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Learn how to See Jaguars within the Pantanal, Brazil – Wild Junket Journey Journey Weblog

Final Up to date on Could 18, 2023 by Nellie Huang

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

The Pantanal is commonly outshone by the Amazon rainforest, in reality, the Pantanal could be Brazil’s best-kept secret! The Pantanal is an immense freshwater wetland which expands and contracts with the seasons. It’s residence to a number 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 one of the best place to see jaguars in Brazil. The truth is, we will safely say the Pantanal is among the greatest wildlife locations on the planet! Folks usually steer away from Pantanal and in the direction of Mato Grosso du Sul as they’re involved by the value 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. Nevertheless, as a consequence of its immense measurement, it additionally spills into Paraguay and Bolivia. The Pantanal’s measurement is estimated at 42 million acres (in accordance with 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 every year, however the majority of those guests head to the state of Mato Grosso du Sul within the south. Accessed by way of the town of Campo Grande, Mato Gross du Sul is less complicated to achieve and gives a wider vary of lodging and has higher infrastructure.

Bonito, in south Pantanal, is an eco-tourism hotspot the place you possibly can 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 one of the best geared up for eco-tourism. 

pantanal jaguar safari - pantanal river

The Pantanal Map

While the south will be lots of enjoyable, if you’re decided to see wild jaguars in Brazil, it’s price making the additional effort to journey down the 145km grime highway named the Transpantaneira freeway to Porto Jofre. Happening a Pantanal jaguar safari is all the time an journey, one that usually entails treacherous, lengthy drives and discomfort, but it surely’s properly price it in our opinion. In the event you go to Porto Jofre throughout the dry season, you’re virtually assured to identify the Pantanal jaguar!

In the event you’re planning a visit to Brazil, you should definitely learn my 2-week Brazil itinerary.


Finest Time to Go to Pantanal

The perfect 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 possibilities of flooding; 80% of the plains recedes again to the primary rivers.

August and September, particularly, see the very best variety of Pantanal jaguar sightings. With the water receding, the caiman (the primary prey of the jaguars) inhabitants is concentrated to smaller areas. It’s thus a lot simpler to foretell the place you possibly can 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 throughout the dry season are that the climate is much less humid and there are much less bugs. Additionally, the primary highway into Porto Jofre is 145km of grime highway and are often solely satisfactory throughout the dry season. 

jaguar attacking caiman - pantanal jaguar safari

pantanal jaguar safari - sunset in pantanal brazil

The place do Jaguars Stay?

Jaguars love water and so are generally present in rainforests, savannahs and swamps. Traditionally jaguars may very well be discovered on the Americas wherever 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 as a consequence 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 reside in Brazil. The Amazon basin is the final main stronghold of jaguars within the wild. Nevertheless, it’s extremely tough to identify jaguars within the Amazon rainforest as a result of dense jungle. Due to this fact, one of the best place for to see jaguars in Brazil is the Pantanal, particularly the Cuiabá River close to Porto Jofre.

pantanal jaguar safari -

Learn how to Go to the Pantanal

Due to how distant the Pantanal is, you’ll almost certainly have to fly there. It’s attainable to run a collection of long-distance buses, however it can take ceaselessly and it could usually work out costlier. Regardless of the identify Cuiabá Worldwide Airport – Marechal Rondon, there are at the moment 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 will be finished in a single day for round $50. Alternatively, you possibly can fly between Campo Grande and Cuiabá, which takes simply over an hour and prices round $70. Upon getting reached Cuiabá, the next step will enormously rely on whether or not you choose on visiting Pantanal by means of an organised tour or self-driving. Extra on this under.

pantanal jaguar safari - boat cruising on river

Do You Want a Pantanal Jaguar Safari Tour?

To see jaguars within the Pantanal, it’s good to both e-book an organised tour or self-drive. Reserving an organised Pantanal jaguar safari usually entails much more cash, although all the things might 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’re virtually assured to see jaguars within the Pantanal when you go to within the dry season. Listed below are the issues to contemplate between self-drive and an organised Pantanal tour:

  • Value – Let’s begin with the plain one, when you self-drive the Pantanal it’s prone to be not less than half the value!
  • Pantanal jaguar safari itinerary – In the event you be a part of an organised tour your itinerary is about out for you, however by self-driving the Pantanal you’re answerable for your individual future.
  • Stress – An organised tour is well going to be the least annoying, you solely have one relatively than a number of bookings to make and as soon as you’re there you may 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’ll discover a lot of the lodges within the Pantanal have little English subsequently becoming a member of an organised tour offers you the good thing about having somebody whom you possibly can simply talk with. 
  • Details about the animals – Happening a tour, you’ll have entry to a wildlife information who can present all types of knowledge on the wildlife. 
  • Variety of individuals in your Pantanal jaguar safari – One essential factor that you just discover on visiting the Pantanal is that the majority organised excursions exit in teams of between 4-10. Getting that good picture of Pantanal jaguar will be tough with half a dozen individuals in your approach!

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

Organised Pantanal Tour Choices

Earlier than opting to self-drive our Pantanal jaguar safari journey we did analysis into the totally different tour choices, right here is the data 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 individual
  • 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 Lodge Pantanal North 
  • Safari excursions – all safari excursions in group sizes of a most of 10 individuals
  • Meals – full board on daily basis


Wildlife Pantanal Excursions 

  • Tour size – 4 days
  • Tour price – $2,740 per individual
  • Transport – decide up and drop off from Cuiabá airport
  • Lodging – 1 evening in Poconé (Piuval lodge) space and a couple of nights in Porto Jofre (lodging not specified)
  • Safari excursions – Personal
  • Meals – full board on daily basis


Pantanal Trackers

  • Tour size – 4 days
  • Tour price – $1,750 per individual
  • Transport – decide up and drop off from Cuiabá airport
  • Lodging – 1 evening in Poconé space and a couple of nights in Porto Jofre (lodging not specified)
  • Safari excursions – Personal
  • Meals – full board on daily basis


pantanal jaguar safari - jaguar by the river

Learn how to Do a Self-drive Pantanal Jaguar Safari 

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

In the event you select to self-drive with your individual Pantanal jaguar safari itinerary, all automobile rent corporations function from Cuiabá airport, and so they additionally provide a group shuttle service. Upon accumulating your automobile it will likely be an hour and a half simple drive to Poconé, primarily on one straight tarmacked highway. In Poconé you possibly can fill up on drinks and snacks, it can price you way more as soon as you’re previous Poconé! After buying provides, ensure you fill your automobile to the brim, there are not any extra fuel stations after this level. 

In Brazil a lot of the rent automobiles function on multi gasoline, both gasoline or ethanol. Ensure to replenish with gasoline in Poconé because it offers way more miles to the gallon. As soon as you’re stuffed up there’s one highway heading into the Pantanal, the Transpantaneira freeway. About 5km outdoors 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 cellphone in Brazil as there isn’t a lot sign on the Pantanal. In the event you obtain and the suitable map you should use this offline.

pantanal jaguar safari

Learn how to Hire a Automobile in Pantanal

In the case of hiring a automobile 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 helpful any of the next automobile 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 automobile rent by means of Uncover Automobiles as they’ve persistently given us one of the best customer support and greatest charges. Automobile rent approx. $60 per day.

Seek for automobile rent!

renting a car in pantanal

Is It Simple to Drive within the Pantanal?

To get to the Pantanal, it’s good to navigate the grime highway, the Transpantaneira, for roughly 147 kilometers (91 miles) from the town of Poconé to Porto Jofre. The highway will be difficult to navigate, particularly throughout the wet season when it turns into muddy and waterlogged. In drier seasons, the highway situations are typically higher, however it could nonetheless have tough patches and potholes.

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

It’s comparatively easy to navigate since it’s a single highway main from Poconé to Porto Jofre. Nevertheless, it’s important to concentrate to signage and markers as they are often sparse in some areas. Having a GPS or a dependable map will be helpful to keep away from getting misplaced. General, driving on the Transpantaneira freeway will 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 house. Jaguars are wild animals, and it’s essential to take care of a protected distance to keep away from any potential conflicts or accidents.

In the event you select to self-drive, it’s really helpful to have some prior expertise in off-road driving and be ready for potential challenges. In any case, you may be within the security of your automobile when recognizing jaguars, so actually there’s not lots of hazard concerned.

Nonetheless, it’s essential 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 had been easy however snug and there was loads of actions on the lodge. The price per evening was $190 per evening for two individuals sharing, full board. Listed below are the costs for actions organised by the lodge:

  • FREE – walks and use of trails, roads and methods and use of 24-meter commentary tower.
  • Horseback trip, R$140 (US$28) per individual / 2 hours.
  • Night time safari is R$240 (US$48) for all.
  • Strolling safari with a neighborhood is R$100 (US$20) for all.

Lodging in Porto Jofre

We completely loved our keep at Pousada Porto Jofre Puma Lodge. The price for the keep there’s $390 per evening 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

Value of Pantanal Jaguar Safari

Whole Value for Self-driving (Costs under are based mostly on 2 individuals):

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

The whole price of our 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 individual. These excursions usually present lodging, meals, transportation, guided actions (together with jaguar recognizing), and generally extra wildlife excursions comparable to birdwatching or canoeing.

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

pantanal jaguar safari - jaguars in pantanal

Jaguar Enjoyable Info

  • Jaguars like to swim, in contrast to lots of their feline relations, 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 planet, and they’re the one huge cat that may be discovered within the Americas.
  • Jaguars in Pantanal will be as much as twice the dimensions 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 comparable to giant caiman.
  • Jaguars should not the identical as leopards. Though they appear strikingly much like leopards, they don’t seem to be the identical. The principle distinction in look is that jaguars have a spot inside their spots, whereas leopards don’t.
  • Jaguars have probably the most highly effective chew of any huge cat. The identify jaguar has come from the indigenous phrase ‘yaguar’ which suggests ‘he who kills with one leap’. Their chew pressure is round 1,500-2,000 PSI which is powerful sufficient to chew by means of a caiman’s cranium or a turtle’s shell!
  • Jaguars are randy! When breeding jaguars can mate as much as 100 occasions 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 consult with a black jaguar as a black panther. Nevertheless, a black panther isn’t a species in any respect, it’s both a leopard or a jaguar with extra melanin. The truth is, black jaguars have the identical markings as noticed ones, it’s simply tougher to see! 

pantanal jaguar safari - jaguar up close

What to Pack in your Pantanal Journey

  • Loads of money – Ensure 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, suggestions & and additional actions.
  • Portuguese phrase e-book – It’s greatest to be taught some fundamental 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 probably the most half in Pantanal.
  • SPF 50+ solar cream – You’ll be spending some lengthy hours out on the river and there’s an excellent probability you’ll not have any shade. 
  • Solar hat – While spending many hours on the river it is very important shield your head. It’s simple to get sunstroke when you don’t put on ample solar safety.
  • LifeStraw – Not all lodges provide free ingesting 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 highway as you possibly can drink the faucet water (or every other water for that matter) even in locations the place it isn’t suggested.
  • Lengthy sleeve, gentle 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 relatively than conventional safari apparel to offer us the choice to show our legs for durations of time to chill down.
  • Digicam – In the event you don’t have already got a digicam you like, 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 dear however they’ve an animal eye autofocus which is able to means your photos might 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 a terrific assist for recognizing animals. We use the Steiner Navigator Professional and swear by it! It’s not low-cost however properly definitely worth the funding when you love wildlife journey.
  • Torch – In the event you can take a high-powered torch, it will likely be invaluable on evening safari & additionally as a backup for the lower than dependable electrical energy in Porto Jofre.

pantanal jaguar safari - spotting animals with camera

Take pleasure in Your Pantanal Jaguar Safari!

Thanks for studying this far. I hope this information has helped you propose your individual Pantanal jaguar safari. You probably have any questions on seeing jaguars in Pantanal, please depart them within the feedback under and I might be completely satisfied to answer to any questions you could have.

Learn my articles on Brazil and wildlife under:

Disclaimer: This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks i.e. when you e-book a keep by means of one in every of my hyperlinks, I get a small fee at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thanks in your assist!

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