Best time of year for Pantanal? Or El Palmar in Argentina? Is June ok?
One dilemma we all face is the question of when do we make a trip to a far away place – what is the best time of year? In many cases there is a compromise between “best wildlife sightings” and “most pleasant weather”. For example, in a lot of places that I have gone, the height of the dry season forces animals to concentrate near water supplies – but it can often be incredibly hot (over 100F, 40C) and dusty. Another constraint is what when you can get away from other obligations – most of don’t do wildlife viewing full time.
So, I always ask the local experts, guides, or people arranging the trip.
But there is an undeniable conflict of interest in the tradeoffs. That occurs for my own evaluation – if I can only get away at time X, or if I recall the last time I was in 40C and above weather in an open vehicle, then I get optimistic about time X being a good compromise, because I want to do the trip. Similarly, if the outfitter or guide says “well, that isn’t the peak period, but it should be good” is that because their desire to book the business makes them optimistic. It’s complicated by the fact that wildlife viewing is random, so you can have bad luck in even the “best” times and good luck in “bad” times of year.
A third variable for most people is that organized group trips are only done at specific times, but I prefer a private trip.
With that preamble, I am looking into a trip to the Pantanal for 2024. I will go for Jaguar in Porto Jofre, and there are bunch of other places in the Northern Pantanal that are accessed by road from Cuiaba (Taiama – another place to take a boat trip for Jaguar and other animals, Pouse Alegra, Piuval, Bom Jardin…). I would also want to go to Emas National park in the savanna, and to Southern Pantanal – like Fazenda San Francisco and other places that are best accessed by road from Campo Grande.
June is the timing that is best for me. A lot of people say August-September is better but very hot and very dry as per the above. My inquires with outfitters/guides say that June ought to be very good.
Goals are to see as many of the cats and dogs as possible (Jaguar, Ocelot, Pampas Cat, Jaguarundi, Geoffrey’s cat), and the dogs (Maned Wolf, Hoary Fox, Crab Eating Fox, maybe Bush Dog), but I am also interested in the other charismatic animals – Giant Anteater and Armadillo, Caiman, Anaconda, Giant Otter, Macaw etc).
I might want to add on a trip to El Palmar in Argentina which is supposed to be good for Geoffrey’s Cat, and other things. Same question – is June good?
What is the experience of people here? Is June good? Any other specific recommendations on places to visit in these general areas?
I cannot comment on suitability for cats, but in El Palmar and around, you don’t have to worry so much about hot weather. I was directly in El Palmar in October and that was just full bloom spring and maximally pleasant. July in Esteros del Ibera was almost cold. I was also around Buenos Aires in all sorts of seasons, including summer, and it’s generally quite nice. The climate of this region is very different from Pantanal (where I haven’t been yet but have heard a lot about the climate).
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June will be ok for Porto Jofre. I can’t speak for the other areas.