Wildlife of the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil

Travel to the Pantanal from the comfort of your own home with these recent wildlife photos we captured in the world’s largest wetlands.

Map of the Pantanal in South America

When you think of the Amazon Rainforest in South America, do you picture jaguars, toucans, capybara, macaws, and other exotic wildlife? While it’s true that the Amazon Rainforest is home to more species than any other ecosystem, it’s extraordinarily difficult to spot much wildlife because the dark, dense foliage and leaf litter provides endless hiding spots.

So where can you spot these breathtaking creatures? Just next door, in the Pantanal!

 

What is the Pantanal?

The Pantanal is a region containing the world’s largest tropical wetland and the world’s largest flooded grasslands. It is located mostly within Brazil, but parts of it do extend into Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area around 70,000 square miles (195,000 square kilometers), about the size of the state of Washington. This precious environment is recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

When should I go?

Each year from November to April, the Pantanal basin floods with rainwater, creating a super highway for the millions of caiman who call the interior of Brazil home. In addition, piranha, giant river otters, and green anaconda thrive, was well as semiaquatic mammals such as capybara and tapir.

As the water recedes and the landscape becomes drier (May to October), you can see plenty of wildlife gathering at local waterholes and riverbanks, including the South American jaguar. The Pantanal is home to other fascinating mammals like the giant anteater, the lesser anteater (southern tamandua), capuchin monkeys, agouti, coatis, and crab-eating foxes. In addition, these wetlands are home to almost 500 species of birds, including the hyacinth macaw, toucans, kingfishers, jabiru storks, anhingas, spoonbills, greater rheas, curassows, and more.

Our favorite time to visit is in October, where you can still see jaguars along the Cuiaba River near Porto Joffre, but the occasional drizzle takes the edge off of the heat and the crowds of tourists have departed.

 

How do you get to the Pantanal?

The easiest way is to fly into nearby Cuiaba’s Marechal Rondon International Airport from Sao Paulo (2-hour flight). From there you can be in the Pantanal in a one-hour drive!

Small group tours to the Pantanal

Stay tuned for news of our upcoming Wildlife Wonders of South America journey, which will feature the Pantanal. In addition we’ll visit Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia to see southern right whales, penguins, elephant seals & more, and we’ll also spend time in the cloud forest outside Mindo, Ecuador, famous for its birds! Or perhaps you’re looking for a private tour of the Pantanal. Email us and we can help you put together a plan with a fantastic local guide.

In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of the Pantanal from late 2020, where we encountered 7 jaguars (over 3 days and 11 sightings), 7 tapir, about a million capybara, and 108 species of birds!

Want to go to the Pantanal with us?

We’re planning a 2023 Wildlife Wonders of South American journey that includes the Pantanal. Click the button below to be notified when registration is open for that adventure!

Small group tours to the Pantanal

Stay tuned for news of our upcoming Wildlife Wonders of South America journey, which will feature the Pantanal. In addition we’ll visit Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia to see southern right whales, penguins, elephant seals & more, and we’ll also spend time in the cloud forest outside Mindo, Ecuador, famous for its birds! Or perhaps you’re looking for a private tour of the Pantanal. Email us and we can help you put together a plan with a fantastic local guide.

In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of the Pantanal from late 2020, where we encountered 7 jaguars (over 3 days and 11 sightings), 7 tapir, about a million capybara, and 108 species of birds!

Want to go to the Pantanal with us?

We’re planning a 2023 Wildlife Wonders of South American journey that includes the Pantanal. Click the button below to be notified when registration is open for that adventure!

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