Day 1 Depart UK
- Early morning arrival at Sao Paulo International Airport, in time take a connecting flight to Campo Grande. On arrival, we drive we drive 193 kilometres eastwards on a paved road to Pousada Aguape. Surrounded by rich wetland vegetation, open pastures and gallery forest, the lodge grounds are perfect for spotting birds, and occasionally mammals – such as armadillo, crab-eating fox and capybara.
- Accommodation: Pousada Aguape, Miranda Pantanal, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We spend a full exploring Pousada Aguape, searching for mammals, birding and enjoying nature photography. We plan to go on several wildlife safaris, including some night drives, to improve our chances of seeing and photographing as many mammals as possible. Birding will keep us busy at all times, and we should have excellent chances of seeing the biggest bird in the Americas, the greater rhea.
- In the morning we head out around the lodge in search of more wildlife and birds on foot and from our four-wheel-drive safari vehicle. We return to the lodge for lunch and mid afternoon we leave the pousada and drive back to Campo Grande airport where we overnight.
- Accommodation: Hotel at Campo Grande Airport, 1-night on full board basis
- Leaving early this morning, we catch a flight to Cuiabá, where we drive to Serra Das Araras. This area is a particularly bountiful birding site, so our plan is to make good use of the time spent here, looking for such wonderful birds as yellow-tufted woodpecker, red-and-green macaw, plumbeous kite, lettered araçari, Couvier’s toucan, rufous nightjar, black-throated antbird and great antshrike to name but a few.
- Accommodation: Serra das Araras, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Our main goal while at Serra das Araras is to enjoy watching and photographing one of the most spectacular birds of prey on Earth: the harpy eagle. Miguel Castelino, who designed this tour for us, first discovered a nest of this mighty raptor here some years ago. The resident pair doesn’t breed every year, but the young stay around and are still being fed for over a year, so there are good chances to see either new born or fully grown young around the nest.
- We spend our last morning birding at Serra Das Araras, then drive to the Pantanal, where we expect to arrive in the afternoon.
- Accommodation: North Pantanal, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We spend the day exploring this northernmost section of the Pantanal, which is drier and quite different in terms of wildlife to the southern section. We expect to find a wide variety of localised birds here, including for instance red-legged seriema, chestnut-bellied guan, sungrebe, sunbittern, long-tailed ground-dove and red-winged tinamou. Mammals are quite widespread in the Pantanal and – given the open savanna-like vegetation of this particular area – species like Brazilian tapir, white-lipped peccary and marsh deer are easier to spot here than further to the south.
- We wake early this morning, to the sounds of birds and black-and-gold howler-monkeys roaring in the distance, and go for a pre-breakfast birding walk in the surroundings of the lodge. After breakfast we set off and drive south along the Transpantaneira to Porto Jofre, where we spend the following four nights. We’ll make several birding and photo stops as we drive, and also enjoy the Pantanal’s vibrant wildlife. We expect to arrive at our lodge well after dark, spotlighting our way in for owls, nightjars, Ocelot and a number of other crepuscular and nocturnal animals.
- Accommodation: Porto Jofre, 3-nights on full board basis.
- We spend two full days exploring the area around Porto Jofre at the southern end of the Transpantaneira, searching for mammals, birding and enjoying local wildlife. Our main goal here is to look for jaguars, and this is the main reason why we spending quite a lot of time in this particular spot. From our comfortable lodge in Porto Jofre we have a chance to make at least four half-day boat trips on the Cuiabá River, and so get to some isolated areas where jaguar sightings are frequent. The boat tours also offer excellent chances to see other mammals and, of course, a diverse range of colourful birds. We also have an excellent opportunity to spot giant otter, and will see capybaras regularly on the riverbanks.
- Leaving Porto Jofre after breakfast, we drive all the way back along the Transpantaneira to Cuiabá, bidding farewell to the Pantanal. On the way out, we’ll still have several chances to stop and look for birds and mammals that we might have missed over the previous days. On arrival in Cuiabá, we check into our hotel for the night, and take a short break before enjoying a farewell dinner in town..
- Accommodation: Cuiabá, 1-night on full board basis.
- We leave the hotel after breakfast and drive to Cuiabá International Airport to check in for a flight to Sao Paulo, where we connect with a flight back to London.
Day 14 Arrive UK
Iguazú Extension extension
- A morning flight via Sao Paulo takes us south, to the Brazil-Argentina border and the renowned Iguaçu (or Iguazú in Spanish) Falls, perhaps the most exciting waterfall in the world.
- Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, consists of the humid subtropical forest around the falls that offers superb birdwatching. Tanagers, antbirds, toucans, manakins, parrots, motmots, trogons and tyrant flycatchers are all present here. A series of walkways leads right to edge of the Falls, and in the early evening we visit the most impressive waterfall of all: the so-called Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat), a perfect spot to watch thousands of dusky swifts diving through the foaming spray as the sun goes down.
- We stay in a hotel on the Argentinian side, close to the falls, with excellent birdwatching in its grounds. During our stay we also go birding nearby in the near-pristine forests of Urugua-í Provincial Park, where the forest is at a somewhat higher altitude. Different species are found here, including some endemics and endangered birds.
- Accommodation: Iguazú Falls, 3-nights on full board basis.
- This morning we visit the falls from the Brazilian side before transferring to the airport for our flight home via Rio de Janeiro.
Day 17 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in hotels and lodges with all rooms en suite.
All main meals are included.
Our tour to Brazil brings us into contact with abundant, exotic bird species, too many to list here, but worth noting is the possibility of seeing the harpy eagle in its remote breeding area and the Americas biggest bird, the greater rhea.
- Rufous-winged antshrike
- Harpy eagle
- Hyacinth macaw
- Campo oriole
Amongst the many species commonly seen on this tour, it is worth mentioning giant anteater, marsh deer, yellow armadillo, herds of capybara and ocelot.
- Giant otter
- Giant anteater
- Maned wolf
The habitats of southern Brazil is diverse – from the fabulous Pantanal wetlands, seasonally the largest wetland in the world, to the dry cerrado scrub.
Walks will be mostly easy and taken at a slow pace, covering no more than five kilometres a day. A few trails can be rocky and uneven in places.
We will make at least four half day boat trips into the heart of the Pantanal, offering excellent opportunities to get close to birds and mammals, and maximising our chances of seeing the elusive jaguar.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Sao Paulo – London, and domestic flights Sao Paulo – Campo Grande / Cuiaba – Sao Paulo.
Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.