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Brazilian Pantanal & Iguazú Falls

Tour Code: BRA03

A 16-day wildlife watching holiday in Brazil visiting the Pantanal wetlands and the Iguazú Falls.

16 days from £5595(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4995 SRS: £950


Brazil's Pantanal wetlands are one of the greatest wildlife areas in South America. Using the experience gained from many previous visits, our itinerary offers you the best of the Pantanal's birds and mammals along with Caimen, lizards and a plethora of other creatures. The handsome Hyacinth Macaw, the largest parrot of all, will be among the many bird species we see; whilst mammals include Giant River Otter, Capybara and sometimes more secretive residents such as Giant Anteater and Jaguar!  Following our extended stay in this wildlife paradise, we conclude our tour with a visit to the Iguazu Falls, one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls.

  • Giant Anteaters & Jaguars... regularly seen by our groups
  • Enjoy Hyacinth Macaws – the world's largest parrot
  • Search for giant Anacondas
  • Caiman galore!
  • Explore the Pantanal in depth
  • Admire the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Simple but comfortable lodges, all with private facilities.

Toco Toucan (Mike & Karen Galtry)

Toco Toucan (Mike & Karen Galtry)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Fly Cuiaba, via Sao Paulo; transfer to Pouso Alegre

Day 3/4 Pouso Alegre, Pantanal

Day 5/7 Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal

Day 8/10 Rio Claro or Pixaim River, Pantanal

Day 11 Cuiaba

Day 12/14 Iguazú Falls

Day 15 Fly London via Sao Paulo

Day 16 Arrive London

Day 16 Arrive London

The vast empty lowlands of the Pantanal extend southwards from the plateau of the Mato Grosso in Brazil to the borders with Paraguay and Bolivia. This area, roughly the size of France, is sparsely populated and contains many huge cattle ranches which provide the main source of employment in a region largely devoid of industry. In the north, low dry woodland, damp grasslands and gallery forest along the banks of a meandering river system create a mosaic of different habitats. Further south the woodland is relieved by broad expanses of swamp and marsh which are recognised as one of the most important wetland areas in the Neotropics. 

The relative lack of human disturbance and the open nature of the habitat mean that wildlife is often easier to observe than elsewhere in South America. Herds of Capybara, the world’s largest rodent, browse the swamps within the watchful gaze of many large Caimans. These New World crocodiles reach an impressive size here, but are fortunately mainly fisheaters. Anacondas also occur in the swamps but are less often seen. The edge of the wetland is home to the rare Marsh Deer and in the adjoining woodlands it is possible to encounter Red and Grey Brocket Deer. The taller woodlands are frequented by agile Brown Capuchin Monkeys and echo to the weird calls of the more lethargic Black Howlers. Along the quieter stretches of the large rivers a watch should be kept for Giant River Otters. These endangered animals are often very confiding and will approach to within a few metres of observers, an endearing characteristic that has all too often led to their destruction. 

As we journey south, we will check the swamps for Brazilian Tapirs which often spend the hotter parts of the day immersed in the water. Many of the animals here are nocturnal and spotlighting at night could produce such species as Racoon, Crab-eating Fox, Giant Anteater, Ocelot and a range of nightjars. That supreme South American predator, the Jaguar, is by no means rare here and, although always hard to see, the Pantanal is probably the most likely area of the continent to chance upon one. 

As might be expected the Pantanal boasts a rich and varied avifauna, from the giant Jabiru Stork to tiny hummingbirds such as the Glittering-bellied Emerald and White-tailed Golden-throat. Herons, storks, ibises and Limpkins throng the marshy areas where raptors such as Great Black, Black-collared and Savanna Hawks and Snail Kites are common. The gallery forests and scrub hold a bewildering array of tropical birds. Antbirds, woodcreepers, toucans, tyrant flycatchers and colourful parrots are well represented but pride of place must go to the huge Hyacinth Macaw, the world’s largest parrot. Under threat throughout most of its range, this charismatic bird is still relatively easy to find in favoured parts of the Pantanal and will certainly represent one of the holiday highlights.  

To ensure that we have the maximum opportunity to enjoy its wildlife, we spend a total of nine nights at three different lodges in the Pantanal, covering all the major habitats of this fascinating environment. Boat excursions and nocturnal spotlighting will greatly increase our chances of seeing the more retiring inhabitants. 

At the end of our stay in the Pantanal we retrace our steps to Cuiabá and thence by internal flights to Iguazú for a stay of three nights. The spectacular waterfalls on the border between Argentina and Brazil are set amidst a vast expanse of tropical forest which is protected as a national park. Over 2,000 plant species have been recorded here, and the stunning birdlife offers a huge range of possibilities, including representatives from such typical South American families as toucans and woodcreepers. We will visit both sides of the border during our stay and follow trails into the forest to look for birds and mammals. There will also be plenty of time to simply admire the spectacle of the falls which can be viewed from various vantage points. Iguazú is ranked among the world’s greatest waterfalls and attracts large numbers of visitors to the area. Few, however, venture along the forest trails, and we can be assured of many superb wildlife encounters. 

The length of stay at each location on this tour, and the combination of habitats, make this a most unusual South American holiday and will provide a rare opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of each place visited and become familiar with a unique selection of birds and mammals.

 


 

 

Chestnut-eared Aracari (Mike Galtry)Back Howler Monkey (Mike Galtry)Nacunda NighthawkGreater Rhea (Mike Galtry)Black-collared Hawk (Mike Galtry)Marsh Deer (Mike Galtry)Iguazu Falls (Mike Galtry)Giant Otter (Mike Galtry)South American Coati (Mike Galtry)Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Mike Galtry)Black-throated Mango (Mike Galtry)Magellanic Horned Owl (Mike Galtry)Mato Grosso Pantanal Hotel (Mike Galtry)Toco Toucan (Mike Galtry)Sunbittern (Mike Galtry)Pixaim River (Mike Galtry)Marsh Deer Stag (Mike Galtry)Iguazu Falls (Mike Galtry)Blue-fronted Amazon (Mike Galtry)Naturetrek Group (Mike Galtry)Capybara (Mike Galtry)Little Brocket Deer (Mike Galtry)Jabiru (Mike Galtry)Black Skimmers (Mike Galtry)Back Vulture (Mike Galtry)Hyacinth Macaws (Bryan Roberts)South Amercan Coati (Bryan Roberts)Great Black Hawk (Mike Galtry)Spectacled Caiman (Mike Galtry)Jaguar (Bryan Roberts)Jaguar Portrait (Bryan Roberts)Amazon Kingfisher (Ian Bruce)Black-capped Donacobius (Ian Bruce)Black-striped-tufted Capuchin (Ian Bruce)Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ian Bruce)Giant River Otter (Ian Bruce)Great Egret (Ian Bruce)Hyacinth Macaws (Ian Bruce)Jabiru (Ian Bruce)Jaguar (Ian Bruce)Jaguar (Ian Bruce)Jaguar (Ian Bruce)Jaguar (Ian Bruce)Large-billed Tern (Ian Bruce)Ringed Kingfisher (Ian Bruce)Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Ian Bruce)Jaguar (Ian Bruce)Toco Tucan (Ian Bruce)Capped HeronIguazu FallsIguazu FallsIguazu FallsBelted Kingfisher (Pat Taylor)Caiman (Pat Taylor)Jaguar (Pat Taylor)Jaguar (Pat Taylor)Jaribu Storks (Pat Taylor)Sunbittern (Pat Taylor)
L.H.
Cheshire
The Pantanal was very interesting and staying in three different locations was excellent. Both the bird and wildlife watching was excellent. Although the travelling to the Falls was a little tedious, they were amazing and I would not have wanted to miss them.
C.E.
Devon
I love my birds and it was very relaxing to spot birds by boat or on the truck instead of just on foot safari in the heat. It was good having downtime in the middle of the day. This holiday was nicely paced. Birding Iguazu Falls has to be the ultimate!!! It was way beyond my expectations as somewhere to spend three days. Wonderful.
H.R.
Morayshire
I liked staying three nights at the Lodges/Flotel to get more of a feel for the places within the Pantanal. I liked the combination of birds and mammals with daytime and nighttime viewing.
T.S.
Bedfordshire
This was a fantastic holiday, the group got on so well. Overall a great holiday.
J.C.
Kent
I knew little about the Pantanal and had never heard of the Iguazu Falls so had no high expectations. As a result I was delighted to be able to see jaguar, ocelot, anteaters and loads of bird species thanks to Kike, our excellent guide. The majestic Falls just took my breath away, the power and noise of the water dominated all senses at once! The hotels were of an excellent standard as was the food which was rather too plentiful for my waistline!
C.P.
London
There was a variety of activities and wildlife, busy for many hours each day. Competent guiding from Marcos, who worked hard for us.
E.R.
Norfolk
Good sized group, variety of transport and excellent opportunities to see rare mammals and birds in their natural habitat at close range. The flotel was a brilliant place to stay, situated so close to the rivers and the outings by boat were both magical and exciting (depending on the speed!) I enjoyed the short evening talks given by the resident researcher each evening. The contrast between the quiet of the remote Pantanal and impressive Iguazu made for a good combination holiday.
S.R.
Norfolk
Fantastic views of jaguars, giant anteater, ocelot, giant river otters, lesser anteater, birds and more in all the places we stayed. The flotel was excellent for quick river trips in a speedy boat. Finishing with wonderful views of the Iguazu Falls from both sides and (wet)close up platforms near to the falls for photos. Every day was full and interesting and downtime in the midday heat much appreciated. Just about the best trip so far.
Mr & Mrs Orr
Aberdeenshire
We were particularly lucky to see jaguars on ten different occasions. The birdlife was spectacular and other mammals that we were privileged to catch sight of included Giant River Otters, Giant and Lesser Anteaters, Ocelot, numerous Capybara and Brazilian Tapir.
G.I.
Surrey
Our guide Marcos was absolutely excellent and his care for us and the interest he brought to the whole trip was outstanding. He is knowledgeable, kind, has a great sense of humour and did his very best to make sure we were all included. The whole trip was outstanding and I enjoyed it immensely.
S.W.
Hampshire
Marcos is a superb leader - exceedingly attentive and helpful and hard working. You have a 'gold leader' there in whom it would be worth investing.
L.H.
Perth & Kinross
Good itinerary with a very professional, hard working and informative guide. Each day had as many trips by truck, foot or boat as we could manage and on all occasions, we saaw plenty of wildlife. Marcos always went the extra mile to see we were looked after, providing a flask of coffee on early starts and bottled water during the day.
Mr & Mrs F
Ontario
The truck was a bit of a surprise - we had seen the picture prior to booking but both the comfort and viewing were much better than expected (and the dust factor less). Jaguar viewing was much better than expected - we had been prepared for a 'dip' or at best a glimpse through the forest. Flotel itself was very comfortable and the outings boats were very accessible with smooth speedy ride and excellent viewing.
H.W.
Aberdeenshire
Thanks to the keen eye of our tour leader, we saw over 200 species of birds and over 20 mammal species and this certainly exceeded my expectations. The experience of being in the Pantanal and seeing first hand all the different habitats and species living there was amazing. The group size of 12 was perfect and we all got to know each other really well and got on well together.
J.P.
Gloucestershire
Marcos is an excellent guide and was very effective in sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural environment. The Flotel provided great accomodation, the boat was very fast and very stable and we had successful sightings of Jaguars and River Otters. Iguazu is stunning and was a perfect end to the holiday.
N.G.
Surrey
Managed to see a great variety of birds and mammals and the final days at the falls were awesome. Marcos Felix was an excellent guide who was very conscientious, hard working and friendly. His knowledge of the wildlife was considerable and he had an obvious passion for conservation.
H.N.
London
Our guide was superb. He had excellent knowledge, found all sorts of rare animals, was really enthusiastic and always positioned our boat really well when viewing the jaguars. He also looked after the smallest details and cared really well for us.
Mr & Mrs H.
Australia
As a trip it more than exceeded our expectations seeing birds and mammals, the memories of which will stay with us for years. The boat trips searching for Jaguar were most enjoyable and staying on the flotel proved to be really good in cutting down travel time. The Iguazu Falls were awesome and the icing on the cake was seeing the Black-fronted Piping Guan on the last day there.
M.B.
Suffolk
Our guide Marcos was exceptionally good, he was caring, attentive and very diplomatic and above all very knowledgeable. He demonstrated great diligence in his work and a total commitment to any tasks he undertook.
Mr & Mrs E.
Hampshire
Marcos was hard-working, full of fun and dedicated to ensuring everyone had a good time and that everything ran smoothly. The highlight was our time at the Jaguar Flotel although, being bird-watchers, we enjoyed everywhere. There was an excellent variety of habitats. Also, the Iguazu Falls were stunning.
J.W.
Lancashire
Excellent guide and wonderful sightings of birds and animals in the Pantanal.
Mr & Mrs A.
West Yorkshire
Our main guide, Paulo, was excellent and enthusiastic. He was knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the region and very informative about the things we saw. He spared no effort to find those more elusive birds and we were rewarded with views of some of the rarer species. The opportunity to stay in different areas of the Pantanal enhanced the enjoyment as it offered varied landscapes and wildlife viewings. We met some lovely, sociable people who, like us, were determined to see as much as they could. The falls were awe-inspiring, seeing them from both sides really help you appreciate their size and force.
R.H.
Glamorgan
Our guide Paulo was extremely knowledgeable about the mammals and birds of the region, we highly rate him as a guide and would strongly recommend that you continue to use him. Having experienced holidays with a number of birding guides around the world - he is one of the best. A well-organised holiday to a wonderful part of the world - who could ask for more!
A.M.
Jersey
I thought the Brazilian guide, Paulo, was excellent. He worked extremely hard to ensure all 12 of us in the group were kept informed, constantly identifying and explaining the behaviour of the fabulous wildlife seen. The wildlife was great, Iguazu was sensational, and the lodges were as good as they can be for this type of holiday. I particularly liked the Flotel on the river. The bananas in coconut sauce at the restaurant at Iguazu was almost worth all the flying on its own!
R.A.
Bristol
This was another memorable holiday with many splendid highlights: caiman eyes glowing in the spotlight; hundreds of snowy egrets roosting at dusk and flying to fish at dawn; floating under the stars - no light pollution just the sounds of the night and millions of stars; beautiful butterflies; spectacular sunrises, sunsets and reflections; the amazing Iguazu Falls; and after many hours and kilometres - finally seeing a Jaguar!! Two minutes of behaviour - stunning! What a beautiful animal!
P.C.
West Yorkshire
Braulio Carlos was excellent. He tried hard to please everyone and his wildlife knowledge was very good. His field craft skills were amazing - he found us a sleeping night monkey by hearing a noise in some trees.
D.R.
Surrey
Braulio Carlos made this trip the success it was with his knowledge, skill and patience. Without his knowledge of wildlife, mammals and birds I doubt we would have seen half the stuff we saw. His patience was outstanding because of all the endless questions he had to endure. I have nothing but the highest respect for him and his knowledge of the Pantanal.
Mr & Mrs D
Berkshire
An excellent itinerary and an exceptional guide in Braulio Carlos, who educated and inspired us. We were often awake before dawn and returned after dusk, enabling the best viewing opportunities. Braulio led by example with a never-say-die attitude; nothing was too much trouble and he was forever positive. His attention to detail, knowledge and personal manner ensured that all guests of varying standards and specialities remained interested throughout the trip. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip - our expectations were greatly exceeded.
C.J.H.
Oxford
Iguacu is the most beautiful and impressive place we've ever been, and the staging of the order of the visits was excellent. The plenitude of life in the Pantanal was extraordinary.
Mr & Mrs D
Berkshire
An excellent itinerary and an exceptional guide in Braulio Carlos, who educated and inspired us. We were often awake before dawn and returned after dusk, enabling the best viewing opportunities. Braulio led by example with a never-say-die attitude; nothing was too much trouble and he was forever positive. His attention to detail, knowledge and personal manner ensured that all guests of varying standards and specialities remained interested throughout the trip. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip - our expectations were greatly exceeded.
J.B.
Kent
I found this trip just brilliant in every way...Both the local guides are excellent and were a great help to me...We had clear skies and bright sunshine every day which helped a great deal...I had great views of all the key birds I had especially wanted to see, many now on film, including of course the highlight of the tour - the wonderful Giant Otters.
Mr K.
Kent
We have enjoyed a splendid holiday. The birds were lovely and the falls spectacular.
F.E.
Italy
...the environment around the ranch (Piuval) was beautiful.
S. T-B.
Hampshire
...everything and everyone was most enjoyable and I look forward to the next holiday.
Mr & Mrs D.W.
Lancashire
Overall a really super holiday.
C.G.
Surrey
Cliff Waller ...did an outstanding job. A great leader and organiser and good relationship-maker in a very diverse group of people...Ricardo Clark...excellent in Pantanal...altogether an unforgettable and thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
J.E.
Hampshire
Cliff was really thoughtful and considerate and caring...Ricardo was very professional and knows his job well.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Sun 1st October 2017 - Mon 16th October 2017

FULL

£5595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £4995 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Fri 8th June 2018 - Sat 23rd June 2018

YES

£5995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5500 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Thu 12th July 2018 - Fri 27th July 2018

YES

£5995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5500 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Sat 1st September 2018 - Sun 16th September 2018

YES

£5995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5500 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Brazil

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Tour Reviews

The Pantanal was very interesting and staying in three different locations was excellent. Both the bird and wildlife watching was excellent. Although the travelling to the Falls was a little tedious, they were amazing and I would not have wanted to miss them.
L.H., Cheshire