THE PANTANAL

The Pantanal is one of the most impressive areas in Brazil and an essential destination for nature or animal lovers. Often overlooked in favour of the more well-known Amazon, the Pantanal is a far better location to see wildlife as the landscape is much flatter and therefore animals find it less easy to hide. The Pantanal is a key farming area in Brazil, indeed, most of the touristic lodges are also working cattle farms.

The area is also the largest floodplain in the world. During the months of November to January, the Pantanal receives heavy rains which fill the rivers and flood the creeks and many lodges will close during this time. As the waters rescind, the wildlife is easier to spot, and the months from May to October offer the best opportunities to see the bigger wildlife. The big draw in the Pantanal are the jaguars. The Pantanal is the best location in the world to see jaguars and the best time to see them is from June to October although you can see them at other times of the year in certain lodges. After much conservation work, the jaguar is now growing in numbers are there are a high concentration of cats in a few specific areas. Seeing jaguars is a highlight for many visitors to the Pantanal and so it’s highly recommended to plan a holiday to try and include sightings. To see jaguars in the wildlife there are essentially two options, either to stay in a lodge and head out on daily explorations by jeep or small boat, or to stay on a boat and explore the river system. Jaguars are most usually spotted roaming the river banks in search of food, be it capybara or caiman.

Aside from jaguars, the Pantanal offers you the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as tapirs, pumas, ocelots, giant otters, capybaras, caiman, giant anteaters, yellow anteaters, various monkey species, anacondas and a huge variety of bird life. The Pantanal is an important destination for birders as Brazil has a vast number of endemic species which are found here, perhaps the most famous being the Hyacinth Macaw, which a number of lodges have successfully been able to reintroduce. Accessing the Pantanal is done by flying to either Campo Grande in the southern Pantanal or to Cuiaba in the northern Pantanal. From either airport it is then either a light aircraft flight or around a 3-hour drive to reach one on of the many lodges. Most of the lodges are of a mid-range standard, as are the boats, with the exception of one lodge in the south, Caiman Ecological Refuge. If you are visiting the southern Pantanal then the area combines very well with the town of Bonito, a centre for eco-tourism and a favourite with families, where it is possible to snorkel in aquarium-like rivers, visit one of Brazil’s deepest caves and abseil into caverns. The Northern Pantanal combines well with the Chapada dos Guimaraes, which is excellent national park for trekking, whilst Cuiaba offers the only direct flight to Alta Floresta, a gateway to the southern Amazon.

WHERE TO STAY

Our favourite luxury hotels

Caiman Ecological Refuge - Wildlife Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Caiman Ecological Refuge

The Caiman Ecological Refuge offers real luxury within the Pantanal with two stunning properties amidst an incredible setting by the floodplains which provide a great mix of comfort and fabulous wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s the place to stay in the Pantanal.

Barra Mansa Lodge - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Barra Mansa Lodge

Barra Mansa Lodge is strategically positioned by the encounter of the Rio Negro, renowned as the most attractive region in Pantanal, and the Vazante do Castelo, an enormous seasonally flooded area which concentrates extraordinary nature, wildlife and landscapes.

Fazenda Barranco Alto - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Fazenda Barranco Alto

Impressing guests with some of best wildlife experiences the Pantanal, is this family run lodge. Surrounded by the savannah and floodplains, this 27,000-acre working ranch is home to a wide variety of animal and bird species.

Pousada Rio Mutum - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Pousada Rio Mutum

The Pousada Rio Mutum is a charming eco lodge in the north of the Pantanal surrounded by lakes, hills and grassy plains. It’s a delightful place to stay on holiday to the Pantanal. The surrounding forest and wetland area is world renowned for birds, wildlife and flora.

Araras Eco-Lodge - Wildlife holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Araras Ecolodge

This stunning lodge the place to stay in the northern Pantanal offering fabulous accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Araras is a haven for wildlife photographers and birders and a place you are guaranteed to want to return to.

Baiazinha Lodge - luxury holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Baiazinha Lodge

A remote lodge in the Pantanal, sister to Araras Eco Lodge and one of the best places in the world to see the elusive jaguar along with other wildlife.