Belize Birding Tour

Highlights from our Pantanal Wildlife Tour

The Top 5 Highlights from Naturalist Journeys’ July Pantanal Wildlife Tour

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Gate to the Pantanal Transpantaniera by Peg Abbott

There are few places in the world that offer wildlife like Brazil’s famed Pantanal. On Naturalist Journeys‘ July 2017 Pantanal wildlife tour, our group of 10, accompanied by guides Greg Smith and Xavier Muñoz, had an incredible adventure down the Transpantaneira Road that bisects the incredible Pantanal.

Below are the top five highlights from our 2017 Pantanal wildlife tour.

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Capybara Family by Peg Abbott
1. Ever Present Hyacinth Macaws

Ah, arriving at the beautiful Pousada Alegre, we were greeted by just stunning Hyacinth Macaw, ever present in the trees on this working cattle ranch that we called home for two nights. A real distraction from these blue beauties were incredible Toco Toucan at the feeders, flocks of 60+ Yellow-billed Brazilian Cardinal that busily worked the ground and trees each morning, and just dozens of Snail Kite working the surrounding fields.

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Hyacinth Macaw Pair by Greg Smith
2. Jaguars and Jaguars and Jaguars, Oh My!

6:00 AM and we were up and waiting … we’d moved on from our pleasant cattle ranch accommodations and boarded our riverboat on the Cuiaba River. So what were we waiting for as we enjoyed the coffee and sunrise? The radio … that unmistakable call of “Jaguar.” And just like that we were off, motoring for the sighting … and just like that, two days later, we’d managed to witness eight (yes, eight!) Jaguars. And not fleeting glimpses — long, luxurious looks, with one sighting lasting well over an hour. Time to watch, time to photograph, and time to watch again. Just incredible.

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Yawning Jaguar by Greg Smith
3. Wild Cat Number Two

At SouthWild, we had the treat of seeing another wild cat: a male Ocelot that came in to investigate some fish baits. He teased us a bit, climbing the surrounding trees and vines, but he finally dropped down to scoop up a morsel. But that wasn’t all … this male came back again and again, giving us great views. It was fascinating to compare the two wild cats of the journey.

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Ocelot by Greg Smith
4. The Agami Heron, Putting on a Show

And then, again at SouthWild the next day, we saw, as guide Greg Smith called it, the Jimi Hendrix of herons: the Agami Heron, out in the bright sunlight just putting on a show for all to see. And it, like the Jaguars, stuck around long enough for the whole group to get exceptional looks and pictures.

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Agami Heron by Greg Smith
5. An Anteater Encounter

Embarking on a night drive at SouthWild, the group loaded onto a customized flatbed truck, complete with bucket seats, and set off in search of a Tapir … no luck on the Tapir, but not 10 minutes into the drive we came upon a glorious Giant Anteater, just ambling along, working its way from meal to meal. An incredible find, which we saw again on our way home … a perfect way to cap off the tour!

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Giant Anteater by Peg Abbott

Five highlights probably doesn’t do this tour justice … from the Yacare Caiman that were so dense they sometimes piled on top of each other,  to the Capybara that were just everywhere, to the noisy and frolicking Giant River Otters that kept us entertained while we waited for more Jaguar radio calls, to the stunning bird life like Greater Rhea, Amazon Kingfisher, Jabiru on nests, Bare-faced Curassow, and more … this Pantanal wildlife tour was just astounding — and certainly a trip of a lifetime. You can read the whole trip report here.

We offer this Pantanal wildlife tour again in 2018, with an Atlantic Forest pre-tour extension. It’s a favorite, for sure!

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