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Worldwide Photography Tours since 1980

Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil's Pantanal

The Brazilian lowlands known as the Pantanal form an enormous wilderness in the heart of South America. This flat rain-fed region, laced with waterways and submerged beneath silvery sheets of floodwater for half the year, is one of the most photographically productive wildlife habitats on the entire continent.

Few places offer so many animals of such variety, so spectacularly visible, as the Pantanal. One reason for the incredible exuberance of animal life is the sparse human settlement of the region. Because of the damp land and annual flooding, large-scale cultivation is impractical and access remains difficult—except by boat. Giant cattle ranches lay claim to the land, but they are stocked at low density, and ranching has done little to change the essential character of the landscape. These days, more and more of these fazendas are being converted into ecolodges.

JShaw 150914 D4S 6100

Jaguars, the third largest “big cat” on earth dwells deep within the Pantanal’s tangled floodplain forests. Here, they have remained one of the planet’s most photographically elusive large predators—until now! Along several Pantanal rivers, jaguars have become habituated to the growing activity of commercial and sport fishing boats over the past few years. Because of their growing familiarity with this increasing river traffic, jaguars have learned to relax on the banks in the shade of riverside trees. From exposed vantage points and camouflaged lairs, they monitor these rivers and wait for prey along their sandy banks. Being enthusiastic swimmers, they often cool down with a refreshing dip as the day heats up. The amazing Pantanal jaguars are the world’s largest jaguar subspecies and big, photogenic males can weigh over 300 pounds. It is not unlikely to see these largest American cats stalk capybaras and caiman during the coolest hours of the day.

16 09 24 O4R6181

On this Pantanal photo tour we shoot a fantastic variety of wildlife while exploring the Transpantaneira Highway by air-conditioned mini bus and by cruising numerous waterways in small boats. By building the “highway” through the wetland, the mounding of soil for the roadbed has created the adjacent “borrow pit” as a by-product that extends for countless miles. Here, our cameras capture jabiru, the world’s largest stork—an iconic symbol of the Pantanal. Families of capybaras are often seen wallowing and feeding right alongside the voracious caiman. Capybaras resemble giant guinea pigs—this conspicuous rodent attains weights exceeding 130 pounds! Noisy groups of endangered giant otters patrol these same waterways and we should have good opportunities to photograph them at close range.

Capped heron 15 08 24 P0T4266

The abundance and diversity of large mammals can be seen on all sides, yet many of the region’s big mammals have not been photographed extensively. Marsh deer, coatimundi, giant anteaters, tapirs and giant river otters are all potential targets for our lenses. And now—during the dry season in the Pantanal—rarely-seen jaguars are a welcome addition to the Pantanal’s photographic repertoire!

Along with breathtaking jaguars, the Pantanal’s other truly great spectacle is provided by the amazing variety of water birds that utilize these wetlands to probe, sift and stab for prey. They include huge numbers of egrets, herons, ibis and wood storks, as well as spoonbills and jabiru. Bird photography is exceptional here, reminiscent of Florida’s Everglades in the 1800s before its degradation. Other interesting species to photograph at close range, such as toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, snail kites and buff-necked ibis, add spice to this exceptional photographic adventure.

If you’re a serious nature traveler and never been to the Pantanal, you’ve really missed one of Planet Earth’s greatest wildlife habitats and photography destinations! Elusive jaguars and a throng of other charismatic wildlife provide undreamed of photographic opportunities.

16 09 20 O4R1840

Compelling Reasons To Travel With Us

With amazing accessibility to jaguars and a host of other wildlife, Brazil’s Pantanal has enthusiastically been added to many nature photographers’ “must do” lists. In recent years, numerous new trips have cropped up offering photographers the chance to photograph in Pantanal. What sets our Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal photo shoot apart from the rest? Plenty!

D8A5932 Enhanced NRc

Unparalleled Experience
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris has more than 25 years of experience offering Pantanal photography tours—far more than virtually any other photographer/tour company leading trips to the area. Our local guide has worked in the Pantanal for more than 35 years and is considered a pioneer in nature and photography tours to the region. Experience matters when you are photographing in an area as vast as Brazil’s Pantanal. We waste no time getting you exactly where you need to be for the very best photography—each and every day of your trip.

Chestnut eared aracari 15 08 06 O4R2770

Smaller Group Size
We limit our groups to 8 participants with 2 leaders—far fewer participants than other groups which typically take 12–15 photographers, plus the leaders. With fewer participants we are able to move more nimbly and with less impact on both wildlife and habitat. Fewer people photographing is almost always desirable, but especially so when traveling in small boats, as we do when photographing jaguars.

Jaguars—And A Whole Lot More
With us you get 5 full days of jaguar photography plus additional days at two ecolodges. Because these lodges are in distinctly different habitats, you photograph a much wider diversity of the many species found in the Pantanal.

Accommodations Matter (A Lot!)
When we’re out in the field shooting we “play hard” getting the most out of available light and photographic opportunities. When we’re not shooting, we want to retreat to accommodations that offer comfort and a chance to rejuvenate for the coming day. Our chosen accommodations do just that!

Victoria lily 15 08 31 O4R2569
16 09 23 O4R4504

When you consider all the essential details that we’ve combined to make your trip comfortable, safe and very photographically productive—we know you’ll choose our Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Depart from home on overnight flights.

Day 2 (Jul 14, Jul 27, Aug 10 or Aug 22, 2024)

Arrive in Cuiabá and transfer to our hotel. The group meets for dinner tonight. (D)

Day 3

This morning we depart for the Transpantaneira Highway, the main artery through the floodplain, looking for the unusual mammals and some of the more than 360 species of birds found in the Pantanal along the way. The area is especially good for wading bird photos—thousands of jabiru, American wood storks and great egrets congregate in huge flocks. We arrive at our first Pantanal lodge in time for lunch. Our group divides into three small boats and heads out onto a large oxbow lake to photograph a variety of birds in flight possibly including black-collared hawk, great black hawk, roadside hawk, cocoi heron and one or more kingfishers as they dive for fish. Photographing jabiru storks along the lake’s edge is always a possibility. Anhingas, neotropical cormorants, sungrebes and muscovy ducks are often seen and photographed here. Jacare caiman, capybara and occasional river otters are also a possibility. A stunning sunset often awaits us. (BLD)

Day 4

After breakfast, we board our boats again to hone our skills and improve on our images from yesterday. Back on dry land, a variety of birds such as yellow-chevroned parrots, yellow-billed cardinals and bare-faced curassows can be approached and photographed quite easily near our fruit feeders. On occasion, a troop of Capuchin monkeys can be found in the trees surrounding the dining room. After lunch, we are back out on the boats again with a third opportunity to fine tune our birds-in-flight photography. (BLD)

Day 5

This morning we travel further southward, deeper into the heart of the northern Pantanal. Along our route, the wetlands become increasingly open and we pass through several different marsh and forest habitats en route to Porto Jofre and our comfortable lodge. The afternoon features opportunities to photograph hyacinth macaws and giant Victoria amazonica water lilies populated with a resident flock of wattled jacanas that forage across the top of the large circular leaves. (BLD)

Days 6–10

Each morning we travel by speedboat on the Rio Cuiabá and its tributaries—with only three photographers in a boat—into the vast realm of the jaguar. Here, along the banks of the river, we have the best chances of photographing jaguars at this time of the year. Our recent trip participants have seen several of these huge predators during the day—many of them at very close range for extended periods. Scout boats are sent out, in advance, along the river and all of our boats are in radio contact to deliver us to the big cats as quickly as possible. We stay at a comfortable hotel, with spacious rooms, situated along the Cuiabá River in the heart of jaguar country—where it is not unusual to find jaguars within 10 minutes of our hotel! Using comfortable and nimble speedboats we cruise the river looking for the best photo opportunities for cats, endangered giant otters and a wonderful variety of other wildlife. (BLD)

Day 11

We travel northward along the Transpantaneira through broad open savannahs and wetlands punctuated by forest islands, stopping to photograph whenever good opportunities present themselves. Thousands (literally) of yacare caiman can be found in the drying sloughs along the roadway—this area sports one of the largest concentrations of crocodilians in the world! Afternoon photography and overnight accommodations are at a backcountry lodge situated well off the main road. (BLD)

Day 12

We enjoy a full day of photography at our comfortable, rustic lodge that affords the wonderful hospitality of the "Old Pantanal" of a bygone era! The Rio Bento Gomes crosses our ranch from east to west. It flows only part of the year and in the dry season—during our visit—a series of lakes and ponds of various sizes and surrounding habitats give rise to the photogenic bird-rich area starting just feet from the lodge. Now is our chance to seek out photogenic situations with hyacinth macaws, toco toucans, ferruginous pygmy owls, numerous parrots, and a throng of land and water birds. This location is truly terrific for bird photography. (BLD)

Day 13 (Jul 25, Aug 7, Aug 21 or Sep 3)

An early morning departure brings us back to Cuiabá in time to connect with afternoon flights to São Paulo or Brasilia and evening flights home. (B)

Tour Details

Jul 13 2024 – Jul 25 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Jul 26 2024 – Aug 07 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Aug 09 2024 – Aug 21 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Aug 22 2024 – Sep 03 2024
Register Now
Fee: $9,295 from Cuiabá, Brazil
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 8 participants
Activity Level: Easy
Single Supplement: $760
» Terms and Conditions

Special Terms and Conditions Apply

Tour Highlights

  • Tour timed for Pantanal dry season dates—and the best possibility for spectacular jaguar images
  • Five full shooting days for jaguar photography with only 3 participants in each boat
  • Stay at two additional ranches with prolific bird feeders with extra boat trips for wildlife and landscapes
  • Shoot a wider variety of accessible wildlife than any other location in Central and South America
  • Tour limited to a maximum of eight participants and two leaders
  • Trip includes all meals, lodging, boat and ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

YouTube Video

Testimonials

The tour exceeded my expectations. Jaguar sightings were incredible. I have tons of wonderful shots.
— Susan G.

I am a better photographer as a result of the trip and arrived back home with a 2T of great images. The tour leader provided many tips, and I immersed in shooting opportunities.
—Bob S.

Outstanding tour! I would highly recommend it to anyone. Photographing the jaguars was exciting, fun and exhilarating, and photographing the birds and other wildlife was a big bonus. I will do this trip again!
—Angie C.

Tour Details

Jul 13 2024 – Jul 25 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Jul 26 2024 – Aug 07 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Aug 09 2024 – Aug 21 2024
Please Join Our Waitlist!
Join Waitlist
Aug 22 2024 – Sep 03 2024
Register Now
Fee: $9,295 from Cuiabá, Brazil
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 8 participants
Activity Level: Easy
Single Supplement: $760
» Terms and Conditions

Special Terms and Conditions Apply

The Brazilian lowlands known as the Pantanal form an enormous wilderness in the heart of South America. This flat rain-fed region, laced with waterways and submerged beneath silvery sheets of floodwater for half the year, is one of the most photographically productive wildlife habitats on the entire continent.

Few places offer so many animals of such variety, so spectacularly visible, as the Pantanal. One reason for the incredible exuberance of animal life is the sparse human settlement of the region. Because of the damp land and annual flooding, large-scale cultivation is impractical and access remains difficult—except by boat. Giant cattle ranches lay claim to the land, but they are stocked at low density, and ranching has done little to change the essential character of the landscape. These days, more and more of these fazendas are being converted into ecolodges.

JShaw 150914 D4S 6100

Jaguars, the third largest “big cat” on earth dwells deep within the Pantanal’s tangled floodplain forests. Here, they have remained one of the planet’s most photographically elusive large predators—until now! Along several Pantanal rivers, jaguars have become habituated to the growing activity of commercial and sport fishing boats over the past few years. Because of their growing familiarity with this increasing river traffic, jaguars have learned to relax on the banks in the shade of riverside trees. From exposed vantage points and camouflaged lairs, they monitor these rivers and wait for prey along their sandy banks. Being enthusiastic swimmers, they often cool down with a refreshing dip as the day heats up. The amazing Pantanal jaguars are the world’s largest jaguar subspecies and big, photogenic males can weigh over 300 pounds. It is not unlikely to see these largest American cats stalk capybaras and caiman during the coolest hours of the day.

16 09 24 O4R6181

On this Pantanal photo tour we shoot a fantastic variety of wildlife while exploring the Transpantaneira Highway by air-conditioned mini bus and by cruising numerous waterways in small boats. By building the “highway” through the wetland, the mounding of soil for the roadbed has created the adjacent “borrow pit” as a by-product that extends for countless miles. Here, our cameras capture jabiru, the world’s largest stork—an iconic symbol of the Pantanal. Families of capybaras are often seen wallowing and feeding right alongside the voracious caiman. Capybaras resemble giant guinea pigs—this conspicuous rodent attains weights exceeding 130 pounds! Noisy groups of endangered giant otters patrol these same waterways and we should have good opportunities to photograph them at close range.

Capped heron 15 08 24 P0T4266

The abundance and diversity of large mammals can be seen on all sides, yet many of the region’s big mammals have not been photographed extensively. Marsh deer, coatimundi, giant anteaters, tapirs and giant river otters are all potential targets for our lenses. And now—during the dry season in the Pantanal—rarely-seen jaguars are a welcome addition to the Pantanal’s photographic repertoire!

Along with breathtaking jaguars, the Pantanal’s other truly great spectacle is provided by the amazing variety of water birds that utilize these wetlands to probe, sift and stab for prey. They include huge numbers of egrets, herons, ibis and wood storks, as well as spoonbills and jabiru. Bird photography is exceptional here, reminiscent of Florida’s Everglades in the 1800s before its degradation. Other interesting species to photograph at close range, such as toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, snail kites and buff-necked ibis, add spice to this exceptional photographic adventure.

If you’re a serious nature traveler and never been to the Pantanal, you’ve really missed one of Planet Earth’s greatest wildlife habitats and photography destinations! Elusive jaguars and a throng of other charismatic wildlife provide undreamed of photographic opportunities.

16 09 20 O4R1840

Compelling Reasons To Travel With Us

With amazing accessibility to jaguars and a host of other wildlife, Brazil’s Pantanal has enthusiastically been added to many nature photographers’ “must do” lists. In recent years, numerous new trips have cropped up offering photographers the chance to photograph in Pantanal. What sets our Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal photo shoot apart from the rest? Plenty!

D8A5932 Enhanced NRc

Unparalleled Experience
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris has more than 25 years of experience offering Pantanal photography tours—far more than virtually any other photographer/tour company leading trips to the area. Our local guide has worked in the Pantanal for more than 35 years and is considered a pioneer in nature and photography tours to the region. Experience matters when you are photographing in an area as vast as Brazil’s Pantanal. We waste no time getting you exactly where you need to be for the very best photography—each and every day of your trip.

Chestnut eared aracari 15 08 06 O4R2770

Smaller Group Size
We limit our groups to 8 participants with 2 leaders—far fewer participants than other groups which typically take 12–15 photographers, plus the leaders. With fewer participants we are able to move more nimbly and with less impact on both wildlife and habitat. Fewer people photographing is almost always desirable, but especially so when traveling in small boats, as we do when photographing jaguars.

Jaguars—And A Whole Lot More
With us you get 5 full days of jaguar photography plus additional days at two ecolodges. Because these lodges are in distinctly different habitats, you photograph a much wider diversity of the many species found in the Pantanal.

Accommodations Matter (A Lot!)
When we’re out in the field shooting we “play hard” getting the most out of available light and photographic opportunities. When we’re not shooting, we want to retreat to accommodations that offer comfort and a chance to rejuvenate for the coming day. Our chosen accommodations do just that!

Victoria lily 15 08 31 O4R2569
16 09 23 O4R4504

When you consider all the essential details that we’ve combined to make your trip comfortable, safe and very photographically productive—we know you’ll choose our Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil’s Pantanal!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Depart from home on overnight flights.

Day 2 (Jul 14, Jul 27, Aug 10 or Aug 22, 2024)

Arrive in Cuiabá and transfer to our hotel. The group meets for dinner tonight. (D)

Day 3

This morning we depart for the Transpantaneira Highway, the main artery through the floodplain, looking for the unusual mammals and some of the more than 360 species of birds found in the Pantanal along the way. The area is especially good for wading bird photos—thousands of jabiru, American wood storks and great egrets congregate in huge flocks. We arrive at our first Pantanal lodge in time for lunch. Our group divides into three small boats and heads out onto a large oxbow lake to photograph a variety of birds in flight possibly including black-collared hawk, great black hawk, roadside hawk, cocoi heron and one or more kingfishers as they dive for fish. Photographing jabiru storks along the lake’s edge is always a possibility. Anhingas, neotropical cormorants, sungrebes and muscovy ducks are often seen and photographed here. Jacare caiman, capybara and occasional river otters are also a possibility. A stunning sunset often awaits us. (BLD)

Day 4

After breakfast, we board our boats again to hone our skills and improve on our images from yesterday. Back on dry land, a variety of birds such as yellow-chevroned parrots, yellow-billed cardinals and bare-faced curassows can be approached and photographed quite easily near our fruit feeders. On occasion, a troop of Capuchin monkeys can be found in the trees surrounding the dining room. After lunch, we are back out on the boats again with a third opportunity to fine tune our birds-in-flight photography. (BLD)

Day 5

This morning we travel further southward, deeper into the heart of the northern Pantanal. Along our route, the wetlands become increasingly open and we pass through several different marsh and forest habitats en route to Porto Jofre and our comfortable lodge. The afternoon features opportunities to photograph hyacinth macaws and giant Victoria amazonica water lilies populated with a resident flock of wattled jacanas that forage across the top of the large circular leaves. (BLD)

Days 6–10

Each morning we travel by speedboat on the Rio Cuiabá and its tributaries—with only three photographers in a boat—into the vast realm of the jaguar. Here, along the banks of the river, we have the best chances of photographing jaguars at this time of the year. Our recent trip participants have seen several of these huge predators during the day—many of them at very close range for extended periods. Scout boats are sent out, in advance, along the river and all of our boats are in radio contact to deliver us to the big cats as quickly as possible. We stay at a comfortable hotel, with spacious rooms, situated along the Cuiabá River in the heart of jaguar country—where it is not unusual to find jaguars within 10 minutes of our hotel! Using comfortable and nimble speedboats we cruise the river looking for the best photo opportunities for cats, endangered giant otters and a wonderful variety of other wildlife. (BLD)

Day 11

We travel northward along the Transpantaneira through broad open savannahs and wetlands punctuated by forest islands, stopping to photograph whenever good opportunities present themselves. Thousands (literally) of yacare caiman can be found in the drying sloughs along the roadway—this area sports one of the largest concentrations of crocodilians in the world! Afternoon photography and overnight accommodations are at a backcountry lodge situated well off the main road. (BLD)

Day 12

We enjoy a full day of photography at our comfortable, rustic lodge that affords the wonderful hospitality of the “Old Pantanal” of a bygone era! The Rio Bento Gomes crosses our ranch from east to west. It flows only part of the year and in the dry season—during our visit—a series of lakes and ponds of various sizes and surrounding habitats give rise to the photogenic bird-rich area starting just feet from the lodge. Now is our chance to seek out photogenic situations with hyacinth macaws, toco toucans, ferruginous pygmy owls, numerous parrots, and a throng of land and water birds. This location is truly terrific for bird photography. (BLD)

Day 13 (Jul 25, Aug 7, Aug 21 or Sep 3)

An early morning departure brings us back to Cuiabá in time to connect with afternoon flights to São Paulo or Brasilia and evening flights home. (B)

Tour Highlights

  • Tour timed for Pantanal dry season dates—and the best possibility for spectacular jaguar images
  • Five full shooting days for jaguar photography with only 3 participants in each boat
  • Stay at two additional ranches with prolific bird feeders with extra boat trips for wildlife and landscapes
  • Shoot a wider variety of accessible wildlife than any other location in Central and South America
  • Tour limited to a maximum of eight participants and two leaders
  • Trip includes all meals, lodging, boat and ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

YouTube Video

Testimonials

The tour exceeded my expectations. Jaguar sightings were incredible. I have tons of wonderful shots.
— Susan G.

I am a better photographer as a result of the trip and arrived back home with a 2T of great images. The tour leader provided many tips, and I immersed in shooting opportunities.
—Bob S.

Outstanding tour! I would highly recommend it to anyone. Photographing the jaguars was exciting, fun and exhilarating, and photographing the birds and other wildlife was a big bonus. I will do this trip again!
—Angie C.