Jaguars & Raptors of the Pantanal    *alt*

14 days, from £1445
The Travelling Naturalist
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From the fabulous Pantanal wetlands to the dry Cerrado, we visit some of the best wildlife areas in South America, for some of the finest birdwatching in the world, and a superb array of mammals, from giant otters to jaguars. Our local guides have also discovered a regular spot for harpy eagles and we hope to see them in their remote breeding area.

What's included
All prices are per person and include:
* Services of the naturalist leader
* Flights
* Transfers
* Accommodation
* All meals
* Guided activities


 Day 1 Depart UK

 Day 2 Arrive Sao Paulo and fly onwards to Campo Grande

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.

 Day 3 Birding and wildlife viewing around Pousada Aguape

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.

 Day 4 Morning at Pousada Aguape, afternoon drive to Campo Grande

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

 Days 5-6 Fly to Cuiab' and transfer to Serra das Araras

Leaving early this morning, we catch a flight to Cuiaba, 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 aracari, 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.

 Day 6 Photographing harpy eagles

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.

 Day 7 Birding at Serra Das Arras, drive to the Pantanal

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.

 Day 8 Explore the birdlife and wildlife of the Northern Pantanal

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.

 Day 9 Early morning birding, drive to Porto Jofre

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.

 Days 10-11 Boat trips on Cuiab' River to search for jaguar

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 Cuiaba 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.

 Day 12 Transfer to Cuiab'

Leaving Porto Jofre after breakfast, we drive all the way back along the Transpantaneira to Cuiaba, 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 Cuiaba, we check into our hotel for the night, and take a short break before enjoying a farewell dinner in town..
Accommodation: Cuiaba, 1-night on full board basis.

 Day 13 Depart Cuiab' for the UK

We leave the hotel after breakfast and drive to Cuiaba International Airport to check in for a flight to Sao Paulo, where we connect with a flight back to London.

 Day 14 Arrive UK