Pantanal help please
My friend and I are in need of some advice please.
We are hoping to book Pantanal for next aug/ sept/oct. We are keen to see cats, big and small, armadillos and anteaters as well as the usual pantanal wildlife. Last time i visited was in the north in 2010.
We have been looking at a combination of North and south:
South dates are Sept/Oct:
Baia Das Pedras 20/21 – armadillos
Barranco Alto 22/23/24/25- all sorts of stuff
Pousada Aguape 26/27/28 or san francisco farm or a combination of the two. Reading reviews I see people saw a ton of anteaters & armadillos at aguape and obviously san fran has a rep for ocelots.
Pouso Alegre 29/30/1 -tapir, anteaters
Porto Jofre Lodge 2/3/4/5/6- jaguars.
but it seems that Porto jofre lodge is full for the dates we want. For the north I was hoping to use the guide I used before but it is proving very difficult to get responses in good time.
We have looked also at an all inclusive package with another company that uses Pantanal Jaguar Camp. Again, communication is proving difficult and their quote is more than using the guide I used before and booking Porto jofre lodge.
Using the guide I used before means we’d have to avoid south wild camps in the north.
Does anyone here have any suggestions for jaguar viewing in either north or south?
Our own research is that san francisco farm and barranco alto have both delivered in the past but this seems more luck of the draw. We have also read that the Rio Miranda in the south is the best place to find jaguar. Has anyone here had any experience of this area?
Or would we be just crazy to miss out port jofre?
Aguape has somewhat habituated ocelot. In their case it was a bit of a lucky accident, with the ocelot originally being attracted by what’s left when fishermen have cleaned fish. This does now mean that when one of the guides pretends to do so at one of their fish cleaning stations there’s a pretty good chance that an ocelot will appear (early evening). At the time (2015) they weren’t feeding them all the time, just occasionally. Aguape was also very good for giant anteater (but only at night for us), armadillos, some very tame birds (due to feeding stations). It seemed more of a general holiday place rather than one specializing in wildlife, but there’s certainly enough there for a couple of nights’ stay. We did have jaguar at Barranco Alto but that was definitely very lucky and rather unusual. Nothing compared to Porto Jofre. We didn’t visit any other place for jaguar so I don’t have anything else to compare it with.
There’s a trip report I wrote at the time on Birdforum (let me know if you need a link), and I’m just uploading some pictures from that trip to my gallery which might interest you.
In the Northern Pantanal I used Eduardo from Jaguar Echolodge, email: email@example.com
On 2 consecutive days (out of the 5-6 I was there) we took trips down to the river starting early morning. This would be your early morning drive through the transpantaneira, where you can see some cool stuff along the way. We saw neotropical otter, 2-3 kinds of deer, an ocelot (during the day! But a bit far), and other stuff on that stretch on the way to the river. Then on the river we split into 2 groups, and both groups had extremely good sightings of different jaguars. My group had 1 younger individual which stuck around for over half an hour and let us get very close with the boat, until another boat joined, when it got irritated and left. The 2nd group had a mother with 2 sub-adult cubs or something like that. They went in and out of the water, and they had spectacular views as well. The point is that I don’t think it’s necessary to stay at Puerto Joffre. In fact, I recall hearing it’s overpriced and unnecessary.
There are also jaguars along the transpantaneira which you can spotlight at night. We saw a tapir on 2 consecutive nights on the road from the Jaguar Echolodge towards the abandoned research station and all the way up to the gate of whatever private reserve or farm is there.
Just make sure that you emphasize to Eduardo that you want a night drive and pre-dawn drive every day while yo’re there. The only downside of this place for me was that after 3-4 days the “spotlight was broken” and they “didn’t manage to get a new one from Pocone”… so at least 1 night drive and 2 pre-dawn drives were cancelled. But other than that we did well for 5 days, so I would highly recommend. Of course this was 8 years ago 🙁
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Hotel Pantanal Norte has boat trips on the river, where you are almost sure to see Jaguar and Giant River Otter, even if you just do am and pm trips on the same day. The hotel may be able to reserve boats for you even if the accommodation is booked.
If you spend two nights at Santa Theresa just south of Pousa Alegre you’d be very unlucky not to see Ocelot. They have a hide and bait the Ocelot in at night.
Hope you see lots!