Brazil,

The Natural History Highlights of Brazil

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Tailor-Made Tour
14 Days
From £6990
GEOIP Not Available
Big Cat Safari
Photographic
Rainforest

Tour Introduction

14 Days from £6990
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Prices based on flight fares at the time of costing & may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote

This is a well-paced itinerary, combining exceptional locations which showcase some of South America’s most iconic wildlife. Visit Caraca Natural Park where the maned wolf is a nightly visitor; explore the southern Amazon with a bird list of over 600 species and abundant primates from the comfort of Cristalino Jungle Lodge; venture deep in to the northern Pantanal where sightings of jaguars are almost guaranteed; and search for ocelots and giant anteaters in the southern Pantanal. This is an intense itinerary for the serious wildlife enthusiast who desires deep immersion in the two most wildlife-prolific wildernesses in the entire New World.

Full Itinerary

Price from £6990
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Arrive in Brazil

Airport assistance in Sao Paulo to connect with flight to Belo Horizonte. Met on arrival and transfer to Caraca Natural Park. Spend the afternoon exploring some of the trails around the private reserve in search of wildlife such as masked titi monkey and many endemic birds. After dinner, watch wild maned wolves coming to feed on the monastery terrace.

Staying at Santuario do Caraca. Includes Lunch and Dinner.

Day 2
Caraca Natural Park

Morning to explore trails in search of masked titi monkeys, black tufted-ear marmosets, various birds and other wildlife. The habitat at Caraca is a natural eco-zone between the Atlantic rainforest and cerrado biomes and is thus home to a diverse range of overlapping flora and fauna. Time to rest during the middle of day and explore the fascinating history of the monastery, the Caraca museum and gardens. Relax or explore some different trails in the afternoon. Evening spent maned wolf watching.

Staying at Santuario do Caraca. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Southern Amazon

Return to Belo Horizonte and fly to Cuiaba. Connect with flight to Alta Floresta. Met on arrival and transfer by road and boat to the lodge in the southern Amazon.

Staying at Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 4
Southern Amazon

Guided small group activities including boat trips along the Cristalino River in search of wildlife and hikes along forest trails. Cristalino’s private rainforest reserve is one the best birdwatching sites in the world with over 600 species recorded. The primary Amazonian forest is in a near-pristine state and there are regular sightings of primates, tapirs, peccaries, caiman, and many more including jaguars which have been spotted by us on the river bank.

Staying at Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Southern Amazon

Guided small group activities. Maybe climb the 50-metre high canopy towers for sensational views over the canopy.

Staying at Cristalino Jungle Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Northern Pantanal

Transfer by boat and road to Alta Floresta. Fly to Cuiaba. Met on arrival and transfer to lodge on the Transpantaneira Highway, spotting wildlife en route.

Staying at Pouso Alegre Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Cuiaba River

Transfer southwards downs the Transpantaneira to the Cuiaba River. Afternoon jaguar spotting by boat.

Staying at Hotel Pantanal Norte. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Cuiaba River

The Cuiaba River and its tributaries are the best place in the world for jaguar sightings. Here there is a high density of the cats which spend the heat of the day by the river where they come to drink and wait for prey on the shaded banks and beaches. Sightings of these majestic cats often involve prolonged viewing and sometimes rarely-seen behaviour such as mating, swimming and hunting. Spend the day exploring by boat and spotting jaguars, giant otters and plenty of other wildlife which inhabits the wonderful Pantanal.

Staying at Hotel Pantanal Norte. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Cuiaba River

Spend the day jaguar spotting along the Cuiaba River and its tributaries.

Staying at Hotel Pantanal Norte. Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Northern Pantanal

Return to your previous lodge on the Transpantaneira Highway. Afternoon for guided excursions.

Staying at Pouso Alegre Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Southern Pantanal

Transfer to Cuiaba and fly to Campo Grande. Met on arrival and transfer to a ranch in the southern Pantanal. Evening night drive with a great chance of seeing ocelots hunting rodents that are active in the wetlands at night: night drives offer the best chance in the world of seeing this elusive predator, about the size of a large dog with beautiful markings.

Staying at Fazenda San Francisco. Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Southern Pantanal

Day of guided activities around the ranch, which can include 4x4 safaris, catamaran boat trips and guided horseback riding. The wildlife viewing is excellent with notably high numbers of giant anteaters feeding on the dry savannah close to the entrance track into the lodge. After supper, go out on an evening spotlight game drive.

Staying at Fazenda San Francisco. Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Southern Pantanal

Day of guided activities and later a spotlight night drive.

Staying at Fazenda San Francisco. Includes All Meals.

Day 14
Depart Brazil

Early morning activity then transfer to Campo Grande. Fly to Sao Paulo and connect with your international flight home.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Brazil Rio de Janeiro and South East

Santuario do Caraca

Overview

The Santuario do Caraca monastery was built in 1773 and has an educational as well as religious past: at one time it was used as a boarding school for boys where past Brazilian presidents once studied. There is a wealth of history about the site in the ruin of the old school where an interesting museum and library are found.

Today its emphasis is on environmental education and the monastery sits within its own private reserve. The protected area is about 43 square miles and is a natural ecotone where the two habitats of cerrado (tropical savannah) and Atlantic rainforest meet. The reserve is also within the one billion years-old Serra Do Mar mountain range which stretches along the eastern edge of Brazil and is home to many endemics. The monastery is situated amidst the mountains at an altitude of 1,250 metres.

The highlight of a stay at the monastery are the nightly visits from wild maned wolves to the monastery patio.

There are 42 rooms and most have private bathrooms. The rooms are simple but comfortable and, due to the high altitude, can be cold on some nights. There is a fridge, cupboard and basic seating and storage in the rooms.

The unique atmosphere of the gothic monastery and the wildlife attractions more than make up for the basic accommodation.

Breakfasts at the monastery are still practiced in a traditional way with eggs cooked over a hot stone. Other meals are in the main dining hall and a generous buffet selection of typical regional food is offered. There is a bar serving an assortment of drinks, and hot tea or soup and popcorn is usually freely available for patient wolf watchers.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
42
Facilities

Restaurant, bar, gift shop, library, museum and good network of trails.

Local Wildlife

Maned wolves visit the monastery patio each night to feed on chicken scraps, and a striped hog-nosed skunk also visits but less frequently. Black-fronted titi monkeys and black-tufted ear marmosets are frequently seen in the mornings along the Tanque Grande trail near to the monastery and Guianan squirrel and Brazilian cavy are common around the allotments. There are 70 species of mammal in the reserve but most are rarely seen. Tapirs are infrequently seen at night, and can sometimes be found at a wallow site. A mixture of Atlantic rainforest and cerrado bird life can be seen including local specialities such as the beautiful hyacinth visorbearer hummingbird, gilt-edged tanager, serra antwren and rufous gnateater. Dusky-legged guans and blackish rails are common sightings around the allotments.

Optional Activities

Day hikes on trails through both Atlantic rainforest and cerrado ecosystems and longer trails to higher elevation. A guided tour of the museum and monastery is available to learn more about the varied history of the site.

Brazil Pantanal and Central West

Pouso Alegre Lodge

Overview

Located just 33 km down the Transpantaneira Highway, Pouso Alegre Lodge is a great stopover for those travelling further south or back up north along the Transpantaneira. It is set within an 11,000 hectare private reserve on a traditional Pantanal cattle ranch with a mixed landscape of seasonally flooded fields, native grasses, forests and waterways.

Excursions offered by the lodge include guided walks along trails in the grasslands and gallery forest, horse riding through the wetlands and canoes trips on the Bento Gomes and Claro Rivers.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
14
Facilities

There are 14 simply furnished en suite rooms with screened windows, ceiling fan and air-conditioning, a dining room serving tasty traditional Pantanal fare and an outside hammock area for relaxing.

Local Wildlife

Pouso Alegre Lodge is considered one of the best locations in the northern Pantanal to see giant anteaters, particularly along the lodge’s private 7 km long raised driveway. Other wildlife seen along this entrance road include red brocket deer, bare-faced curassows and even Brazilian tapir. Pouso Alegre’s property is also inhabited by marsh deer, Azara’s agouti, Brazilian cavy and a diversity of birdlife including macaws, toucans and three species of stork.

Optional Activities

Horseback rides around the wetlands, guided walking on various trails and wildlife boat trips along the river. There are also spotlight vehicle and boat tours at night for nocturnally active wildlife such as racoon and various owls.

Brazil Pantanal and Central West

Hotel Pantanal Norte

Overview

Situated on the banks of the Cuiaba River at the end of the Transpantaneira Highway, Hotel Pantanal Norte (formerly the Porto Jofre Hotel) has 28 rooms with a maximum capacity of 100 guests. There is a large dining room, internet and games rooms with two pool tables, and a welcoming outdoor swimming pool.

The spacious en suite rooms are in blocks of two and are equipped with air-conditioning, TV (local channels only), a porch, seating area and ceiling fans. Some newer rooms have recently been added that overlook the river.

Hyacinth macaws and toco toucans frequent the trees around the hotel’s extensive gardens, and there is a picturesque lake with water hyacinths to the rear. The hotel is well placed for jaguar spotting trips along the Cuiaba River: indeed, jaguars have even been spotted just 10 minutes upstream from the hotel.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
28
Facilities

Swimming pool, dining room, internet room and games room with two pool tables.

Local Wildlife

The Cuiaba River and its tributaries offer the best jaguar viewing in the world, and families of enigmatic giant otters can also be seen most days on the waterways. There are a large number of capybara and yacare caiman here too, which attract the predators. The hotel gardens are a great place to see hyacinth macaws and toco toucans.

Optional Activities

Excursions on the Cuiaba River and its tributaries in search of jaguars, giant otters and other wildlife including giant anaconda.

Brazil Pantanal and Central West

Fazenda San Francisco

Overview

Fazenda San Francisco is set in 15,000 hectares of land, of which 3,500 hectares are allocated to cattle ranching, 4,500 hectares are cultivated for rice, and 7,000 hectares given over to a private nature reserve. The drive time from Campo Grande is about 3 hours 15 minutes, the fazenda being 35 kilometre west of Miranda and 6 kilometres from the main road.

There are 10 rooms with a total capacity of 35 guests. Four rooms are located in the main building and six rooms in a separate, newer block a short distance away. All are en suite (hot and cold showers) with air conditioning and a minibar. They do not have much character but are clean and functional. There is 24-hour mains electricity and a backup generator. Facilities include a swimming pool, children’s playground, hammock area, TV room/lounge and small museum. The Fazenda has an arrangement with the Centro de Reabilitação de Animais Silvestres (Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre) to assist in the rehabilitation of confiscated parrots, resulting in the entertaining spectacle of numerous parrots and macaws coming to feeders outside the communal areas.

Food is plentiful and tasty with a large variety of dishes on offer. Fresh vegetables come from a hydroponics farm in Miranda, manioc and beans from a nearby native community, and the fazenda produces its own beef, rice and desserts. The staff are employed mainly from the local town and are very attentive, but little English, apart from the guides, is spoken.

Available activities include trail hikes, canoeing, horse riding, boat tours, night drives and photo safaris. There are also evening lectures given by biologists when in residence. The photo safaris are in 11, 25 or 28 capacity vehicles and the boat tours in a two-storey boat with a capacity of 35 passengers. Group departures have set times each day (typically 07:30 or 08:00 for the photo safari and 14:30 for the boat tour).

In addition to guests staying at the fazenda, some visitors come from Bonito for a day trip or overnight, so the vehicles and boats can get full. It is recommended to book private services wherever possible. July is extremely busy with Brazilian visitors.

The night spotlighting tour is probably San Francisco’s most popular. Plastic glasses are provided to keep insects out of the eyes, and blankets for the cold (recommended). The night tour departs at 18:00 and lasts two hours. The route is largely the same as the photo safari route (see below) along the raised tracks that run between the rice fields, alongside the forest reserve, and the lakes. During a night tour in the dry season there is a 90% chance of seeing an ocelot, and other common sightings include marsh deer and giant anteater. Tapir, jaguar, maned wolf and puma are also occasionally seen.

There are daytime excursions by boat along the Coxi River (a tributary of the Rio Miranda) and photo safaris in 4×4 vehicles. Horse riding across nearby ranch land, walking safaris along trails and a visit to a canopy tower are also available.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
10
Facilities

Dining room, TV room, air-conditioning, mini exhibition room, hammock area, internet access, swimming pool and children's play area.

Local Wildlife

Very good chances of seeing ocelots, giant anteaters and marsh deer. Giant and neotropical otters, yellow armadillos, rheas, macaws and parrots. The longer boat tours and night drives in the dry season offer a greater chance of seeing a jaguar.

Optional Activities

Boat trips on catamarans, and smaller speedboats, 4x4 photo safaris, Horse riding, Canadian canoe outings, walking safaris and night drives are all on offer.

Brazil Amazonia

Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Overview

Cristalino Jungle Lodge is situated by the Cristalino River near Alta Floresta on the southern fringes of the Amazonia region. Its 11,399-hectare private reserve abutts a much larger state park to the north, both amounting to a huge tract of precious, preserved rainforest.

The lodge facilities are arranged in two clearings, with the dining room, bar and lounge in one and the standard/superior rooms and VIP bungalows in the other. The standard rooms are situated in two blocks of four rooms and only have twin beds, while the superior rooms are found in two blocks of two. The four individual VIP bungalows (including one with an outside bathtub) are located on the edge of the clearing. All rooms are en suite with solar heated showers and ceiling fans. The VIP bungalows are the most spacious, and offer queen-size or twin beds, sofas and private verandahs with hammocks.

There is an extensive trail network through a wide variety of forest types and habitats hosting a bewildering diversity of flora and fauna. Currently there are 600+ bird species in the region, including many range-restricted Brazilian endemics, and six species of macaws.

The forest is home to a variety of mammals including Brazilian tapirs and peccaries, and Neotropical otters are sometimes seen in the river. Jaguars, small cats, tyra, brocket deer, and wild dogs can also be found, though sightings are rare. The region also boasts seven primate species including the endemic white-whiskered spider monkey and red-nosed bearded saki monkey.

The Cristalino area is heaven for lepidopterists. It contains over 1,800 species of butterflies, skippers and moths, and specialist butterfly observations tours can be arranged on request.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge is one of the top locations in Brazil to see an excellent variety of Amazonian flora and fauna, and has some of the most comfortable accommodation in the whole of Amazonia. With its proximity to Alta Floresta and daily flights to Cuiaba, a rewarding stay at Cristalino can be easily combined with both the northern and southern Pantanal to create one of South America’s most wildlife-rich itineraries.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
16
Facilities

Restaurant and bar, lounge with small library, solar powered hot water showers, hydrokinetic energy generator, en suite facilities, floating deck, two 50-metre canopy towers, screened hide at mammal clay lick, canoes and inflatable kayaks, and laundry service.

Local Wildlife

Around 600 species of birds, 1,800 species of butterflies and skippers, and excellent mammal fauna including Brazilian tapir and seven species of primates including the endemic white-whiskered spider monkey and red-nosed bearded saki. The untouched forest supports exciting reptile and amphibian species, including huge green anaconda and rainbow boa) and an endemic poison dart frog, but more regularly seen are spectacled and dwarf caiman and yellow spotted river turtles.

Optional Activities

Spend an evening at the hide overlooking the tapir clay lick where tapirs and white-lipped peccaries come to feed on the minerals in the clay.

Route Map

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Cristalino Jungle Lodge: -9.597340, -55.931433
Santuario do Caraca : -20.097499, -43.488319
Hotel Pantanal Norte: -17.364610, -56.774858
Fazenda San Francisco: -20.086265, -56.614576
Pouso Alegre Lodge: -16.503098, -56.745465

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

Fly from London direct to Sao Paulo on British Airways or TAM. Flights are also available on TAP via Lisbon, Iberia via Madrid, and KLM via Amsterdam.

Best Visited:

January to January

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

3 jaguars!! on two separate days. On the first sightings, guide driver and self sat in the boat from 12.35 till 6am watching Geoff [the jaguar] and his sister Estelle. On the second, two days later, I was able to sit on the opposite bank with my tripod and got perfectly steady film.

Mrs D B - Dundee