The Pantanal is one of the most impressive areas in Brazil and an essential destination for nature or animal lovers. Often overlooked in favour of the more well-known Amazon, the Pantanal is a far better location to see wildlife as the landscape is much flatter and therefore animals find it less easy to hide. The Pantanal is a key farming area in Brazil, indeed, most of the touristic lodges are also working cattle farms.

The area is also the largest floodplain in the world. During the months of November to January, the Pantanal receives heavy rains which fill the rivers and flood the creeks and many lodges will close during this time. As the waters rescind, the wildlife is easier to spot, and the months from May to October offer the best opportunities to see the bigger wildlife. The big draw in the Pantanal are the jaguars. The Pantanal is the best location in the world to see jaguars and the best time to see them is from June to October although you can see them at other times of the year in certain lodges. After much conservation work, the jaguar is now growing in numbers are there are a high concentration of cats in a few specific areas. Seeing jaguars is a highlight for many visitors to the Pantanal and so it’s highly recommended to plan a holiday to try and include sightings. To see jaguars in the wildlife there are essentially two options, either to stay in a lodge and head out on daily explorations by jeep or small boat, or to stay on a boat and explore the river system. Jaguars are most usually spotted roaming the river banks in search of food, be it capybara or caiman.

Aside from jaguars, the Pantanal offers you the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as tapirs, pumas, ocelots, giant otters, capybaras, caiman, giant anteaters, yellow anteaters, various monkey species, anacondas and a huge variety of bird life. The Pantanal is an important destination for birders as Brazil has a vast number of endemic species which are found here, perhaps the most famous being the Hyacinth Macaw, which a number of lodges have successfully been able to reintroduce. Accessing the Pantanal is done by flying to either Campo Grande in the southern Pantanal or to Cuiaba in the northern Pantanal. From either airport it is then either a light aircraft flight or around a 3-hour drive to reach one on of the many lodges. Most of the lodges are of a mid-range standard, as are the boats, with the exception of one lodge in the south, Caiman Ecological Refuge. If you are visiting the southern Pantanal then the area combines very well with the town of Bonito, a centre for eco-tourism and a favourite with families, where it is possible to snorkel in aquarium-like rivers, visit one of Brazil’s deepest caves and abseil into caverns. The Northern Pantanal combines well with the Chapada dos Guimaraes, which is excellent national park for trekking, whilst Cuiaba offers the only direct flight to Alta Floresta, a gateway to the southern Amazon.


Our favourite luxury hotels

Caiman Ecological Refuge - Wildlife Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Caiman Ecological Refuge – Southern Pantanal

The Caiman Ecological Refuge offers real luxury within the Pantanal amidst an incredible setting by the floodplains which provide a great mix of comfort and fabulous wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s the place to stay in the Pantanal. The main lodge, Casa Caiman, features 18 luxurious, boutique suites, surrounded by extensive gardens and complete with a swimming pool and gym. Guests discover the spectacular surroundings and wildlife during guided daytime and nocturnal jeep safaris, nature walks, horse rides and canoeing trips.

Barra Mansa Lodge - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Barra Mansa Lodge – Southern Pantanal

Strategically positioned in the heart of the Vazante do Castelo, widely known as an area rich in wildlife and beautiful landscapes, Barra Mansa Lodge is one of the premier places to stay in the Pantanal. Just 6 rooms with a maximum capacity of 17 people can be found at the lodge, and all are extremely comfortable. Each features air conditioning, hot showers, fans and mosquito screens. Barra Mansa Lodge has a peaceful atmosphere in an isolated privileged location, offering a special experience in the Pantanal.

Fazenda Barranco Alto - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Fazenda Barranco Alto – Southern Pantanal

Fazenda Barranco Alto is located within a unique ecosystem of stunning waterways, vast floodplains, water-lily and reed lagoons, salty ponds, shady forest glades and rich savannah grasslands. The fazenda is a traditional cattle ranch with four comfortable ensuite guest rooms with air-conditioning and private verandas. The remote location and the limited number of rooms make for a truly intimate Pantanal experience. You will see a wide variety of wildlife and birdlife as well as learning about life on a working farm.

Pousada Rio Mutum - Holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Pousada Rio Mutum – Northern Pantanal

Located in the north of the Pantanal, Pousada Rio Mutum is a charming eco lodge encircled by grassy plains, wide lakes and rolling hills. It’s a magical place to stay whilst on holiday in the Pantanal. There are 22 rooms at the lodge, provided modern amenities such as air conditioning, minibar, private ensuite bathroom and terrace with hammock. The Pantanal is an expansive wetland area that is world renowned for birds, wildlife and flora. The pousada provides guests with a variety of included activities to experience the best of this unique habitat.

Araras Eco-Lodge - Wildlife holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Araras Ecolodge – Northern Pantanal

The Northern Pantanal is a haven for birdwatchers and photographers, and situated in the heart of this beautiful wetland is the outstanding Araras Ecolodge. This comfortable lodge offers the best accommodation in this remote region and guests can enjoy some unforgettable wildlife experiences from this wonderful base. There are a variety of activities on offer, including walks, boat and canoe trips, horse back riding and photo safari’s. There are 19 rooms at and the property has been built in a rustic style, also offering a large swimming pool.

Baiazinha Lodge - luxury holidays to the Pantanal, Brazil

Baiazinha Lodge – Northern Pantanal

Baiazinha Lodge is a remote lodge, sister to the the Araras Ecolodge, with 15 simply decorated but spacious rooms. Its superb location right on the water’s edge, allows this remote hideaway to be perfect for wildlife watching, close to the Taiamã Ecological Reserve. There are monkeys, river otters, caiman, capybara & abundant bird species, and most exciting of all, the reserve is also home to the mighty jaguar. From mid-July through to October, the lodge operates a special Jaguar Program for anyone seeking to spy on this extraordinary big cat in its natural habitat.