Brazil Neotropical Mammals of the Amazon & Pantanal 2018
September 2018 (12 days)
Dates26 Sep 2018 - 7 Oct 2018
Tour LeaderTo be announced
Tour Size8 participants & 1 Rockjumper Wildlife tour leader
Start LocationSao Paulo to Cuiaba
Flight Cost (Approximate)TBA
Spaces AvailableSpaces Available
End LocationPantanal to Cuiaba and depart
Type of TourWildlife
Jaguar, Puma, Greater and Lesser Anteater, Giant River Otter, Brazilian Tapir, more than 10 species of primates, Hyacinth Macaw, Red-legged Seriema, Hoatzin, Sun Bittern, Toco Toucan, Jabiru Stork, cruising the Pantanal waterways, Canopy Towers, Brazilian hospitality and fare, world class birding
Day 1, 26th September: Sao Paulo to Cuiaba
Your Neotropical Mammals of the Amazon and Pantanal tour commences on arrival in Sao Paulo (GRU) airport before embarking on a connecting flight to Cuiaba, where you will be met by your Rockjumper tour leader and transfer to your hotel to rest up for what promises to be an unforgettable wildlife adventure.
Day 2, 27th September: Cuiaba to Alta Florista into Amazon Rainforest
This morning you will depart from Cuiaba, the capital of the state of Mato Grosso, for your flight to Alta Florista. On arrival you will stop for lunch at a nearby hotel situated in a fragment of primary forest. If time permits you can enjoy a short stroll in this forest with possible encounters of some spectacular birds including a Harpy Eagle, which is known to nest here most years. From here you will transfer to your fabulous lodge set in the spectacularly vast Amazonian region. After settling into your accommodation you will venture out for a night walk on one of the many forest pathways in search of the some of the elusive nocturnal forest life. Nocturnal outings in the Amazon are a must and include the opportunity for thrilling encounters with many night-time creatures including Feline Night Monkey, Kinkajou or Sugar Bear, Common and White-eared Opossums, Oscillated Poorwill, Blackish Nightjar, Black-banded and Crested Owl, the sleek Ocelot, Emerald Tree Boa and different types of frogs, spiders, hawk moths, fireflies and luminescent forest fungi.
Days 3 & 4, 28th & 29th September: Amazon Rainforest
Although mammals are far less conspicuous than in the Pantanal region, few places on earth match the allure of Brazil’s Amazon. The next two full days will be spent exploring the wonders of this ecosystem. During this time your knowledgeable Rockjumper guide will help uncover the magic of this vast and fascinating world. Your comfortable eco-lodge forms part of a private reserve in the Southern Brazilian Amazon rainforest and contains many species unique to this part of the Amazon. One of the best ways to come across new species is to explore the many forest trails around your lodge, here the understory vegetation often obscures animals on the ground before they are seen and the best mammal viewing is usually in the forest canopy.
On previous tours we have encountered Nine-banded Armadillo, Collared Peccary, Azara’s Agouti and Brazilian Tapir on the forest floor whilst White-whiskered Spider Monkey and Brown Capuchin Monkey offer entertaining sightings on most walks. The regal White-nosed Bearded Saki Monkey, Dusky Titi Monkey and bellowing Red-handed Howler Monkeys are not as easy to locate and a bit of extra effort is needed to find these species.
To aid you in accessing the canopy two 50m-tall canopy towers have been built, the perfect place to view some of the arboreal species mentioned earlier as well as a host of fascinating and colorful bird life. Lethargic Brown-throated Three-toed and Southern Two-toed Sloth are so well camouflaged that they are almost impossible to see despite the fact that they should be prevalent in good numbers. Some of the impressive bird diversity that you might encounter from the towers include gaudy Curl-crested, Lettered, Chestnut-eared and Red-necked Aracari; Channel-billed (Yellow-ridged) and White-throated Toucan; Yellow-tufted and Red-necked Woodpecker; White-necked Puffbird; Black-girdled Barbet; Bare-necked Fruitcrow and Crested Oropendola that build long pendulous nests. The surrounding forest supports nearly two dozen species of parrot and six species of macaw including the vibrant Scarlet, Blue-and-yellow and Chestnut-fronted Macaws.
You will also embark on a boat ride onto the black river near the lodge where Capybara and Neotropical Otter are the more commonly encountered mammal species while Tapir are also sometimes seen wallowing in the shallows during the heat of the day. The birding on the river can also produce good results; Swallow-wing Puffbird, Rufus-tailed Jacamar, Razor-billed Curassow and the spectacular Swallow Tanager are all frequently seen.
If you are very fortunate you might have an encounter with army ants in their military-style formations, sometimes several yards in breadth and over a hundred yards in length. Devouring everything in their path these ants are attended by active bird parties capitalizing on insects flushed out of the undergrowth by the arthropod army! Such an opportunity would undoubtedly introduce you to a confusing variety of woodcreepers, spinetails, foliage-gleaners, and leaftossers plus other ant swarm-attending bird species.
Day 5, 30th September: Amazon Rainforest to Alta Florista to Cuiaba and on to Pantanal
Today you will leave the towering jungles of the Amazon for the starkly contrasting open panoramas of the Pantanal, one of the most incredible wildlife sanctuaries on the continent.
Your flight will take you from Alta Florista back to Cuiaba and from here you will take the famous Transpantaneira road, which extends for 148 kilometers to Porto Jofre. Staying at three different lodges along the Transpantaneira allows you the opportunity to explore this large transect of the Pantanal at a leisurely pace and gives you the best chances for a variety of different wildlife species. Although the species list at each lodge is similar, each lodge offers different activities and the subtle differences in habitat translate into different odds for picking up certain individual species.
It is on the Transpantaneira that you will begin to unravel the mysteries of the Pantanal. This long raised dirt road, linked by a series of over 100 wooden bridges offers delightful mammal viewing and some of the best roadside birding in the world. Your tour takes place at the end of the dry season when vegetation is less dense and the game concentrates at the shrinking pools of water along the roadside. As you journey along this picturesque route you will have excellent chances for Capybara, South American Coati, Marsh Deer, Red and Gray Brocket Deer; while magnificent birds including the massive Jabiru Stork, Red-legged Seriema, Greater Rhea, Toco Toucan, Snail Kite, Sun Bittern ensure a seamless continuation to your wildlife viewing. The endangered Hyacinth Macaw is all but guaranteed and although under extreme pressure from poaching there are still sufficient numbers in this part of the Pantanal to afford you a reasonable chance of seeing this, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful birds on the planet.
Day 6, 01st September: Pantanal
Central to the wetland experience is travel by boat, and a morning spent cruising the waters of the Pixaim River is a relaxing way to see a surprising amount of wildlife. Iconic mammal species that you will have a good chance of seeing on this river include Capybara and Giant River Otters, the latter being one of the world’s rarest otter species. When seen in a playful mood, these vociferous creatures are a pleasure to watch and although this will not be the only place that you may encounter these delightful mammals, it is certainly one of the best!
As with all excursions on this Pantanal wildlife tour the fantastic bird diversity will keep you enthralled and avian delights like the Blue-crowned Trogon, Boat-billed Heron, Capped Heron, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Black-capped Donacobius, Black Skimmer and Bare-faced Curassow are all possible from the comfort of your boat.
Pousa Alegre is a family owned lodge on a fairly substantial ranch in a part of the Pantanal that is slightly higher and therefore receives slightly less water than surrounding properties. Termites prefer drier habitats and make up the bulk of the Giant Anteater diet and a likely encounter with this animal on this property is pretty good. In order to make the most of this opportunity you will search for this fabulous animal before the morning boat ride, in the late afternoon and in the evening.
Other good mammals that you may encounter during our daylight excursions on this property include Black-tailed Marmoset, groups of shrieking Capuchin Monkeys, Collared Peccary, large groups of Capybara and the shy Tapir. Night excursions offer good chances for Crab-eating Fox, the quizzical Crab-eating Raccoon and with a great deal of luck – Puma!
Day 7, 02nd October: Pantanal
Following breakfast this morning on our Pantanal wildlife tour, you will make your way back to the Transpantaneira road where you will spend most of the day viewing wildlife along the road as you continue south to your next stop – Porto Jofre.
Days 8 – 10, 03rd – 05th October: Pantanal
Porto Jofre is famed as one of the best places to see Jaguar and as waters recede during the dry months the riverbanks become exposed and with some luck Jaguar can be seen sunning themselves in the open. An adept climber and swimmer, this animal is perfectly adapted to living in the swamps and feeds on a wide range of arboreal, terrestrial and aquatic animals. Pantanal Jaguars are amongst the largest of this species and kilo for kilo the most powerful of the big cats, capable of killing a full-grown Tapir as well as killing a full-grown Caiman in the water!
Finding one of these elegant felines will be a major focus of this leg of your voyage, as you would have to be very lucky indeed to have found this cat at any of the other locations.
From your comfortable hotel in Porto Jofre you will set out each morning by boat to search the network of rivers for Jaguars. Although meeting up with this quintessential cat will quite simply rank as one of the world’s top wildlife experiences, our mission is far from a single species expedition and you will again have good chances for Giant River Otters while Black Howler Monkeys may be seen in the treetops along the waters edge or heard roaring from up to a mile away.
In the evening, night drives may produce many of the nocturnal species expected in northern Pantanal, including the delightful Crab-eating Fox and Crab-eating Raccoon, opossums, Giant Anteater and Southern Tamandua, Jaguar or the secretive smaller felines such as the beautifully patterned Ocelot, the seldom seen Margay and Jaguarundi.
Day 11, 06th October: Pantanal (Porto Jofre to Mato Grosso Hotel)
After your last morning dedicated to searching for Jaguars you will depart for more game viewing along the Transpantaneira and your final destination in the Pantanal, the Mato Grosso Hotel. The Mato Grosso Hotel is situated on the banks of a wildlife-rich river and has good birding at the feeding stations in the garden; the comfortable rooms and excellent food served at this establishment will ensure that this will be a memorable end to the tour for those not joining the Iguazu Falls extension.
Day 12, 07th October: Pantanal to Cuiaba and depart
Today, you will once again take to the road before arriving at Cuiaba where you will either be joining our Iguazu Falls Extension or you will be departing on your onward flights home. No doubt you will leave with a sense of longing for the next “ultimate wildlife tours” and with wonderful memories from this magical journey through Brazil.