Jaguar on the water's edge, Brazil

Land of the Jaguar

11 days
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£4,189
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4.8 / 5 from 4 reviews >
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Trip code: 
WAI
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Search for the largest and most elusive predator in the Americas

The Pantanal straddles the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and is the world's largest wetland region. Its plains and low scrubby forests are home to over 1000 species of bird and 300 different mammals, including tapirs, anteaters, Jabiru storks and the striking Hyacinth macaw. Concentrating on the incredibly rich northern Pantanal in the southwest of Brazil, we divide our time between between a house boat and a lodge, journeying deep into the Pantanal in search of the jaguar, the largest and most elusive feline in the Americas. These solitary predators, as well as being formidable opponents on land, are strong swimmers and are known to frequent the waterways we will explore.

Highlights

  • 7 boat trips to maximise chances of Jaguar sightings
  • 90% success in jaguar sightings to date
  • Explore a more off the beaten path part of the Pantanal
  • Wetland brid-watching
  • Good chances of seeing capybaras, Giant anteaters, Jabiru storks and other wildlife

Key information

  • 4 nights houseboat with en suite facilities, 3 nights lodge and 1 night hotel 
  • 9 days land only / 11 flight inclusive
  • Travel by minibus, 4WD safari vehicle and motorised canoe

 

What's included

  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London

    Depart London

  • Day 2

    Start Cuiaba.

    The group flights should be arriving in the early afternoon. The rest of the day is free to relax after the long journey.
    Taina Hotel or similar

  • Day 3

    To Jaguar House Boat moored within the Taima Ecological Reserve on the Paraguay River.

    This morning we head towards the remote Taiama Ecological Reserve on the Paraguay River in the Pantanal. We start by driving 205kms towards the town of Caceres before leaving the sealed roads for a dirt road for the final 85kms towards the reserve and the Jaguar House Boat, our home for the next 4 days.

    The Ecological Reserve is further off the beaten path and the ideal place for jaguar spotting and, with fewer visitors than other areas of the Pantanal, is also much quieter. The Jaguar House Boat has en suite rooms along with a dining/common room and deck area. The boat stays anchored and accesses electricity from land avoiding the need for a noisy generator.

    This afternoon we will board our small motorboats to go on our first jaguar safari exploring the river and its tributaries for the elusive big cat as well as tapirs, monkeys, macaws, anacondas, capybaras, Giant otters and any other wildlife we can find. Whilst no guarantees can be made when it comes to wildlife, there is a 95% chance of seeing jaguars. Since Exodus has been running tours to the northern Pantanal, our groups have had 100% success rate in spotting these amazing cats.
    Jaguar House Boat or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 4-6

    Morning and afternoon boat safaris on the Paraguay River searching for jaguar and other wildlife.

    We spend the next three days on morning and afternoon boat safaris looking for jaguars and other local wildlife and learning about the delicate ecosystem of the area. The exact lengths of the outings will, of course, vary depending on the sightings and you should be prepared to be flexible with the timetable. Make sure to bring all you’ll need including sun protection, insect protection, rain protection, water and, of course your cameras and/or binoculars.
    Jaguar House Boat or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Final morning boat safari in search of jaguars; to Araras Lodge.

    This morning we retrace our steps towards Caceres and on to Pocone and finally Araras Ecolodge. Surrounded by pristine forest, the lodge offers a range of activities designed to showcase the flora and fauna of the Pantanal, including jeep safaris, trail walks, nocturnal safaris, canoeing and horse riding. The lodge’s expert bilingual naturalist guides accompany us on all excursions to truly enhance our wildlife viewing.
    Jaguar House Boat or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 8-9

    Search for Giant anteaters and capybaras.

    The next two days we have a full programme of activities around the lodge. Hundreds species of bird, and dozens of mammals and reptiles have been recorded in the immediate surroundings, and if we are lucky, we will catch sight of the striking Hyacinth macaw (Portuguese: Arara jacinta) after which the lodge is named. The largest of the macaws, its dark blue plumage and the bright yellow skin around its eyes and beak make it instantly recognisable.
    Jaguar House Boat or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    To Cuiaba; depart Cuiaba.

    After breakfast we head back to Cuiaba where the trip ends. Those on the group flights will be departing this afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Arrive London.

    Arrive London

Essential Info

Visas

Brazil

Holders of British passport do not require a visa for Brazil.

Vaccinations

Brazil

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

All meals are included on the Jaguar House Boat and the Araras Lodge. Food is likely to be a mix of dishes using a lot of local produce. The local fruit is normally very good. Meat is a staple part of the Brazilian diet, but vegetarians can be catered for throughout the trip. Please advise us at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements, especially since the remote nature of the places we stay means that special supplies can be difficult to obtain without prior arrangement.

Weather

The Pantanal has two clearly defined seasons. The dry season lasts from May to October, and the region experiences little rainfall at this time of year. This is generally considered to be the best time for viewing animals and birds. The wet season runs from November to May, and much of the annual rainfall occurs during these months. Temperatures are generally around 25ºC, but there can be large seasonal variations. Humidity levels during the wet season tend to be much higher than during the dry.

Cuiaba

Cuiaba

Is this trip for you?

This trip as an activity level grade of 1 and a safari rating of 5. Although the accommodation used on this trip is of a good standard, you should note that we are in a remote area with limited access to luxuries. The trip involves several long drives on dirt roads - these roads are generally in good condition (although sometimes bumpy) during the dry season when this trip operates, but in heavy rain journeys may be significantly delayed. We spend much of the trip in boats, and those with seasickness should be aware that these small vessels have a relatively shallow draft which means any movement would be more noticeable than in larger vessels, though the likelihood of feeling nausea is much lower on rivers than open water. The area’s rich wildlife also includes lots of insects such as mosquitoes so good repellent is a must. Note that when on the Jaguar House Boat it is not possible to disembark due to the risk of jaguars in the area. When on excursions there are specific spots where we will be able get off but only accompanied by the guides. Mosquitoes are always plentiful in the Pantanal so you should come prepared with long sleeves and adequate repellent.

Accommodation

Lodges & Hotels

On this trip we spend 4 nights at the Jaguar House Boat, anchored to the Taiama Island on the Paraguay River. The boat is made up of 9 air-conditioned, en-suite cabins as well as a common/dining area and a deck area. There is electricity from the mainland (thereby avoiding the need for a noisy generator).
We also spend three nights at Araras Eco Lodge, which is designed in a rustic regional style and has 19 comfortable rooms, all with air conditioning, ceiling fans and private bathrooms. The lodge has a bar, swimming pool and gift shop, as well as a spacious restaurant whose excellent dishes feature lots of local fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.
Single supplement available (from GBP420)

Expert Blog Entries

Part archipelago, part biodiversity showcase, the remarkable volcanic islands of the

  • Reviewed September 2016
    Liz Newman

    When can I go back?

    This was a terrific holiday, despite the weather being the coldest on record for that time of year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Predictably, seeing a jaguar for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent. His knowledge of the wildlife was first rate. And he came horseriding with us on the last day!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't assume the weather is going to be hot, whatever the online sites tell you in advance. When we arrived in Cuiaba it was hot and humid - then the cloud rolled in, so thick that it sometimes looked like twilight at midday. It rained - not a lot, but if I hadn't taken a raincoat I'd have been in trouble. Going upriver into the wind was a bitterly cold experience, and everyone was wearing everything they had. Six layers! The guides had scarves round their faces, dark glasses, and woolly hats. All you see was their eyes... and those eyes gave us four jaguar sightings. The wildlife came out to platy whatever the temperature. But when we arrived at the Araras Eco-lodge the weather changed, and it was glorious.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Jaguar Houseboat did not have Wi-Fi, so we had to play games when it was too cold and wet to do anything else in between boat trips. The food was great. The Araras Eco-lodge was wonderful, with friendly staff, good food, and a cayman almost within touching distance of every room. (They eat fish, luckily.) There were no mosquitoes, which was a surprise. I've been on a lot of Exodus holidays, but this was one of the best.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Stephen Harford

    A short trip but very enjoyable

    We went on this holiday principally to see Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Giant River Otter, Tapir and Hyacinth Macaws. We opted for a short trip combining a boat hotel and and land-based lodge. We had been with Exodus previously and felt they would do a good job. Food at both venues was very well prepared although a little monotonous at times. Travel arrangements were very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We saw 7 Jaguars on the river including a pregnant female and a lover's tiff between a young female and adult male. Saw giant river otters a number of times and while we only saw giant anteater and tapir once both were superbly close and long viewings. Our main interest is usually birds and these didn't disappoint with good views of various macaws, parrot, herons and some noteworthy viewings of sunbittern at Araras Lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Tony, was very helpful and knowledgeable and he would always try to meet everyone's requirements. Originally from Guyana clearly his English was very good. In addition the guides at the Jaguar Boat and the Lodge were also very helpful, particularly Paulo on the Jaguar Boat day trip craft whose ability to spot wildlife at a distance was quite remarkable. The drivers transporting us between venues were also very courteous, safe and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It may not be appropriate for all trips but when we were there was a surprising cold wind particularly when out on the river in the early morning. If you have room in your luggage it would be worth taking some warmer clothing just in case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some cabins on the Boat Hotel were quite cramped as they had 4 'short' bunks. Other cabins seemed more spacious with less beds. It might be worth viewing the available accommodation and selecting the most appropriate.
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Lesley Carder

    Land of the Jaguar

    A fantastic experience, with far more wildlife sightings than I expected. We saw three jaguars (some of the group saw five), with great opportunities to both observe and photograph these beautiful animals. We saw dozens of species of birds, caiman, capybara, howler and capuchin monkeys, coati, armadillo, peccary, brocket, tamandua and the iconic giant otter and giant anteater. We were lucky enough to glimpse a very rare jaguamundi too. Excellent accommodation; although the houseboat was quite basic we were made to feel very welcome.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several. If I had to pick one, it would be spending four hours one morning watching jaguars mating. Unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent, he knew a tremendous amount about the animals and birds we saw. He also had great people skills. The local guides and staff were all friendly and helpful. Cicero Kurtz (houseboat) was incredibly knowledgeable - and caught the catfish for our lunch!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of mosquito repellent and antihistamines. I have never experienced such aggressive mosquitoes, they bit despite Deet, skin-so-soft, garlic tablets, and impregnated clothing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Eco-tourism is very new in the Pantanal, and the area is very unspoilt at the moment. I hope this does not change.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Karen White

    Land of the Jaguar

    Amazing array of wildlife. Providing you don't mind roughing it a bit and don't mind getting bitten (a lot!), this is a fabulous holiday. Must have been good as I came home with over 2500 photos!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the jaguars and the giant otters! Although I love the close encounter with a pygmy anteater; loved the capybaras and can't believe how many caiman I saw - carpets of them - literally!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony's knowledge of the local wildlife was amazing. He was also very good at spotting it including a tarantula spider on a night safari!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The boat accommodation was basic. if your cabin is on the river side, be prepared to share your evening shower with a lot of flies! Be prepared to get BITTEN! I got bitten by a multitude of bugs and these blighters can bite you through layers of clothing and Deet! One of my colleagues found that they couldn't bite through the life jackets on the boats but that was about it! Pack long socks - you often need to tuck your trousers (pants) into your socks to help stop bugs biting your legs!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you don'tmind roughing it a bit and coping with a fair bit of travelling, go for it! The wildlife including a huge variety of birds is amazing and Exodus do take you off the beaten track where there are very few other humans or tourists so you get exclusive access to the wildlife.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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