • Meals – full board day-after-day


Pantanal Trackers

  • Tour size – 4 days
  • Tour price – $1,750 per particular person
  • Transport – decide up and drop off from Cuiabá airport
  • Lodging – 1 night time in Poconé space and a pair of nights in Porto Jofre (lodging not specified)
  • Safari excursions – Personal
  • Meals – full board day-after-day


pantanal jaguar safari - jaguar by the river

The way to Do a Self-drive Pantanal Jaguar Safari 

We now have tried and examined this feature and would 100% suggest Pantanal self-drive for anybody wishing to avoid wasting cash and tackle the journey. 

If you happen to select to self-drive with your individual Pantanal jaguar safari itinerary, all automotive rent corporations function from Cuiabá airport, they usually additionally supply a set shuttle service. Upon amassing your automotive will probably be an hour and a half simple drive to Poconé, primarily on one straight tarmacked street. In Poconé you’ll be able to replenish on drinks and snacks, it can price you rather more as soon as you might be previous Poconé! After buying provides, ensure you fill your automotive to the brim, there are not any extra fuel stations after this level. 

In Brazil a lot of the rent automobiles function on multi gas, both gasoline or ethanol. Make sure that to refill with gasoline in Poconé because it offers rather more miles to the gallon. As soon as you might be stuffed up there may be one street heading into the Pantanal, the Transpantaneira freeway. About 5km exterior of Poconé the tarmac finishes and the journey begins!

Tip: It’s a good suggestion to obtain, even if you’re paying to make use of your telephone in Brazil as there isn’t a lot sign on the Pantanal. If you happen to obtain and the suitable map you should utilize this offline.

pantanal jaguar safari

The way to Lease a Automobile in Pantanal

In relation to hiring a automotive for visiting Pantanal you don’t want a 4×4, however you want one with a excessive floor clearance, this is because of masking 145km on unsealed roads. When doing our analysis and talking to the lodge house owners they really useful any of the next automotive fashions; VW Gol, Renault Duster, Fiat Uno or Toyota Sienna.

We opted for a Renault Duster, and it was good for the job. We all the time e book our automotive rent via Uncover Automobiles as they’ve constantly given us the very best customer support and finest charges. Automobile rent approx. $60 per day.

Seek for automotive rent!

renting a car in pantanal

Is It Straightforward to Drive within the Pantanal?

To get to the Pantanal, you should navigate the dust street, the Transpantaneira, for about 147 kilometers (91 miles) from the town of Poconé to Porto Jofre. The street could be difficult to navigate, particularly in the course of the wet season when it turns into muddy and waterlogged. In drier seasons, the street situations are usually higher, however it will probably nonetheless have tough patches and potholes.

The Transpantaneira is a distant route, and there are restricted companies accessible alongside the best way. It’s possible you’ll discover a couple of small lodges, farmhouses, or relaxation areas, however don’t count on frequent entry to facilities akin to gas stations, eating places, or restore outlets. It’s advisable to make sure you have sufficient gas, meals, and water provides earlier than embarking on the journey.

It’s comparatively simple to navigate since it’s a single street main from Poconé to Porto Jofre. Nonetheless, it’s important to concentrate to signage and markers as they are often sparse in some areas. Having a GPS or a dependable map could be useful to keep away from getting misplaced. Total, driving on the Transpantaneira freeway could be an adventurous and rewarding expertise. 

pantanal jaguar safari - self drive in pantanal

Is It Protected to Do a Self-Drive Jaguar Safari?

Whereas it may be an unbelievable expertise to see jaguars of their pure habitat, it’s essential to train warning and respect their area. Jaguars are wild animals, and it’s vital to keep up a secure distance to keep away from any potential conflicts or accidents.

If you happen to select to self-drive, it’s really useful to have some prior expertise in off-road driving and be ready for potential challenges. You can be within the security of your automobile when recognizing jaguars, however you’ll have to know what to do in case you break down.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to notice that guided excursions with skilled native operators are a safer possibility for exploring the Pantanal, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the world. 

cruising the river - jaguars in pantanal

The place to Keep within the Pantanal

Lodging in Poconé

We stayed at Pouso Alegre Lodge and extremely suggest them. The rooms have been easy however snug and there was loads of actions on the lodge. The associated fee per night time was $190 per night time for two individuals sharing, full board. Listed here are the costs for actions organised by the lodge:

  • FREE – walks and use of trails, roads and methods and use of 24-meter remark tower.
  • Horseback trip, R$140 (US$28) per particular person / 2 hours.
  • Evening safari is R$240 (US$48) for all.
  • Strolling safari with an area is R$100 (US$20) for all.

Lodging in Porto Jofre

We completely loved our keep at Pousada Porto Jofre Puma Lodge. The associated fee for the keep there may be $390 per night time for two individuals sharing. That included a full day river safari for each full day spent in Porto Jofre and full board meals.

pantanal jaguar safari - toucan spotted in pantanal

Price of Pantanal Jaguar Safari

Complete Price for Self-driving (Costs beneath are primarily based on 2 individuals):

  • Self-drive = $2,210
  • Organised tour = $8,424

The full price of our 6-day self-drive jaguar safari added as much as a complete of US$2,210 for 2 of us.

The costs for organised Pantanal jaguar excursions often vary from $2,000 to $5000 or extra per particular person. These excursions usually present lodging, meals, transportation, guided actions (together with jaguar recognizing), and typically extra wildlife excursions akin to birdwatching or canoeing.

To place it into perspective, evaluating what we spent with the Viator (the most cost effective worldwide tour firm) 6-day safari, you’d save over $6.000!

pantanal jaguar safari - jaguars in pantanal

Jaguar Enjoyable Details

  • Jaguars like to swim, not like lots of their feline kin, who keep away from water, jaguars have tailored to their moist environments to be extraordinarily good swimmers.
  • Jaguars are the threerd largest cat on the earth, and they’re the one large cat that may be discovered within the Americas.
  • Jaguars in Pantanal could be as much as twice the scale of jaguars present in Central America. Males within the Pantanal can weigh as much as a hefty 120kg (265lbs); their humungous measurement is required to take down prey akin to giant caiman.
  • Jaguars are usually not the identical as leopards. Though they appear strikingly just like leopards, they aren’t the identical. The primary distinction in look is that jaguars have a spot inside their spots, whereas leopards don’t.
  • Jaguars have essentially the most highly effective chew of any large cat. The title jaguar has come from the indigenous phrase ‘yaguar’ which suggests ‘he who kills with one leap’. Their chew power is round 1,500-2,000 PSI which is powerful sufficient to chew via a caiman’s cranium or a turtle’s shell!
  • Jaguars are randy! When breeding jaguars can mate as much as 100 instances per day.
  • There is just one species of the jaguar. Though there are 34 sub-populations, 25 of that are classed as endangered.
  • A black jaguar and a noticed one are the identical species. Usually individuals confer with a black jaguar as a black panther. Nonetheless, a black panther isn’t a species in any respect, it’s both a leopard or a jaguar with extra melanin. Actually, black jaguars have the identical markings as noticed ones, it’s simply more durable to see! 

pantanal jaguar safari - jaguar up close

What to Pack to your Pantanal Journey

  • Loads of money – Make sure that to withdraw money in Cuiabá, there are not any ATMs in Porto Jofre. We paid for a few of our lodging in money. The one different factor you’ll need money for is drinks, ideas & and further actions.
  • Portuguese phrase e book – It’s finest to study some primary Portuguese: “olá” (good day), “bom dia” (good morning), “por favor” (please), “obrigada/o” (thanks). In case your Portuguese isn’t nice, obtain the Portuguese dictionary on Google translate, as you received’t have web for essentially the most half in Pantanal.
  • SPF 50+ solar cream – You can be spending some lengthy hours out on the river and there’s a very good probability you’ll not have any shade. 
  • Solar hat – While spending many hours on the river you will need to shield your head. It’s simple to get sunstroke for those who don’t put on satisfactory solar safety.
  • LifeStraw – Not all lodges supply free consuming water in Pantanal. We completely swear by our LifeStraw Go filter water bottle! Not solely does it scale back plastic waste, it can save loads of cash on the street as you’ll be able to drink the faucet water (or some other water for that matter) even in locations the place it isn’t suggested.
  • Lengthy sleeve, mild weight t-shirt – In case you are fair-skinned and burn simply it’s a good suggestion to put on lengthy sleeves in your days on the boat in Porto Jofre, as talked about above, you’ll be on the river for round 8 hours with little shade.
  • Light-weight mountaineering pants – We opted for zip-off mountaineering trousers slightly than conventional safari apparel to provide us the choice to reveal our legs for intervals of time to chill down.
  • Digital camera – If you happen to don’t have already got a digicam you’re keen on, take a look into canon EOS r5 – r7 vary. We didn’t have one however a man we met visiting Pantanal had one and it’s completely superior. They’re expensive however they’ve an animal eye autofocus which can means your photos will probably be superb.
  • Pantanal’s Wildlife Guidebook This guidebook is an absolute should if you’re self-driving to assist with figuring out the animals. We had nice enjoyable with this and located it actually helpful when persevering with our travels within the Southern Pantanal and Bolivia.
  • Binoculars – Binoculars are an excellent assist for recognizing animals. We use the Steiner Navigator Professional and swear by it! It’s not low cost however properly well worth the funding for those who love wildlife journey.
  • Torch – If you happen to can take a high-powered torch, will probably be invaluable on night time safari & additionally as a backup for the lower than dependable electrical energy in Porto Jofre.

pantanal jaguar safari - spotting animals with camera

Get pleasure from Your Pantanal Jaguar Safari!

Thanks for studying this far. I hope this information has helped you propose your individual Pantanal jaguar safari. In case you have any questions on seeing jaguars in Pantanal, please depart them within the feedback beneath and I will probably be glad to answer to any questions you might have.

Learn my articles on Brazil and wildlife beneath:

Disclaimer: This put up comprises affiliate hyperlinks i.e. for those who e book a keep via one in all my hyperlinks, I get a small fee at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thanks to your assist!

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