Day 1: Arrival in Cuiaba
Our Brazil Amazon & Pantanal birding tour starts in Cuiaba where we meet for an evening meal to discuss our upcoming adventure. Night in Cuiaba.
Day 2: Fazenda Casa Grande
This morning we drive the 4 hours to a brand new lodge built at a site where a pair of Crested Eagles has recently been found nesting; a lot of the drive will be on paved road but the last hour and a half will be on a sandy dirt road as we reach this remote site. There will be roadside birding along the way –we will probably see our first seriemas and rheas, and a whole lot more.
After lunch at the lodge we will drive a fairly short distance to a patch of rainforest for more birding (and we may see monkeys too). We might even visit the Crested Eagle nest site or leave it for the next morning.
Day 3: Fazenda Casa Grande to Serra das Araras
After some productive birding in the morning, we will leave Fazenda Casa Grande and transfer to Serra das Araras, where we spend one night. The Serra das Araras (Mountain of Macaws) is a narrow peninsula of Amazonian forest which follows the southern edge of a mountain range, and lies in an ecotone between the Cerrado (savanna-like) vegetation and the Brazilian Amazon. Birding is diverse and exciting. The major attraction in recent years has been an active Harpy Eagle nest, which we will visit should it be active. Along with Harpy Eagle, there are several goodies that we search for: Crowned Eagle, King Vulture, Red-shouldered Macaw, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Lettered Aracari, Dusky-headed Parakeet, three species of Tityras, Rondonia Warbling and Black-throated Antbirds, White-eyed Attila, Turquoise, Magpie and White-shouldered Tanagers, and many others. Night at Serra das Araras.
Days 4 – 6: Pantanal to Chapada dos Guimaraes Tableland
After a morning birding in Serra das Araras, we travel to the Chapada dos Guimarães Tableland. The scenic views in this magnificent park are astonishing! Situated at the western edge of the Planalto do Mato Grosso, the canyonlands and waterfalls of this park are truly impressive. We can expect a wide diversity of wildlife, from macaws to hummingbirds. We search for some of the endemics of the Cerrado (dry scrub savanna), including White-rumped and White-banded Tanagers, Collared Crescent-chest, Plumbeous Seedeater, Black-throated Saltator, and Campo Suiriri. Nights in Chapada.
Days 7 and 8: Birding and transfer to Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso
Today we board our air-conditioned van and drive to the the fabulous Pantanal and check in for a two-night stay at Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso. We will have ample opportunity to bird and photograph the profusion of species along the Transpantaneira. Birds throng the wetlands; we will especially look for scarcer species such as the shy Plumbeous Ibis, Ringed Teal among the common whistling-ducks and Comb Ducks, Maguari Storks and Rufescent Tiger-herons. Raptors are seemingly everywhere: Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Crane, Black-collared and Savanna Hawks, Gray-headed and Snail Kites and Aplomado Falcons. On slightly higher ground, gallery forests have taken hold, and are often alive with wildlife. It is in these forests that we search for Toco Toucans, Bare-faced Curassows, and Chestnut-bellied Guans. As well as these spectacular birds, we may see Great Rufous Woodcreeper and White Woodpecker in this area. We will start the day with a forest walk which should reveal many birds including Matto Grosso Antbird, Helmeted Manakin, and Large-billed Antwren. We are likely to encounter several flycatchers, ground-doves including Long-tailed, horneros, cardinals and seedeaters, and possibly White-naped Xenopsaris. A boatride should reveal more of the Pantanal specialties and wetland species including Jabiru, all five South American Kingfishers, and perhaps the colorful Agami Heron. Nights at Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso.
Day 9: Transfer to Porto Jofre
Today we transfer to Porto JoffreAs we drive along the famous Transpantaneira, a dirt road that traverses the Pantanal, we have an overview of this incredibly rich area with wildlife in abundance. We may see up to 100 species this morning! Night in Porto Jofre.
Day 10: Full day boat trip on Cuiaba River
Another unforgettable day!. After breakfast, we depart for a full day boat trip on the Cuiaba River, a highlight of the tour. We have a good chance of seeing Jaguar; the Pantanal jaguar is actually larger than the Amazonian one. We explore the margins of the river in search of this great cat, as well as other impressive fauna and flora. We should end up with well over a hundred species, an impressive array of wetland birds perhaps including Sunbittern and Sungrebe. It is not only the wetland birds that will keep us occupied here. The dry scrub and woodland is home to Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Turquoise-fronted Parrot and Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant. There will also be caimans, capybaras, Giant Otters and probably a few other mammal and reptile species, maybe even anacondas. We arrive back at the hotel in mid-afternoon, for a siesta. Night in Porto Jofre.
Day 11: Transfer to Piuval Lodge
Today we again drive almost the full length of the Transpantaneira highway, focussing on species we have not seen already. We are likely to encounter some birds at Piuval Lodge that are difficult to find in the interior of the Pantanal and we search for species such as White-fronted Woodpecker as we gain an introduction to the rich birdlife of this area. Night at Piuval Lodge in Pantanal.
Day 12: Transfer to Cuiaba
After early morning birding, we make the journey to Cuiaba airport where our tour ends, and connections made for flights home. Participants should book flights home after 4 pm.