Brazil Pantanal & Birding


A tour of Brazil is incomplete without indulging in the wildlife and natural beauty of the Pantanal and the Amazonian rainforest. While the Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Pantanal is the largest wetland in South America, teeming with rivers and channels and flaunting hundreds of bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s dream destination. The tour starts in the Amazonian rainforest at Serra das Araras, an ecotone with the Cerrado grasslands. It continues to the Pantanal, the largest and most important wetland in South America, home to over 460 species of birds—ibis, herons, spoonbills, egrets, crowned eagle, waterfowl, and jabiru to name a few—as well as other exotic animals such as the Jaguar. The Pantanal also touts the world-famous hyacinth macaw. The spectacular canyonlands of Chapada follow close behind with even more exotic birds and animal species.

Trip Highlights
  • Take an exhilarating Pantanal safari in the breathtaking Pantanal and witness the majestic Amazonian Rainforest.
  • Traverse through the Cerrado grasslands and canyonlands.
  • See exotic and spectacular wildlife including the hyacinth macaws, jaguars, crocodiles, and hundreds of rare bird species.
  • Witness the active harpy eagle nest and crowned eagle nests.
  • Night walks and night drives to spot nocturnal birds like nighthawk and spectacled owl.
  • Forest walks to see more rare and exotic fauna.
  • A full-day boat trip on the Cuiabá River
  • Plenty of photo opportunities, especially for birders and wildlife enthusiasts.

Day 1

Arrival in Cuiabá

The Brazilian Amazon and Pantanal birding tour commences in Cuiabá where you will have dinner and spend the night before heading out for our Pantanal safari the next day.

Days 2 - 3

Birdwatching in Serra das Araras

From Cuiabá, we go to Serra das Araras, stopping at various birding spots on the way. The Serra das Araras is an ecotone between the Pantanal and the Amazon and part of the Cerrado grasslands. It is an excellent spot for birding, and we have the chance to spot many species. We may see the crowned eagle (and their nests), king vulture, sharpbill, grey hawk, Brazil macaws like the red-shouldered macaw, lettered aracari, yellow-tufted woodpecker, dusky-headed parakeet, three species of tityras, white-flanked, warbling and black-throated antbirds, turquoise, white-eyed attila, glossy-backed becard, magpie and white-shouldered tanagers, apart from an active Harpy Eagle nest. At night, we will look for nocturnal birds like the nighthawk, scissor-tailed nightjar, pauraque, and spectacled owl.

Day 4

Drive to Piuval Lodge

The next day, we drive to the edge of the Pantanal and check into your lodge—if luck is on our side, we will be received by a flock of hyacinth macaws! We may encounter some species here that are rare in the Pantanal such as white-fronted woodpecker and bearded tachuri. After dinner, you can enjoy the sunset and an evening walk and spot nighthawks and owls at night before retiring at Piuval Lodge.

Day 5

Drive to Porto Jofre

We continue the Pantanal safari in Porto Jofre, a vast plain lying along the Parana River and one of the most extensive freshwater wetlands on earth. There are thousands of herons, egrets, waterfowl, ibises, spoonbills as well as numerous caimans and capybaras—a testimonial to the rich Pantanal wildlife. We may see up to 100 species in the morning alone while driving along the famous Transpantaneira, a dirt road through the Pantanal. We spend the night in Porto Jofre after a night drive to see owls, ocelots, band-tailed nighthawk, and crab-eating foxes.

Day 6

Boat trip on Cuiabá River

Post breakfast, we leave for a full day boat trip on the Cuiabá River where we may see the Pantanal Jaguar along the river bank, which is bigger than its Amazonian counterpart. We may see over a hundred species of wetland birds, including Sungrebe and Sunbittern. The nearby dry scrub and woodland flaunt more Pantanal wildlife—cinereous-breasted spinetail, peach-fronted parakeet, turquoise-fronted parrot, pearly-vented tody-tyrant, marsh deer and giant anteater to name a few. We return to the hotel in the midafternoon, where you can rest and enjoy the remaining day.

Days 7 - 8

Birding and transfer to Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso

The seventh day brings ample opportunities to see and photograph several species along the Transpantaneira. Birds throng the wetlands, including the scarcer species like the shy plumbeous ibis, ringed teal, the common whistling-ducks, comb ducks, Maguari storks, and rufescent tiger-herons. We may also see Aplomado falcons, crane, gray-headed and snail kites, black-collared and Savanna hawks, and yellow-headed vultures. The gallery forests host bare-faced curassows, Toco toucans, and chestnut-bellied guans. Apart from these spectacular birds, we may also see Great Rufous woodcreepers and white woodpeckers. The loud haunting cries of Southern screamers usher in the morning sun at the Hotel. The next day begins with a forest walk as we try to spot the helmeted manakin, Mato Grosso antbird, and large-billed antwren. We may encounter several flycatchers, and ground-doves including horneros, cardinals, and seedeaters, and white-naped xenopsaris. We may also see non-bird species like anacondas, black-howler monkeys, brown capuchin, black-tailed marmoset, and Jaguar. A boat ride will unveil more of the Pantanal wildlife and wetland species including Jabiru, the Giant otter, and all five Amazon kingfishers. Both nights will be spent at Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso.

Days 9 - 11

Day 9

On exiting the Pantanal, we go to the National Park of Chapada dos Guimarães Tableland via Cuiabá, situated at the western edge of the Planalto do Mato Grosso. The park has some magnificent canyonlands, waterfalls, and rare species, like blue-winged macaws, seriemas, pheasant cuckoos, and streamer-tailed tyrants (that dance in pairs), and endemic species of the Cerrado, like the white-rumped and band-tailed tanagers.

Day 12

10 & 11: Pantanal to Chapada dos Guimaraes Tableland

We continue birding at Chapada early morning for more Cerrado locals such as black-throated saltator, plumbeous seedeater, collared crescent-chest, and Campo suiriri. The tour ends by 4 pm, after which you can pack, and we will drop you at Cuiabá airport to board your return flight with unforgettable memories.