September 6th - 18th, 2023
Looking for the photography trip of a lifetime? Explore deep into the pristine Brazilian Pantanal, home to one of the largest, healthiest jaguar populations on Earth. No other location in the world can offer this many jaguar sightings. 2018 was an exceptional year with 24 sightings! This will be our 11th tour to see the jaguars! We work with the best boats and lodges in the area… Location, location, location! Six nights in prime jaguar country—who else offers this?
Hundreds of species of beautiful and rare birds include anything from small hummingbirds to the large jabiru stork, plus parrots, macaws, and parakeets. Enjoy views of the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, along with reptiles, fish, and mammals, including giant otters, anteaters, Brazilian tapir, and possibly ocelot. This trip can be addictive! Daniel will be leading this tour with our local guide.
2023 Brazil Pantanal Jaguar Wildlife Photo Expedition II Travel Plans
Wednesday, September 6
Thursday, September 7 (D)
Arrive Cuiabá OR continue from the 2023 Brazil Macaw Canyon and Giant Anteater Photography Tour. There will be a local representative to greet you at the Cuiabá airport and transfer you to the hotel. A welcome group dinner is planned at a nearby venue. Overnight Hotel Slim Cuiabá Aeroporto or similar near airport.
Friday, September 8 (B, L, D)
After an early breakfast, we’ll depart from Cuiabá for the elevated Transpantaneira Road, one of the best wildlife-viewing areas in the world. The road is unpaved with over 136 little wooden bridges. There may be encounters with capybara, coatimundis, crab-eating foxes, caiman, or neo-tropical otters. Anaconda, the world’s largest constrictor, can sometimes be seen, along with other elusive mammals including the giant anteater and tapir. This area harbors a world record 82 species of large birds. This time of the year, the Transpantaneira is typically quite dry, so we’ll stop periodically to photograph birds and wildlife along the way.
Other tour operators will use an open “military-style” vehicle for this transfer, which is SO uncomfortable! It’s hard to go up and down the ladders to get on and off the vehicle, and the seats are very hard for such a long ride. The temperatures are HOT, and the roads are VERY dusty. We use an air-conditioned bus for this transfer. It’s easy to get in and out of for photography stops, and you’ll welcome the refreshing air-conditioning.
Explore wildlife all around the ranch-style lodge on trails or from unique wildlife observation towers, one near a nest of habituated jabiru storks. Take a boat ride on the Rio Pixaim River, a great source of photo opportunities for caimans, capybara, brown capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, anteater, ocelot, and also birds including toucans, kingfishers, parakeets, and hawks. It’s also one of the best sites for predictable viewing of a family of giant otters from a distance of only 3 to 16 feet away—often they will come close to the boat craning their necks and snorting loudly. There may be opportunities to see jaguars too—Dan got one of his best shots here! However, jaguar sightings will be more prevalent when we stay on the river.
Saturday, September 9 – Thursday, September 14 (B, L, D)
We’ll depart the land lodge after breakfast and continue on the Transpantaneira Road. We’ll travel to the end of the road and then boat on the Cuiabá River to the Panoramico, the premiere cruise ship of the Pantanal, anchored in the Meeting of the Waters State Park.
We’ll be staying in the heart of jaguar country.
SIX NIGHTS on Panoramico —
More nights than other tour operators!!
To improve the jaguar-viewing experience, we’ll stay at a superb alternative to the tented camps or land lodge compounds that many other tour operators use. Located 30 minutes closer to the best area for sighting jaguars, the Panoramico is an air-conditioned floating hotel. This optimal location combined with administration by biologists, highly trained jaguar spotters, and a unique fleet of radio-equipped scout boats have enabled all guests visiting in past years to see jaguars multiple times.
Other tour operators will stay at hotels in Porte Jofre at the end of the Transpantaneira Road. The Panoramico will be anchored 30-40 minutes up the river from Porte Jofre. If staying at Porto Jofre, you have to travel up the Cuiabá River each day to get to where the majority of jaguars live. Not only would you be traveling more by boat each day if staying at these land lodges, but you wouldn’t have a place to go for a bathroom break or a place to stop for lunch between searching either. Many people don’t realize how important it is to be at the right location to view wildlife in this area. We feel if you’re going to spend the money to do an expedition like this, you should be as close to the jaguars as possible!
We’ll begin our full day searches for jaguars along the riverbanks in radio-equipped boats. Our boats are the most stable and fastest on the river. When we get the jaguar call on the radio, the boats will get us there! This location offers the highest probability in the Pantanal of seeing the Big Three South American rainforest mammals: the jaguar, giant river otter, and tapir.
There are a number of the giant river otter groups that are quite habituated on the river, permitting superb photo opportunities of these hyperactive, entertaining “river wolves.” Monkeys and numerous bird species can also be seen.
We’ll do our best to track jaguars for optimal viewing and photography. We’ll ride in comfortable motorboats connected by radio to search for the cats in the narrow and wild rivers. July through October, the driest months in the Pantanal, is the prime time to spot jaguars; many of them are at close range for extended periods of time. Often they can be seen on the riverbanks resting, drinking water, hunting prey, or swimming.
All photographers will have two seats (with plenty of room!) in the jaguar search boats for gear and the ability to photograph from both sides of the boat. Dan and guests will rotate between the boats. We usually have two large boats—depending on the group size—and may have a midsize boat too. The boats are built well, quick for jaguar calls, and sturdy to photograph from—you can even stand up in them with no issues. Other groups use smaller boats that are slower and less sturdy. Patience is always needed. Wildlife tracking can be hard, long days. This is not a zoo. On this trip you’re venturing out to see jaguars in the wild, which can be challenging.
Here is a wonderful video NE Explorer Donna Archer created from our 2018 jaguar trip.
All camps in the Pantanal are NOT EQUAL
10 reasons this is the BEST jaguar camp
- We’ll wake up and go to sleep in the middle of jaguar country (and have lunch there with a snooze after lunch). We’re where the action is, 24/7. Since we’re staying where the cats live, we’ll be out searching one to two hours earlier and can stay longer in the field than competitors.
- Our camp keeps close track of which cats are active, where they are, and what they’re doing.
- We have the only camp with a systematic radio network linking all boats, and there is a central control tower that coordinates how and where our boats should go to see any cats that one of our boats find.
- Scout boats with radios help us to find more cats.
- Meals are eaten where the jaguar are. We’ll never take you from a sitting jaguar unless you vote to leave (we will take people away one by one for a bathroom break and then return them to the boat).
- No other tour operator has information with maps of where the cats live.
- Our tour operators have tested all speeds and distances from the riverbank and know which speeds and distances produce the best results for jaguar sightings.
- Our tour operators carry out scientific research on the cats by building up a profile of their use of time (a so-called “ethogram”).
- The Panoramico is anchored in prime jaguar country. The competing lodges have cement block houses 40 minutes away from the central jaguar zone.
- We work with the only operation that has a full-time biologist on staff to help coordinate data collection and give lectures.
Friday, September 15 (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we’ll load up in our boats and search for jaguars on the river one last time as we head back toward the Transpantaneira Road. When we return to the land lodge, we’ll get settled in, and tonight, we’ll seek out the wild ocelot. This is prime habitat for these secretive cats, and we have the best chance to see them in the evening when they’re most active.
Saturday, September 16 (B, L, D)
We’ll spend the morning and early afternoon at the ranch-style lodge photographing birds & wildlife around the lodge. Revisit the jabiru storks or take a boat ride on the Rio Pixaim River. In the early afternoon, we’ll drive the remainder of the Transpantaneira Road back to Cuiabá. Our hotel is located within a forest in the city. Enjoy various bird life around the hotel, including ibises and possibly macaws. Group farewell dinner this evening. Overnight at Hotel Fazendo Mato Grasso
Sunday, September 17 (B)
Breakfast provided at the hotel. Fly home today.
Monday, September 18
Tour Extensions Available
August 31st - September 8th, 2023
16 Guests Maximum
6 Guests Minimum
10,500 pp, DBL occupancy
Single sup: 1440
Pricing in US dollars
$1500 Per person due at time of booking
Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, or check accepted
Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.
December 1, 2022: $4000 pp first installment
February 1, 2023: Final payment
Check only for first and final installments. Please make checks payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:
810 N. Wallace, Suite E
Bozeman, MT 59715
- Private small group travel with professional photographer Daniel J. Cox
- Local naturalist guide
- Transfers in Cuiabá and to/from wildlife camps
- Accommodations in Cuiabá and at wildlife camps (9 nights total)
- Meals where indicated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- Unlimited mineral water on jaguar safaris and at the lodges
- Each photographer has their two seats in the jaguar search boats for optimal space for gear and shooting
- Entrance fees
- International airfare
- Domestic airfares – connecting flights from São Paulo (GRU) or Brasilia (BSB) to Cuiabá (CGB) and Cuiabá (CGB) to São Paulo (GRU) or Brasilia (BSB)
- Laundry, miscellaneous expenses, beverages
- Gratuities for staff and guide
- Travel insurance
- Emergency evacuation insurance (REQUIRED for this trip)
Flights to Book
September 6, 2023
Depart US/Canada (usually an overnight flight to arrive the next day)
September 7, 2023
Arrive São Paulo (GRU) or Brasilia (BSB) any time of day and connect with your flight to Cuiabá (CGB), OR continue on from the 2023 Brazil Macaw Canyon and Giant Anteater Photography Tour.
September 17, 2023
Depart Cuiabá (CGB) for a flight home via São Paulo (GRU) or Brasilia (BSB).
It is probably best if you buy your CGB flights along with your international ticket. There are many flights daily to and from Cuiabá (CGB) on Azul (Star Alliance), LATAM (Sky Team), or GOL airlines (oneworld® Alliance). We can help you with your flights.
Emergency Evacuation Insurance
All guests MUST carry emergency medical evacuation insurance. It is required by our tour operators and the information will be collected prior to trip time. We recommend InsureMyTrip.com and/or Global Rescue (use code natexp).
Terms & Conditions
Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.
By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY
Accommodations for 2023 Brazil Pantanal Jaguar Wildlife Photo Expedition II
September 7, 1 Night
Hotel Slim Cuiabá Aeroporto
Hotel Slim Cuiabá Aeroporto features rooms with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Restaurant and self-service laundry onsite. Close to the airport, it’s a simple, newer hotel that meets our needs.
September 8 and 15, 2 Nights
Transpantaneira Land Lodge
One large fully-screened living/dining room with many overhead fans, outdoor sitting areas, and a library on Brazilian nature. Complimentary Wi-Fi. Screened guest rooms have private bathroom with hot showers, overhead fans, and air conditioning. Many bird species right outside your room to photograph at feeders in the morning.
September 9-14, 6 Nights
Panoramico is the premiere cruise ship of the Pantanal, and we’ll anchor right in the center of the river sections that have produced the best jaguar sightings in recent seasons. It features 12 guest cabins, each with an air conditioner, and a private bathroom with flush toilet and a never-ending, hot water shower, and lots of plug outlets for charging batteries. There is also a large work table with two chairs in each cabin for working on computers and reorganizing camera gear. The Panoramico is similar to the Flotel but has upgraded, enlarged cabins (twice the size of standard rooms on the Flotel), no suites. We are hoping to move the ship along the river and be more mobile.
12 guest cabins measure 18 square meters (approximately 194 square feet)
For guest comfort, the Panoramico also features a spacious game/lecture room, outdoor jacuzzi, covered wet bar and barbecue area, and a sun deck with sun chairs on the top deck.
September 16, 1 Night
Hotel Fazendo Mato Grasso
Located within a forest in the city of Cuiabá, Hotel Fazendo Mato Grasso boasts home to an abundance of bird life, including ibises and macaws.
Helpful Information for 2023 Brazil Pantanal Jaguar Wildlife Photo Expedition II
Patience is always needed for wildlife photography. This trip is considered low activity. You have to be able to get in and out of a boat and carry your own camera gear. You have to be able to get along with others! We stay at the best hotels and lodging available in the areas we’ll be visiting, but all are very basic.
Average temperatures range from 75-90 °F. If we are moving on the boats, the heat is not so bad with the breeze off the water. July, August, and September are hot months. It is quite dry and not as humid and stuffy as it is in the Amazon. Bring a good hat that covers your neck and a lot of sunscreen.
Jaguars can be seen ANY time of day which is unlike most large mammals. These cats can get up to 300 pounds and love to swim. We may see three jaguars or fifteen; each trip is different. Be prepared for long, hot days on the water while searching for jaguars. Sometimes the viewing is limited, but at other times we’ll be able to watch them while they hunt, swim, relax, mate, etc. Every day is different. Some days it’s easy to spot a jaguar, and then you may go a day without seeing one. Odds of sightings have been predictable over the years, even more than we originally expected.
There are also a lot of birds and other animals to photograph while touring. Often you will stop to photograph a bird or caiman and then out of nowhere a jaguar appears. They can be anywhere, so sometimes just stopping, listening, and observing the area can be rewarding. All of these animals and birds live in jaguar country too, so we encourage you to enjoy all the Pantanal has to offer.
The Transpantaneira can be a BUMPY road; conditions vary year to year. The standard bus size is 21-passenger. Please pack as light as possible and make sure all your bags have name tags on them. We know many will have big camera bags and understand this, but please do not bring hard-cased luggage—only duffel roller-type bags.
Our group will have 1-2 large boats—either 12 or 14 seats with 6-7 guests per boat—with a possible third smaller boat. We will try to keep couples together on the same boat if this is their preference. Our goal is for each guest to have a full row in the boat to themselves and some outings with Dan in your boat. If a mechanical issue arises with a boat, we will do our best to fix the situation. We will have to work as a group to try to deal with circumstances that may arise. We’ll be in a remote area. Our local tour operator tries very hard to keep equipment working smoothly but things can happen. These boats are running full days every day for five months.
As this area becomes more popular, more tourists come to the area. Sometimes sightings of the jaguars are private, and at other times there can be multiple boats. It can be busy with boats. This is not always pleasant. However, more boats on the water equals more eyes searching, giving everyone a better opportunity to see more jaguars. Try to be courteous of your fellow travelers and people in the other boats. The jaguars do not fear multiple boats, but it can get frustrating at times trying to photograph. Each trip is different, but be prepared to not be alone most of the time while viewing the cats. Our boat drivers are experienced and great at maneuvering the boats. They are by far the best; they understand a photographer’s needs. It all depends on the cats, how long we’re out searching, and the weather.
Trip rates typically rise yearly due to increased overhead by our tour operator. It’s our goal to give you the best value possible. As when working in any increasingly popular destination, we have little control of overhead costs that may arise.
We prefer to fill the majority of the lodges with our guests rather than share with other groups, if possible. We would rather be around our own peeps! If there is a couple requesting to book the last space, we will add one additional guest to the group. We will often do this as a courtesy to regular guests. We appreciate your understanding on this matter.
Passport and Visa
US citizens must carry a valid US passport when traveling to Brazil for any purpose. One blank passport page is required for the entry stamp.
Beginning June 17, 2019, Brazil visas will no longer be required for US, Japanese, Canadian, and Australian citizens for stays of less than 90 days.
Please visit the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs for the most up-to-date entry, exit, and visa requirements.
Vaccinations & Travel Meds
The Pantanal is considered malaria free, nor any other mosquito-borne illnesses
It is always best to make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations and to check in with your doctor or a medical professional ideally 4-6 weeks before travel. Recommended (but not required) are:
- Routine such as MMR, DPT, polio
- Hepatitis A and B
- Yellow fever
Almost everyone in Brazil speaks Portuguese. Our guide will speak English. Less than 5% of Brazilians speak English!
Typical long and short-sleeved field clothes. Waterproof jacket. One sweater or fleece, in case a light cold front appears (it can happen!). No boots needed—only sneakers and sandals. Good sun hat. A list will be sent to everyone closer to trip time with additional details. Please pack light! No hard luggage—duffel bags are preferred. There is laundry service at the land lodge for a small fee, and it could be arranged on the Panoramico too, if absolutely necessary.
Closer to trip time, Dan will phone each guest to discuss camera gear needs, and we’ll also send a list of suggested items to bring. Tripod or monopod can be used on the boats. Many handhold most of the time, including Dan.
Chicken, beef, catfish, in various manners. Beans (vegetarian) and rice at every lunch and dinner. A lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and salads. Potatoes, pasta. All simple but hearty.
Air Conditioning and Wi-Fi
Both locations along with our hotel in Cuiabá have air-conditioning along with complimentary Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi usually works quite well, but it is never guaranteed.
Have a question?
Have a question about this tour? We're happy to answer any queries you may have.
Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers
"Brazil is my favorite photographic trip so far. I could not have asked for a better bunch of fellow travelers, and I loved being out on the water enjoying the weather. The wildlife was spectacular and the photographic opportunities limitless. Dan and Tanya did a fantastic job coordinating everything, and the guide was very informative about The Pantanal and its wildlife."
Sue Roehl, Florida
"Prepare to be amazed and overwhelmed with the natural beauty of the Pantanal and the incredible diversity of the wildlife. The food is great, the people are great and all of the logistics were executed without a hitch. Dan and Tanya have this trip dialed in!"
Ken Longley, Washington
"Dan and Tanya put on an awesome photo tour, and this one is among their very best! I expected them to be wonderful hosts and to have thought of every detail (they did!), but I was completely taken aback by the depth and breadth of the photo opportunities. Great Jaguar sitings, adorable Capybara, Caiman galore, Giant River Otters, monkeys, Coatimundi, fox, Anaconda, and every kind of bird you can imagine (Toucan, Hyacinth Macaws, Jabiru Storks, etc. etc.). This is a must-do trip for photographers. Get there before it is spoiled!"
Dane Jaques, Virginia
"Thanks for putting together an amazing wildlife viewing and photographic experience. The entire trip was fabulous from beginning to end. Jaguars galore, birds, cayman and adorable capybara! I was in heven and I will be back. Thank you Tanya and Dan! "
Alison McClure, California
"Fantastic!!! Saw and photographed all I hoped for and more...well organized..and very compatible group with which to travel."
Jesse Salwen, North Carolina
"The best of four photography trips (with different companies) I have been on."
Marie Llewellyn, Staffordshire, UK
"Hope they all have as much fun and good luck as I did. Thank you again for a great trip. The guys at my camera store thought the sunset with stork was a purchased postcard! Gosh, I must be getting good."
Bonnie Wilsey, Wisconsin
"The adventure of seeing the Jaguars "up close and personal" was Fantastic!! But also, being able to see a Tapir and other exotic animals, reptiles & birds was like the icing on the cake!"
Lani Dillon, California
"We were all adults, from diverse backgrounds, in our playful energized mode sharing experiences and love of photography in a world of wonderment. Thank you Dan and Tanya for making it happen!"
Marty Salwen, North Carolina
"Thank you, Dan, Tanya and Fisher for making this glimpse into the nature in the wetlands of the Pantanal possible!"
Meggi Reader, California
" I agree with the above! A wonderful experience, not to be forgotten."
Carol Clark, Washington
"What a wonderful place. The Pantanal is spectacular and you guys (including Kike, who is a treasure!) took care of every detail. I hope to travel with you again soon."
Freddy Gamble, New York
"Amazing experience. Jagaurs were promised and delivered!"
Jane Norris, Virginia
"An incredible experience - I personally had 19 separate jaguar sightings in 4 1/2 days - 5 the last afternoon! Am definitely going to come again."
Jeff Nadler, California
"Yes, what a super holiday indeed; one never to be forgotten with all the excitments, the hot sun and the river bath on the last stretch before the coach home to the airport, the Jaguars almost every day, and the splendid gathering of people. It really was great! Thank you both very much for organising everything so efficiently. Even to the Toucans calling us to arise, from outside our bedrooms.
Alyson certainly knew his subject in ornithology, and many notes were taken for my future reference. Both of us were pleased to learn from you a little more about our respective cameras.
Maybe you will not receive this e.mail until you are back in Cuiaba, but on behalf of both of us, thank you very much again for a tremendous expedition."
Roger LIewellyn, England