“Sit aboard a small soundless motorboat on the Paraguay River and keep your senses set to stun as you discover the wildlife of the world's largest tropical wetlands, the Pantanal.”
Cuiaba | Porto Jofre | daily boat safaris | Taima Ecological Reserve | Paraguay River | the Pantanal | Taima Island | Wildlife known to inhabit the area, includes: tapirs, monkeys, macaws, anacondas, capybaras, giant otters and jaguars |
Description of Jaguar spotting holiday in Brazil
South America’s Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland area in the world. It stretches across Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, and its annual floods support a hugely diverse array of flora and fauna. The low, scrubby forests and savannah-style plains are home to 300 mammal species, including tapirs, giant anteaters and giant river otters, and its 1,000 bird species include hyacinth macaws and jabiru storks – the tallest flying bird in Latin America.
This jaguar spotting holiday in Brazil takes you to the particularly biodiverse northern Pantanal in search of one of the wetlands’ more elusive creatures. As strong swimmers, jaguars are well suited to this landscape – and you’ll be joining them on the water with four nights on the comfortable Jaguar House Boat which is anchored in the Taima Ecological Reserve, one of the best places to spot these formidable predators. From here, you’ll head out in small motorboats along tributaries in search of anacondas, capybaras, monkeys and jaguars.
You’ll then spend two nights in Araras Ecolodge, named after the hyacinth macaw (arara jacinta) which is often seen in the surrounding area – both the ecolodge and the boat have en suite rooms.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
You will be spending a fair bit of time on the water so bring sea sickness tablets, sun block and waterproof carry cases for cameras and binoculars. Also, insect repellent is definitely worth investing in.
Small group. Average size 12. Minimum age 16.
Leisurely. Wildlife walks, boat trips and eco-lodges.
1 night hotel, 4 nights houseboat and 3 nights lodge - all en suite.
Accomm, transport, activities and tour leader throughout.
8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
Single room supplements apply.
Small group holiday
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Jaguar spotting holiday in Brazil
Activity: Our local guides and nature experts are able to deliver briefings on the least disruptive ways to interact with the wildlife. We also operate with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, which involves being vigilant with proper disposal of litter and taking measures to ensure that no flora or fauna is damaged. By taking boat trips to see the jaguars, we can get close to the action without intimidating or overcrowding them. The boat is also the quieter option as it runs on a noiseless generator.
Conservation: As a part of our continued commitment to responsible tourism, we work closely with our local operator to run this trip in a way that aims to reduce impacts and to give as much back as possible to local communities and the environment. Our local partners are involved in local environmental projects including a Hyacinth Macaw conservation programme, environmental education of local inhabitants, conservation of the woodlands around Rio Clarinho, and helping locals adapt their honey gathering practices from mutilation of trees to access wild honey to building bee-hives and harvesting the honey domestically.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: We will be spending one night in a hotel, four nights in the Jaguar House Boat and three in the Araras Lodge. All of the accommodation is locally staffed, which is beneficial for employment levels in the region. As a wildlife tour, all lodgings are strong when it comes to environmental policies. The house boat no longer uses diesel as fuel after investing in electrical line and the ecolodge belongs to the Roteiros de Charme Association, which vets its members with strict sustainable practice regulations. Most meals are provided and they are likely to make for a varied diet including locally sourced produce. Barbequed meat, fish stew, fresh fruit and fried parcels of cheese and shredded chicken are all delicious Brazilian specialties which are not to be missed.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Jaguar spotting holiday in Brazil
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 15 Sep 2016 by BARON-VAHL AMOS
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing Jaguar and Tapir were the most memorable highlights of the wildlife spotting on the trip for me though others liked the giant anteater or the lesser anteater also called a southern Tamandua.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
The Eco lodge has a problem with bats they are nesting in the roof and their guano drops through the roof on to the beds and people in the rooms. I can state categorically that rooms 19 and 17 have this issue as I woke up with bat crap smeared on my face and hands in room 19 and then I was moved to room 17 where the droppings again fell onto the bed, I thought initially that the droppings were from rodents but the staff who knew of the problem assured me it was bat poo. I do not know what would happen if the droppings had fallen into my mouth as I do not know what diseases/viruses/bacteria would be in the guano. I did not see any droppings in the dining room but I did not inspect the kitchens. There is also an issue with the breakfast area, the birds at the lodge land on and peck at the food this is a safety problem again and while there are covers for each item set out on the breakfast table these are sometimes left off the plates or attached above the table and away from the food. Look out for the problems I have listed there are probably others that I did not see. On the Jaguar houseboat, the room designated as PIAU had a shower door which does not close this is not a problem if the water from the shower does not make the floor too slippery when stepping out of the shower more worrying is the fact that the electrics above the shower head are exposed as the lid does not fasten properly this could lead to a tragedy but by being careful there should be no electrocutions, hopefully. Do not look for the superb quality types of accommodation standard to be found on African safaris, these locations are not POSADAS in the wilderness. The food is not gourmet but very nice and the fish is generally excellent and I asked for the recipe for the beans I liked them so much. I failed to send any postcards as they were on sale but without stamps and the post office at the airport was shut on the day I tried to buy them, it being a weekend. I brought pens, pencils, calculators and mathematical sets for what I thought would be a rural school but was taken initially to a large one in Cuiaba with 1800 students many of which were special needs and I felt that the drop in the ocean of equipment i had taken to donate was too small, another school found on the roadside going towards the state capital was given some things that I had overlooked in my suitcase initially and that was a good place to visit since it was small enough to benefit from the few things handed over so if you bring things to give to those who are in need I feel it would be best to give where it would do the most good, others may disagree since it is also true that the large school is also in need of support and a lot more than I was able to supply.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The people on the Jaguar houseboat and at the lodge are mostly locals and they get good tips from the guests, The kitchen staff on the houseboat make the best beans I've tasted anywhere, the food here is better in my opinion than at the lodge both places I'm told are owned by the same people. Efforts are made to reduce the presence of the tourists on the environment recycling at the lodge and requests to turn off unneeded lights and the room fans and air conditioning when not needed but some of the tourists have children and they often chase the birds at the lodge apparently unchecked by their parents. Conservation is mentioned but the lodge is also a working farm and the needs of the stock must come first with the stockmen. Everyone is very friendly.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Overall good, the weather was unexpectedly and unseasonably cold and wet for most of the time on the river but this did not stop four sightings of Jaguar two of the same female and two other hunting females, both hunts were unsuccessful, lucky Caiman and Capybara!