Go deep into the Pantanal, to the heart of Jaguar country, in search of South America ‘Big Six’. Also, one of the best birding destinations of the Planet. Led by Senior Naturalist Leader Helder Brandao.
Small-Group Max Size: 12 participants
Departures: June 7 & October 11, 2021 – October 3, 2022
We are proud to present to you one of the greatest wildlife adventures of the world: an expedition to the heart of the Brazilian Pantanal in search of the South America ‘Big Six’ – Jaguar, Giant River Otter, Giant Anteater, Capybara, South American Tapir, and Anaconda. Your chances to enjoy good sightings and photograph all of them are quite high!
With nearly 60,000 square miles, the Pantanal (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is the largest tropical wetland in the world, and harbors some of the most unique wildlife found anywhere.
It lies mainly in Brazil, but also spills over into Paraguay and Bolivia. The Brazilian Pantanal comprises the Mato Grosso (North), and Southern Mato Grosso regions. Both of them are a deep natural experience in an unspoiled and primeval world like no other.
During the main expedition you will explore the Northern Pantanal Wetlands and Rivers as deep as it is possible, using safari vehicles, boats and on foot. Here you will have higher chances to spot all Big 6. Northern Pantanal is today’s Jaguar hotspot!
During the Southern Pantanal Extension, you will find yourself on a private preserve that offers one of the best birding destinations on the planet. The centerpiece of this 14,000 acre preserve is the award-winning Caiman Lodge. The lodge not only offers excellent accommodations (bordering luxury) but is also a supporter of a number of research and conservation efforts designed at preserving this unique ecosystem, including the Hyacinth Macaw Reproduction Project.
New Paths Expeditions have crafted a truly comprehensive Pantanal expedition, and we are proud to announce that the two most experienced naturalists in the Pantanal, Cassiano Zaporoli (Zapa) and Helder Brandao will be leading the NPE Expeditions. Their familiarity with the Pantanal will assure you of a successful and enjoyable expedition.
- Visit the UNESCO world largest tropical wetland
- Superb Wildlife observation looking for “the Big Six.”
- Jaguars Guaranteed
- Extensive birding opportunities
- Many endemics species
- Accompanied by a Senior Leader and a Head Naturalist Guide
- Upscale Pre-Extension at the Belmond Das Cataratas in Iguassu Falls
- Post-Extension at the award-winning Caiman Lodge
Pantanal Main Expedition
Details in Brief
Duration: 10 days in country (Plus a 5-day Extension)
Leader: Helder Brandão
Maximum Number of Participants: 12
Is this the right expedition for you?: This involves wildlife excursions by boat and safari vehicles (Easy to board). Short (1-hour) hikes in flat terrain (Possibility for longer hikes available – Terrain could be muddy). Rides on bumpy and dusty roads (Transport vehicles other than boats and safari trucks have air conditioning). Warm temperatures. Unexpected cold fronts are a remote possibility. Short Showers are possible and expected. The accommodations were selected based on their wildlife proximity, but some could as basic. All have air conditioning, are clean and comfortable.
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Arrive today’s afternoon on a flight from the US (Via Sao Paulo). Meet you Senior Leader and drive to the town of Pocone and then to Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel over the Transpantaneira “Highway”. Multiple stops for wildlife spotting will include abundant Yacare Caimans, Capybara, and Jabiru Storks, among many other species. (B,L,D)
Day 2: To Porto Jofre on the Transpantaneira
Enjoy a morning boat excursion on the Pixaim River in search of Giant River Otters. Then drive to the deepest point in the Northern Pantanal, Porto Jofre. Check in at Porto Jofre Hotel (best in the area) and go out on your first wildlife excursion. (B, L, D)
Day 3 to 5: Jaguar and the ‘Big Six’ Search
Using excursion boats explore the Cuiaba, Tres Imaoes, and Piguiri Rivers in search of the ‘Big Six’. This is Jaguar territory, and your chances of spotting and photographing this species in the wild are estimated at 95%! Safari vehicle explorations, short hikes, night excursions and top quality lectures by your Senior Leader will also fill up the days. (B, L, D)
Day 6: To Araras Eco Lodge Private Reserve plus Superb Birding
Drive to the Araras Eco Lodge and arrive in time for lunch. Then enjoy some of the best birding in the world at the lodges canopy towers. (B, L, D)
Day 7 & 8: Araras Wildlife Reserve Exploration
The Araras private nature preserve consists of 7,500 acres that include three main ecosystems: wetlands, savanna, and forest. On short hikes and safari vehicle excursions explore the surrounding countryside. Superb birding encounters with Capuchin, Howler, and Marmoset monkeys and even some of the ‘Big Six’ species await you. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Enjoy a Morning Wildlife Excursion – Drive to Cuiaba – Fly Home or Continue with the Upscale Southern Pantanal Extension.
Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel
We selected this hotel because of its excellent position on the Pixain River. The river is a hotspot for Giant River Otters as well as a plethora of birds. The Mato Grosso Hotel has hot running water, air conditioning, decent food, and clean, basic rooms as well as granting you greater access to wildlife.
Porto Jofre Hotel
You will find that despite its remote location in the heart of the Pantanal that the Porto Jofre Hotel provides comfortable accommodations. The rooms are clean with hot water and air conditioning, and the food is fresh. This is one of the best places to observe the Pantanal wildlife, and there is an excellent chance for Jaguar sightings. You will be able to see Macaws and Toucans right on the hotel grounds. The lodge is the best place to stay when you’re in the heart of the Pantanal.
Araras Eco Lodge
Built in harmony with the environment, but without renouncing comfort, Araras Eco Lodge rooms feature air conditioning, ceiling fans and hot running water. The three distinct ecosystems in the adjacent area provide great opportunities for wildlife observation, especially birds. Canopy towers provide access to the upper reaches of the forest, and a boardwalk meanders through the wetlands towards the nearby forest.
Grand Park Hotel
While the Grand Park Hotel is only a stopover between expeditions, it will still provide a memorable stay due to its modern and comfortable rooms, excellent dining facilities, and nearby shopping opportunities. The hotel includes a gym, sauna, and Wi-Fi among its many services. This city hotel has a 4-star rating and it is considered the best in town.
Refugio Caiman (Caiman Lodge)
The Caiman Lodge is considered to be the best eco-lodge in South America. You will find that the rooms are charming and modern and are situated in groups of 5 or 6 to provide a more personalized and private atmosphere. The service at the Caiman Lodge is perfect and the food excellent. The tourism operations at the lodge are the best available in the Pantanal. The lodge provides among the best opportunities for wildlife observation in the world.
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Note: All prices are in US$, per person, and based on double occupancy.
* Domestic Air Prices may change without prior notice due to airlines’ policies.
The expedition and the extension needs 4 guests to depart.
Included in Land Cost:
- Services of New Paths Expeditions in-house support team.
- 24/7 services of a Senior Expedition Leader during the expedition.
- Services of English-speaking local guides.
- All ground transportation (including airport transfers)
- Accommodations as noted
- All sightseeing, entrance fees, excursions, and visits as noted.
- Group photography fees.
- Meals as noted.
- Bottled water at included meals, transfers, and tours.
- Services of transfer assistants, drivers, and local staff.
- International and domestic flights.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Excess baggage charges, departure fees, and airport taxes.
- Gratuities for Local Guides; Driver and Expedition Leader.
- Personal expenses and incidentals, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, e-mail, and laundry.
- Trip cancellation, travel delay, and baggage loss insurance.
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of New Paths Expeditions.
Deposits and final payments:
- A deposit of US$ 1500.00 is required at the time of booking.
- The remaining expedition cost will be charged 120 days before the expedition begins.
Download the Complete Expedition Details
“After 20 years of traveling, we never learned so much and had as much fun as with you guys!”
Jack N. Douglas-CO
“Our three expeditions with you were spectacular! We’ve just never had such wonderful travel experiences as with New Paths. We will get around praising you!”
Harriet T. Saugerties-NY
“NPE always provides excellent expedition guiding services where ever in the world we go. They attend to every detail, and NPE always has surprising added elements that are delightful. The best!”
Charlene P. La Jolla-CA
“Well planned, good local guides, top expedition leader. The trip far exceeded all expeditions.”
Frederic K. Orange-CA