Always An Adventure

Pantanal ~ Brazil Jaguars & more…


Pantanal ~ Brazil

Jaguars & more…

with Always An Adventure Inc

Nina & Tony

Mato Grosso do Sul – Pantanal

Brazil’s Pantanal: A place of superlatives. Home to the world’s largest fresh-water wetlands, the Pantanal is ten-times the size of the Everglades, draining into a single channel: The Paraguay River. We venture deep into this world-class wildlife hotspot on a long road that bisects the Transpantaneira wilderness.

In this famed region, we discover wildlife thriving in a mix of savanna, forest, and wetland habitats. Even a relaxed day can yield more than 100 species of birds and dozens of mammals — Capybara are abundant!

Brazilian Tapir, Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater, Giant Otter, and yes, Jaguar, are five of many incredible mammals we seek, while Harpy Eagle, Greater Rhea, Hyacinth Macaw, Toco Toucan, and Helmeted Manakin top the list of impressive bird sightings. The rare Green Anaconda, the world’s largest snake, may be a lucky find, while the small crocodilian Yacaré can be seen by the thousands. For many, it is the sheer number and variety of species that leaves the most lasting impression.

Friendly, modern and comfortable cattle ranches provide our accommodations, each with its own impressive and distinctive wildlife community. Lazy afternoons invite photographers to wander between shade circles of the ranch trees for some quality time with Hyacinth Macaw and other species.


Tour Highlights

  • Try for South America’s “Big Five” of mammals: Brazilian Tapir, Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater, Giant Otter, and Jaguar
  • Witness the “Big Five” of birds: Harpy Eagle, Greater Rhea, Hyacinth Macaw, Toco Toucan, and Helmeted Manakin. Add to the possibility of photographic subjects: Southern Screamer, Sunbittern, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, and many more!
  • Explore both sides of the Transpantaneira wilderness – on safari-like excursions by boat and road
  • Observe five species of kingfisher
  • Enjoy local cuisine and hospitality at fazendas (working cattle ranches) at several stages along the road
  • Boat the Cuiabá River for an excellent chance at a Jaguar sighting
  • See water birds in mass congregation — better than the Everglades!
  • Find at least four species of monkeys and several hundred species of birds
  • Scan for night birds under intense southern sky constellations; spotlight for mammals as well


Tour Summary

12 DAYS 11 NIGHTS – Wildlife & Photography Adventure
Arrival and departure Airport is Sao Paulo
From US$4950, US$ 500 single sup

Price includes:

  • All meals (except for Sao Paulo)
  • All transfers incl. domestic flights
  • Hotel in Sao Paulo
  • 2 night safaris
  • All boats and Fluvial excursions
  • Private bilingual driver in addition to Nina & Tony as guides
  • all accommodations as per itinerary
  • private transportation for the group
  • wildlife checklists
  • water

Not included:

  • meals in Sao Paulo
  • drinks
  • laundry
  • personal expenses
  • tips

August 16 – 2020 Arrival to São Paulo, Brazil

Arrive today in São Paulo, Brazil, at Guarulhos International Airport (GRU). No activities are planned for today so you can rest up from your travels. The transfer to our hotel is included; our hotel is about twenty minutes away and we can organize an early check-in as an option for those that need it. (Normally rooms can be available by Noon, getting into a room earlier than that will require additional charges, remember you have at least 1.5 hours to get luggage and clear immigration and customs and there is a restaurant and public areas to relax in).

This evening we will have a chance to meet your guides and traveling companions, and learn more about our coming adventure. If you’re inclined, we invite you to sample Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, made with cachaça (sugarcane liquor), sugar, and lime. This could be your first of many.

Accommodations at Hotel Matiz Guarulhos (L,D):



August 17 – 2020 Early flight to Campo Grande Airport / Explore the South Side of the Pantanal!

We should arrive to Campo Grande about 9AM, to be met by our local guides. We drive by van or minibus to Aguapé Lodge (around 4hrs drive) with stops for mammals and birding on the way there. Upon arrival at our lodge, we will have lunch!

After checking into our rooms, we spend time birding around the lodge until the end of the day looking for birds such the Chaco Chachalaca, Hyacinth Macaw, Blue-fronted Parrot, Nanday Parakeet, Toco Toucan, Lineated and White Woodpeckers, Narrow-Billed Woodcreeper, Greater Thornbird, Giant Cowbird, Crested Oropendola, Purplish and Plush-crested Jays, Red-crested Cardinal and many others.

Then gather with friends for dinner, and for those that wish, the daily checklist.

Accommodations at Aguapé Lodge:


August 18, 19 & 20 – 2020 – Pantanal Safari from Aguapé Lodge

Aguapé in an excellent environment for birdwatching, a place where over 300 bird species have been recorded. The Lodge is located 195 kilometers from Campo Grande city, which has an International Airport, and 60 kilometers from Aquidauana City, which is known as the gateway to the Pantanal.

Interesting bird species are Southern Screamer, Blaze-winged Parakeet, Gilded Hummingbird, Toco Toucan, Pale-crested and White-fronted Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill, Helmeted Manakin and the Scarlet-headed Blackbird, just to mention a few signature species.

After an early breakfast with a lot of bird species around us, we will go on a Safari drive with good chances to see the Undulated Tinamou, Capped Heron, Jabiru, Savanna Hawk, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Buff-necked and Plumbeous Ibises, Roseate Spoonbill, Hyacinth and Yellow-collared Macaw, Red-billed Scythebill, Orange-backed Troupial, and many others.

After lunch back at the lodge, we enjoy a siesta in the hot part of the day, and then we will make another Safari drive until the end of the day, returning in the dark with chances to see some mammals such as the Crab-eating Fox, South-American Coati, Capybara, Marsh Deer, South-American Coati, Southern Tamandua, Crab-eating Raccoon, River Otter, and night birds such as the Common and Great Potoo, Spectacled and Striped Owl, Pauraque and Scissor-tailed Nightjar.

This area could possibly be the region’s best place to spot Giant Anteater and we’ll make the effort to find them, so keep your fingers crossed!

This area could possibly be the region’s best place to spot Giant Anteater and we’ll make the effort to find them, so keep your fingers crossed!

Each day, we have dinner upon return, and for those that wish, we’ll review the daily wildlife checklist immediately after dinner.

Accommodations at Aguapé Lodge. (B,L,D, both days):


August 20 – 2020 – Another full day in Aguape , orvernight in Aguape

After an early breakfast we take a walk for birding with excellent chances to see Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Blaze-winged Parakeet, Black-crowned Tityra, Chestnut-eared Aracari and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, among many species.

After lunch and a break, we will do a motorboat excursion at Aquidauana River. This river is full of life with good chances to see a family of Giant River Otters and special birds like Black-collared Hawk, 5 species of Kingfishers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Blue-throated Piping Guan and many others.

Full meals in Aguape, overnight in Aguape:


August 21 – 2020 – 2020 Early flight Campo Grande to Cuiaba / Our Northern Transpantaneira Adventure Begins / Pousada Piuval

After an early domestic flight to Cuiabá we begin the second (northern) half of our Pantanal adventure!

Driving south, we reach the famed Pantanal via a paved road to Poconé. En route we have lunch in a typical Churrasqueria, and enjoy simple Brazilian-style cuisine.

From here, we travel the unpaved Transpantaneira Road, perhaps only rivaled by Tanzania’s Serengeti
road for spotting wildlife.

Our destination tonight is Pousada Piuval. Along the way, we might see Ringed Kingfisher, Red-crested Cardinal, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Toco Toucan, Jabiru, Limpkin, our first of many Capybaras, Yacaré Caiman, and more. ?

Pousada Piuval is located just 10km from Poconé. This is the first lodge on the Transpantaneira. It is small, about twenty rooms, and part of a large (7,000ha) family-run ranch. After check in, we can stretch our legs on a short walk. There is a lovely pool if participants want to cool off with a swim.

Accommodations at Pousada Piuval (B,L,D):


August 22, 23 & 24 – 2020 Birding & Wildlife Spotting on the Transpantaneira / Drive to Porto Jofre / Jaguar Boat Excursion

After some early morning wildlife viewing at the ranch, we depart down the Transpantaneira, keeping an eye out for Red Brocket Deer, Marsh Deer, Crab-eating Fox, Greater Rhea, Chestnut-bellied Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, and a mix of wading birds. From a few roadside hotspots, we’ll look for Green Kingfisher, Great Egret, Cocoi Heron, both Bare-faced and Green Ibises, and White-lored Spinetail – just a few species we may observe.

We pass through scattered palm woodlands, cerrado scrub, and seasonally-flooded grasslands reminiscent of the Everglades. Roadside ponds and canals are filled with waders: Roseate Spoonbill, Plumbeous Ibis, Limpkin, cormorants, herons, kingfishers, and their predator, the Yacaré Caiman. Summer water conditions concentrate the fish for foraging waders like Jabiru and Maguari Stork.

At Porto Joffe, the “end of the road”, palms attract several resident pairs of Hyacinth Macaw. From this little town on the Cuiabá River, we board a small boat that will take us to our lodgings for two days on a lovely larger houseboat. Rooms are air-conditioned, with private bath. This “floating hotel” puts us close to where the wildlife is being spotted. We’ll explore some of these areas with our smaller boats each day.

We check into our boat cabins, have dinner, then have a briefing on safety, and the wildlife we hope to see. If skies are clear, star viewing is impressive ― we should be able to see the Southern Cross!

Accommodations in private cabins on a floating houseboat hotel! (B,L,D):


August 25 – 2020 Full Day Looking for Jaguar, Jabiru & More / Jaguar Excursion, Overnight Mato Grosso hotel

Awake on the river to a host of sounds while macaws and other birds fly overhead. We use smaller speedboats to spend the day searching for the iconic Jaguar, known for their affinity to water. They are good swimmers, and often lay down along the shore after a swim. Chances are good that we see at least one individual, male or female ― perhaps even a pair together!

Once we arrive at the Mato Grosso Hotel on the Rio Pixium, we settle in and check the feeders for brilliant-colored Troupials, Palm, Silver, and Sayaca Tanagers, and Red-crested Cardinal. At this point in our journey you will have photographed numerous mammals and birds, and we can base our efforts on finding anything missing from our list that we hope to see.

Accommodations at the Mato Grosso Hotel, Rio Pixium (B,L,D):


August 26 – 2020 Wildlife & Birding on the Lower Transpantaneira

After a few days immersed in the wildest part of the Pantanal, we return north, retracing our route. At a relaxed pace, we’ll re-explore some of the areas we previously traveled.

Perhaps we’ll find a troop of Black-and-Gold Howler Monkeys, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Snail Kite, Rustybacked Antwren, Common Tody Flycatcher, White-browed Blackbird, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Ashyheaded Greenlet, Short-crested Flycatcher, Mato Grosso Antbird, Great Antshrike, and Purple-throated Euphonia and others species as we drive to our next lodge, Pousada Vitoria. When we come within proximity to water we find Whistling and Capped Herons, Pygmy and Ringed Kingfishers, Sunbittern, Black-collared and Great Black Hawks, and Rusty-backed Spinetail.

It’s another morning for gazing at the sunrise while sipping tasty Brazilian coffee. This morning, we have options to do a safari drive, or we can take a small boat ride on the Pixaim River to spot secretive species like Agami and Zig-Zag Heron. This is a good spot for Giant Otters and, with luck, a Tapir.

Accommodations at the Mato Grosso Hotel, Rio Pixium (B,L,D):


August 27 – 2020 – 2020 Wildlife Viewing / Return Drive to Cuiabá

Today, we make our way back to Cuiabá; the paved road is perhaps a welcome sight as we bid adieu to the marvelous but often dusty Pantanal. We will arrive in Cuiaba well before our evening connecting flights to Sao Paolo. Plan on flights after 4PM. For those not finding convenient flight connections, you can return to GRU and overnight, or simply overnight at a hotel we regularly use in Cuiaba and start fresh the following day. Neblina Forest can help to book your flight tickets.



Downloadable PDF of Pantanal Brazil itinerary

Company Profile

Always An Adventure is a family company run by Tony Beck & Nina Stavlund. We provide a variety of services & tours focusing on Nature, Wildlife, Birding & Photography. We teach Birdwatching and Photography both independently and through a variety of institutions...........Read More

About us

Nina Stavlund

Nina is Norwegian by blood, an extensive world traveler, and is now living in Ottawa, Canada. She's also a passionate birder and nature lover, and has logged hundreds of hours of birding the last couple of years. She's a....... Read More

Tony Beck

* PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER and TOUR GUIDE since 1993. * Located in Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA * Sponsored by NIKON of CANADA. I've always loved to share my experiences of the natural world, especially ..........Read More

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