Brazil: Amazon & Pantanal

12 Days from
$7,825 CAD | $5,875 USD
South America
Land Tour
Highlights

Highlights

  • A diverse and rich wildlife experience; the superb Pantanal, the Amazonian Rainforest at Serra das Araras, cerrado grasslands and canyonlands
  • Spectacular wildlife, from Hyacinth Macaws and immense numbers of waterbirds to tapirs and possible jaguar
  • A photographers dream - magnificent wildlife and stunning scenery
Map

Map

Tour Overview

In our exciting birding tour of Southern Brazil, we visit the fabulous Pantanal, Amazonian rainforest, canyonlands and cerrado (savanna) grasslands. We start in the Amazonian rainforest at Serra das Araras which forms an ecotone with cerrado grasslands, where birding is diverse and exciting, and where an active Harpy Eagle nest is located and where Crowned Eagles have recently nested.

Following this marvelous experience is the the Pantanal, the largest and most important wetland in South America, literally teeming with birds! Herons, egrets, storks including Jabiru, ibis, waterfowl, and spoonbills occur in wonderful abundance, along with a diverse array of other wildlife, including Jaguar. This is home to one of the world’s most resplendent birds, the huge, impressive Hyacinth Macaw!

The spectacular canyonlands of Chapada are next, with another suite of new species including the bizarre Streamer-tailed Tyrant. An impressive array of species, and we should do very well!

Check out Paul Prior’s blog post from the Brazil: Amazon Pantanal 2019 tour – Up close and personal encounters with wildlife.

Itinerary

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.

Greater Rhea, Brazil

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.

Crested Eagle nest, Brazil

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.

Red-shouldered Macaws, Brazil

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.

waterfall in Brazil

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.

Amazon Kingfisher, Brazil

Today we transfer to Porto Joffre. As 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.

Blue-throated Piping Guan

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.

Jaguar in Brazil

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.

Cocoi Heron, Brazil

After early morning birding, we make the journey to Cuiaba airport where our Brazil Amazon & Pantanal birding tour ends, and connections made for flights home. Participants should book flights home after 4 pm.

Black-tailed Marmoset, Brazil

Departures

What's Included

Tour Includes

  • All accommodations (Splendid lodges and comfortable hotels)
  • All meals
  • Ground transporation (Bus or van with driver)
  • Boat rides
  • Eagle-Eye Tours guide + a local guide with 5 - 12 participants
  • All park, conservation, entrance fees
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers

Tour Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from start/end location
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature

What to Expect

On our Brazil Amazon & Pantanal birding tour, you can expect some early morning, before breakfast excursions so we can be in the field for dawn. Everywhere in the tropics it is desirable to be in good habitat by daybreak when bird activity and song are at their peak. We concentrate on “edge” birding until the light is good enough to enter forest trails. Often we retreat to our hotel around noon for lunch and a short siesta. We bird in the cool of the late afternoon and have a few night drives to look for nocturnal wildlife.

Our tour includes a couple of long drives of several hours duration, in order to reach key sites. Mostly, however, we travel short distances with most of our time in the field. Birding will be mainly along quiet roads; we enter forest areas on relatively wide and easy-to-follow trails. The weather will be rather hot with a mixture of sun and cloud and occasional drizzle or rain. Stout, waterproof footwear is an advantage and a light rain jacket and waterproof hat are essential! Mosquitoes and other biting insects should not be a problem on this tour but precautions should always be taken.

Accommodations vary from superb lodges to comfortable accommodations. Most meals will be taken at the lodges. On some days we have picnic lunches prepared for us in order to maximize time in the field and allow a more flexible schedule. In the evening, after dinner, we discuss the day’s events and sightings and list the birds and other wildlife seen, and a briefing for the next day’s activities.

Tour Video

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Featured Wildlife

Even though we cannot guarantee a sighting of the animals below, we feel quite confident that an encounter with the ones listed below is quite likely.

  • Hyacinth Macaw
  • Possible Harpy and Crowned Eagles
  • Great Rufous Woodcreeper
  • Streamer-tailed Tyrant
  • Scissor-tailed Nightjar
  • Jabiru
  • White Woodpecker
  • Toco Toucan
  • Southern Screamer
  • Blue-winged Macaw
  • Jaguar possible
  • Brazilian Tapir
  • Giant Otter

Past Tour Checklists

View the list of birds and other wildlife we encountered on our past tours.