JAGUARS OF THE PANTANAL PHOTO TOUR
JAGUARS OF THE PANTANAL PHOTO TOUR
Ethical Jaguar Photo Tour
Photograph jaguars from the river and the land
PHOTOGRAPH JAGUARS ALONG THE RIVERS OF THE NORTHERN PANTANAL
Why we love this jaguar safari
We have created a jaguar photo tour for you that is unique, while still putting you into the best position to encounter jaguars and make award-winning images. This is why we came up with our two location approach. The northern and southern Pantanal both have different opportunities for jaguars.
In the northern Pantanal, one of the highest density of jaguars in the world, we will utilize one large boat to find jaguars as they rest along the colder Cuiaba River. This is also where we have our best chances of seeing jaguars hunting caimans or capybara. Since 2021 jaguar cubs have even been seen.
In the southern Pantanal, your encounters with the cats will be from safari style vehicles. Compared to the northern Pantanal, these encounters will be more intimate as we will have the cats to ourselves most of the time. This means you will get unique photographs as we can follow the jaguars on land, and will remember those encounters with great fondness.
Our accommodations are the highest end options available in both locations. In the southern Pantanal, we will in fact have the entire beautiful Baiazinha Lodge at the Caiman Ecological Refuge to ourselves. It is surrounded by a beautiful lagoon where jaguars can sometimes even be seen.
Jaguars of the Pantanal photo tour testimonials
"Cat Expeditions provides superior big and small cat viewing travel opportunities, with excellent travel logistics and guiding, and superb wildlife viewing and photography moments. Sebastian (and Rachel!) are outstanding people, friends, conservationists, guides and conversationalists with high ethics and great personalities!"
- Lisa Antell
Target wild cats during our jaguar photo tour
JAGUAR (Panthera onca)
The Jaguar is the main target wild cat species for our Jaguar photo tour. Despite their very large distribution, being found from southern Arizona to northern Argentina, these cats are very elusive and seldom seen. The exception to this is in the world’s largest wetland, the Pantanal of Brazil. During the span of our tour we have seen as many as twenty-one different individual jaguars, including cubs.
Other possible wild cats during our safari
PUMA (Puma concolor)
Though there are mountain lions in the area of our jaguar photo tour, they are incredibly shy and elusive due to the fact that their bigger cousins can out-muscle them. Neither of our guides have ever seen a puma in this part of Brazil. If you want to reliably see pumas, please check out our pumas of Patagonia tour where their rating is easy!
OCELOT (Leopardus pardalis)
MARGAY (Leopardus wiedii)
SOUTHERN ONCILLA (Leopardus guttulus)
PAMPAS CAT (Leopardus colocola)
The pampas cat is another small cat found in the Pantanal. It is currently undergoing scientific re-classification and the subspecies found in the Pantanal, which looks very different from the other six subspecies may very well be classified as its own species soon, the Pantanal cat (Leopardus braccatus). Our best, though very low, chances of seeing this cat is in the southern Pantanal.
GEOFFROY'S CAT (Leopardus geoffroyi)
Geoffroy’s cats are often associated with water, where they hunt frogs and small passerine birds. They are found in the Pantanal, being more present in the southern Pantanal, but they remain very elusive there. This is one of the few species in South America that shows melanism, a gene expression that makes the cat appear all black. Your guide has seen one of these individuals before.
JAGUARUNDI (Herpailurus yagouaroundi)
Despite sharing much of its common name with our target wild cat species for this trip, this small cat is not closely related to the jaguar. Jaguarundi’s instead are most closely related to the puma. They are one of the most unique looking cats with their long, weasel-like body. It is also unique in its fur, being uniform in color, rather than many of the other spotted cats in the area.
You are in good hands, we are Jaguar experts
Our jaguar photo tour has been organized to both maximize your opportunities to see jaguars while enjoying intimate encounters with America’s largest cat. The Pantanal of Brazil is by far the best place in the world to see jaguars and we do so reliably on our trips. To create encounters that are meaningful and informative we have selected specific local guides and international guide and wild cat expert Sebastian Kennerknecht.
Sebastian has traveled to the Pantanal extensively having spent over three thousand hours in jaguar habitat. He knows the individual jaguars of both the northern and southern Pantanal well, including their habits. Sebastian is a multi-award-winning photographer and will help you with your photography needs. He also has a degree in behavioral ecology which allows him to predict what the animals will do next.
In the southern Pantanal we are partnering with Onçasafari to combine our guiding expertise. Onçasafari has been studying the jaguars, including doing telemetry tracking, with the cats of Refugio Caiman for over a decade. They know the home ranges and hunting patterns of the cats well, increasing our chances of having fantastic land-based encounters with the jaguars.
As we always strive for the most ethical standards, our boat driver in the northern Pantanal belongs to, a group of guides that have committed themselves to maintaining certain ethical standards, like keeping a minimum distance from the jaguars.
Fly into Cuiabá in the northern Pantanal of Brazil. You will be met by a cat expeditions representative at the airport. From there we will board a 45 minute charter flight to Porto Jofre. We settle into the hotel and for those interested, we will go on our first boat excursion to look for jaguars. Dinner back at the hotel.
Extensive morning and evening boat excursions to look for jaguars on the Cuiabá and Piquirí Rivers. We will be utilizing one large boat, with an entire row per participant. Cold drinks are served on the boat as well. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner back at the hotel.
Morning boat ride to look for jaguars. Early lunch at the hotel. Board an eighty minute charter flight to the southern Pantanal. Settle into our private lodge. Afternoon jaguar excursion from safari vehicle. Dinner back at the lodge.
Morning and afternoon safari car excursions to search for and photograph jaguars on the private Refúgio Ecológico Caiman ranch. We will utilize two cars, so each participant can get a row to themselves. Sightings here are extremely intimate. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are back at the lodge.
Have a morning safari on the way to our charter flight, hoping to see birds like the vulnerable Hyacinth macaw. Take charter flight from Refúgio Ecológico Caiman to Campo Grande airport, from which you will catch your onward flights.
Itinerary at a glance
8 CAR EXCURSIONS
Jaguars in the vast Pantanal itinerary
This jaguar photo tour itinerary was designed to give you the best opportunity to experience wild jaguars in the beautiful wetland Pantanal of western Brazil. Unlike other jaguar safaris, you get to experience these top predators from both a boat, as well as a safari-style car.
To maximize our time on the ground, we have opted for chartering in-country flights between our international arrival airport of Cuiabá, Refúgio Ecológico Caiman, and Campo Grande. This saves us a total of thirty-two hours of driving, while getting to visit two very different parts of the Pantanal.
This itinerary is unique in us utilizing vehicles, on top of boats, to encounter jaguars. This leads to more unique photography opportunities since we aren’t just constricted to staying on the river. By being able to move around freely by car, we are able to get unique angles and behaviors of the jaguars, not seen on other itineraries.
Besides providing you the opportunity to see and photograph wild cats, we at Cat Expeditions make your travel experience hassle free. Upon booking, you will be sent a full itinerary that includes what to bring and how to prepare. Once you land in Cuiabá, you can focus on enjoying yourself as all the travel logistics are not only taken care off, but optimized to give you the most time to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the jaguars of the Pantanal.
Hotel Pantanal Norte
Located in the heart of jaguar country, Hotel Pantanal Norte is perfectly situated to launch our jaguar boat excursions. The boat ramps are just a few meters away from the front door of our rooms.
The rooms are simple, favoring tiles to keep the room cold during the Pantanal’s hot summers. Additionally, each room has air-conditioning to make sure you stay comfortable during the nights. Their pool is the perfect way to refresh during our middle of the day breaks.
The fresh meals at Hotel Pantanal Norte reflect the local cuisine. Fish that has been caught from the adjoining Cuiabá River is often served. Vegetarian and vegan options are always available.
Hotel Pantanal Norte has high-speed internet. Laundry service is available at cost to the client.
Baiazinha Lodge, Refúgio Ecológico Caiman
Inspired by the classic ranches of the region, Baiazinha occupies a magical setting at Refúgio Ecológico Caiman. With a deck and a delightful pool, its whole structure is designed to face a beautiful bay that birds and capybaras often visit.
Travelers can also enjoy the scenery from hammocks on the balconies of their rooms or from the glass-walled room. Cozy nights are guaranteed, with air conditioning, heated showers, pure cotton sheets and luxurious pillows.
Baiazinha has high-speed internet, and laundry service is available at a cost to the client.
Conservation impact of our jaguar photo tour
Our jaguar photo tour, like all Cat Expeditions, has conservation impact built into it. In most of the jaguar’s range, including in the Pantanal, the biggest threat to jaguars is being killed by cattle ranchers.
As part of our expedition we will learn about how Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organization, has come up with a simple corralling method that allows jaguars and cattle ranchers to co-exist. Our expedition takes place right next to their demonstration ranch, where we will see the strategy in action.
In the southern Pantanal we will learn about the re-wilding strategies of Onçasafari, who have successfully reintroduced jaguars on their land. Since our expedition is on a private ranch here, we are ensuring the protection of the jaguars since the farmer now earns more money through jaguar ecotourism compared to cattle ranching.
Finally, a percentage of the tour proceeds are donated to Panthera and Onçasafari.
Jaguars of the Pantanal Photo Tour Dates
July 25 - August 03, 2023 (sold out)
July 22 - 31, 2025 (4 spots available)
Jaguars of the Pantanal Photo Tour Pricing
Price per person: $13,000
Single room supplement: $500
The price includes:
- all transportation starting in Cuiabá
- high-end lodging
- meals (excluding alcohol)
- jaguar excursions, using vehicles & boats
- guide services of Sebastian Kennerknecht
- English speaking local guide
- boat driver
- conservation donation to Panthera
- conservation donation to Onçasafari
The price does not include:
- flights to Cuiabá
- flights from Campo Grande