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Place Category: Trip Reports
I’ve visited Brazil six times. In October 2006 I spent six days in the western Amazon, at the Palmari Lodge, a four hour boat trip along the Amazon from Leticia, Colombia. See here for the trip report. In August 2007 I returned for two and a half weeks and visited Rio Cristalino (the Central Amazon), the Pantanal and the state of Minas Gerais and onto Espirito Santo. See here for the trip report. In November 2009 I went to Iguazu (for work) and then to the north of Rio de Janeiro to see Golden Lion Tamarins (see Parana and Rio de Janeiro sections lower down this page).
In August 2013 I spent 2.5 weeks in the Atlantic Rainforest and Southern Pantanal. See here for the trip report. And in June 2017 I took a 2 week cruise through the Amazon basin, perhaps the best trip of my life, followed by three days around Manaus. And in March 2018 I spent a week in search of Black and Black-faced Lion Tamarins.
Amazon Cruise (out of Manaus)
In June 2017 I spent two weeks cruising the Amazon, on a trip I organised with Fiona Reid. This was a mega expedition and we had an exceptional 79 species! Little Rufous Mouse-Opossum, Gray Four-eyed Opossum, Southern Opossum, Western Woolly Opossum, Southern Two-toed Sloth, Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Guianan Squirrel, Yellow-throated Squirrel, Neotropical Pygmy Squirrel, Bicolored Arboreal Rice Rat, White-footed Climbing Mouse, Splendid Climbing Mouse, Black Rat, Prehensile-tailed (Brazilian) Porcupine, Black-tailed Hairy Dwarf Porcupine, Red-rumped Agouti, Rio Negro Brush-tailed Rat, Spiny rat species (Proechimys cf. brevicauda), Common Spiny Tree Rat, Amazon Bamboo Rat,
Giant Tree Rat, Red-nosed Tree Rat, Giant Tree Rat, Red-nosed Tree Rat, Kinkajou, Proboscis Bat, Frosted White-lined Bat, Amazonian White-lined Bat, Lesser White-lined Bat, Pallid-winged Dog-like Bat, Greater Dog-like Bat, Northern Ghost Bat, Lesser Fishing Bat, Greater Fishing Bat, Niceforo’s Bat, White-throated Round-eared Bat,
Pied Bare-faced Tamarin, Gold-and-white Marmoset, Santarem Marmoset, Maues Marmoset, Satere Marmoset, Common Squirrel Monkey, Bare-eared Squirrel Monkey, Humboldt’s White-fronted Capuchin, Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin, Brown Tufted Capuchin, Large-headed Capuchin, Baptista Lake Titi, Ashy-grey Titi, Hoffmanns’ Titi, Gray’s Bald-faced Monk Saki, Golden-faced Saki, Black Uakari, Guianan Red Howler Monkey, Venezuelan Red Howler Monkey, Amazon Black Howler Monkey, Amazon River Dolphin (Boto) and Tucuxi.
During a day trip to the Cock of the Rock caves at Presidente Figueiredo we saw Greater Spear-nosed Bats, Lesser Dog-like Bats, Common Vampire Bats, Rusty Moustached Bats and Silver-haired Myotis.
Two nights here in 2017 were good for bats, with Frosted White-lined Bat, Chestnut Sac-winged Bat, Little Big-eared Bat, Seba’s Short-tailed Bat, Tilda Yellow-shouldered Bat, Great Fruit-eating Bat, Dark Fruit-eating Bat, Andersen’s Fruit-eating Bat, Dwarf Fruit Eating Bat, Brown Fruit-eating Bat, Argentine Brown Bat and Riparian Myotis.
Little Big-eared Bat, Micronycteris megalotis. Photo Jose Gabriel Martinez.
We also saw a Bare-tailed Woolly Opossum, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and there were Noisy (Spix’s) Night Monkeys in the hotel gardens.
I spent five nights here in October 2006 and saw Boto, Tucuxi, Common Squirrel Monkey, Black-chested Moustached Tamarin, Saddleback Tamarin, Kinkajou, Black Agouti, Amazon Dwarf Squirrel, Nancy Ma’s Night Monkey, Brazilian Porcupine, Brown-Tufted Capuchin, Red Howler, Coppery Titi, Woolly Monkey, Monk Saki, Giant Otter, Collared Peccary, Short-Eared Dog. Palmari is a great spot. A more basic experience than some of the more luxurious lodges in the Amazon but an interesting set of species. There are not a many mammals close to the lodge and far the best way to see the more interesting animals is to take a overnight hike into the forest with one of the excellent guides (ideally for several nights).
I was here for two nights in August 2013 and saw Yellow-breasted Capuchin, Weid’s Marmoset, Paca and Crab-eating Fox.
I spent two nights here in August 2013 and found Golden-headed Lion Tamarin, Coastal Black-handed Titi, Weid’s Marmoset, Crab-eating Fox and Guiana Dolphin.
Linhares Vale Biological Reserve
During a two night stay in August 2013 we saw Robust-tufted Capuchin, Geoffroy’s Marmoset, Common South-Eastern Opposum, Coatis, Fringe-lipped and Geoffroy’s Hairy-legged Bats and Masked Titis (heard).
Santa Maria Northern Muriqui Reserve
I spent less than a day here in August 2007 and saw Maned Sloth, Northern Muriqui, Brown Howler, Guianan Squirrel, Buffy-headed Marmoset. A small patch of remnant forest that is well worth a visit. Maned Sloths are easy to see, while the research staff are very knowledgeable about the local fauna. It is possible to overnight here but unfortunately I didn’t know until I arrived.
Mato Grosso Do Sul
Baia Das Pedras
Four nights here in August 2013 got me Giant Armadillo, Southern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Six-banded Armadillo, White-lipped Peccary, Feral Pig, Tapir, Coati, Marsh Deer, Pampas Deer, Red Brocket, Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Raccoon, Puma (heard), Capybara and Azara’s Agouti. A beautiful place and – because of the Giant Armadillo research – the best chance in the world to see the awesome Priodontes maximus! Tayra are also quite common here but I missed them.
A three night stay here in August 2007 produced Azara’s Night Monkey (the infulatus sub sp) , White-Whiskered Spider Monkey, White-Nosed Bearded Saki, Red-Handed Howler, Dusky Titi, Brown-Tufted Capuchin, Neotropical River Otter, Brazilian Tapir, Lesser White-lined Bat, Capybara, Paca, Grey Brocket Deer. A comfortable lodge, with some great guides and staff, in a pristine section of Amazonian forest. Wildlife seems largely undisturbed and probably at near natural levels of abundance. A great place to look for Tapirs and Pacas as well as some good primate species.
In August 2007 I spent a week driving the Transpantaneira Road from Cuiaba to Porto Jofre and saw a lot of mammals: Nine-banded Armadillo, Grey Four-Eyed Opossum, Giant Anteater, Southern Tamandua, Brazilian Tapir, Crab-Eating Fox, Crab-Eating Raccoon, Giant Otter, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Jaguar, Black-tailed (Pantanal) Marmoset, Black Howler, Black-Striped Capuchin, South American Coati, Azara’s Agouti, Forest Rabbit, Capybara, Marsh Deer, Red Brocket Deer, Grey Brocket Deer, Long-nosed Bat, Greater Fishing Bat, Lesser Fishing Bat, Pallas’s Mastiff Bat, Flat-faced Fruit-eating Bat, Inca Broad-nosed Bat. I can’t imagine wildlife watching in the neotropics gets much better than the Pantanal. There are many ecolodges along the 130km stretch of road than penetrates the Pantanal south of Cuiaba which vary in price and luxury. So far as I could tell there are more animals (both in abundance and diversity) along the first 40 kms. But the end of the road is an altogether better wilderness experience and it’s the best area for Jaguars and Tapirs. Pousada Jaguar about 90km down the road seems a particularly good spot for cats.
Canastra National Park
I spent two nights here in August 2007 and saw Giant Anteater, Maned Wolf, Pampas Deer, Black-tufted Marmoset. A beautiful park with abundant Giant Anteaters and also a good chance of seeing a Maned Wolves.
I also spent two nights here in August 2007 and we had Black-fronted Titi, Black-tufted Marmoset, Brazilian Guinea Pig, Guianan Squirrel, Black Myotis, Brazilian Free-tailed Bat, Maned Wolf. An interesting place. I’d avoid the weekends; it was packed on a Saturday night. But it’s a good place to see Masked Titi Monkeys and a few other things. Plus you get to see Maned Wolves close up when they come to feed from the front patio every night.
Two nights here in August 2007 found South-Eastern Common Opossum, Brown Howler, Black-tufted Capuchin, Buffy-headed Marmoset, Northern Muriqui, Red-Rumped Agouti, Seba’s Short-tailed Fruit Bat. A small patch of rainforest that holds an excellent range of primates and where Muriquis are almost guaranteed. Definitely worth a visit.
I stopped in here briefly in August 2007, to see Geoffrey’s Marmosets and Common Long-tongued Bats. I guess you’d need to speak to one of the locals, or a guide, to arrange access to this private small holding where a habituated troop of introduced Geoffroy’s Marmosets are easy to see. A detailed report is here.
I visited Iguazu Falls during a work trip in November 2009. The falls are spectacular enough and are set in a nice national park. But they draw a million visitors a year so they are crowded and heavily regulated. South American Coatis are common though I only saw a few on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. Brazilian Cavies are very common around the shops and restaurants at the Argentinian entrance and I also saw some Brown Capuchins here (apparently these are less common). You are unable to enter the park at night unless you are staying at one of the two fancy hotels inside.
Apparently Red and sometimes Pygmy Brocket Deer (rare and restricted to the area where the Paraguay/Argentina/Brazil broders meet) are seen inside the park, usually when people are returning to the hotel from dinner in town. If you were staying in one of the hotels then, although in principle you aren’t supposed to walk at night along any trails, I suspect no one would be there to stop you, so that would be worth a shot. I used Alex Bassi as a local guide: he’s a good naturalist and a nice guy and knows the park well, though he didn’t have any specific spots to look for Pygmy Brocket Deer which I half hoped I might try for.
Three nights on this island paradise in 2018 produced Black-faced Lion Tamarins, Guianan Dolphins and a White-eared Opossum.
Rio de Janeiro State
Rio De Janeiro
The Botanical Gardens and the Parque Nacional da Tijuaca in the middle of town are both good places to look for Brown Capuchins and the feral Common Marmosets. Alcides Maia is a local guide who knows the area and its birds and mammals well and was very helpful. No hesitation in recommending him.
Poço das Antas Biological Reserve
Poço das Antas Biological Reserve is a network of Atlantic Rainforest fragments that is home to a, so far, successful project to reintroduce Golden Lion Tamarins. The project works with local landowners to restore the forest and connect the fragments. In 1983 only 150 tamarins remained in the wild. The reintroduction and habitat restoration work has seen the population swell to 1500. You can visit the centre and arrange to see some tamarins, which are easy to find because a biologist will take you to one of the families currently radio collared. Porcupines – I think the Orange-spined Dwarf Hairy Porcupine – are also quite common around the project office I was told, though I couldn’t see one. They might be easier to see when the papayas are in fruit. Common Marmosets (introduced) are usually hanging out with the tamarins.
It can be done as a day trip from Rio but I stayed overnight in the basic but comfortable Fazenda Bom Retiro homestead which has its own tamarins (contact Luis Nelson, the owner there). Despite an evening followed by a night walk in the Bom Retiro rainforest I couldn’t find any mammals. But there are animals around including Tayras. if you are on a diet then don’t go there: the food was great and came in industrial quantities.
I arranged the visit – as I did my 2007 trip to Brazil – with the excellent Brazil Aventuras who organized it all at short notice and didn’t worry about my paying until I got back to France. Nice to see such trust still exists in Brazil. Contact Homero there. The tamarin project only takes one group a day (and one person can count as a group) so you need to book in advance. The costs of visiting includes a fairly substantial donation to the project. (Here’s a 2016 update on visiting the reserve).
Sao Paolo State
During two nights in August 2013 I saw Southern Muriqui, Black-tufted Capuchin, Brown Howler, Black-fronted Titi (heard), Jaguarundi, Tayra, White-eared Opposum. A great slab of Atlantic Rainforest which comes with fabulous accomodation, excellent food and the peace and freedom to look for stuff without anyone else to bother you.
I stopped here for a couple of hours in August 2013. I was late arriving here which is probably why I missed the Buffy-tufted Marmosets and Black-fronted Titis I had come to see. I did see a Guianan Squirrel. I saw the marmosets when I returned in early one morning in 2018.
In 2018 I spent a successful morning at Black Lion Tamarin project near Morro do Diabo National Park.