Pantanal Photo Tour: Pantanal Expedition

Tour Intro

2020 Dates and rates to be announced.

This expedition gives you an in-depth view of the natural history and wildlife of the Pantanal, with a special emphasis on wildlife and birdlife photography.

South America is "the Bird Continent", with much higher avian diversity than any other parts of the world. It also contains much more tropical rainforest than other regions. The UK-sized Pantanal is a seasonally flooded mosaic of tropical savannas and forests in the upper part of the Paraguay River watershed. The largest freshwater wetland in the world, the Pantanal offers the finest wildlife viewing in the Americas, with more mammals, large reptiles, and large birds than any other wild land. The lodges represent the best locations in all the Pantanal to see the two top predators of the Pantanal--the Jaguar and the Giant Otter.

Jaguars in the Pantanal weigh up to 350 pounds, while the same species in the Amazon or Central America reaches only 160 pounds. Normally almost impossible to see in Belize or Amazon, in north-central Pantanal, a "Jaguar Miracle" has occurred. Since 2000, strict protection from hunting and abundant caimans, and Capybaras on the riverbanks have made Jaguars uniquely easy to see on 95% of the days, often for hours per day.

Tour Highlights

  • Intensive viewing and photography – Up Close And Personal – Jaguars, Giant Otters, Caiman, Macaws, Tapirs, Storks, and a wide variety of exotic birds and other wildlife.
  • Limited to 10 participants, to ensure the optimum photographic experience.
  • Time to absorb and photograph the wonder of it all. Early morning and late afternoon photo shoots to take advantage of the best light, watching and waiting for wildlife in just the right setting.
  • Comfortable en-suite accommodations with air conditioning, close to the wildlife.
  • Expertise of photographic tour leaders, and local cultural wildlife guides.
  • Extend your time in Iguassu Falls.

Tour Itinerary

July 22: USA-Cuiaba, Brazil
Black Collared Hawk

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Pantanal

Board your flight to Cuiaba, Brazil (CGB airport code). Majority of flights from the U.S. are overnight flights, and you can land at anytime to CGB, July 23. If you are NOT attending the extension, flights will be round trip Home/CGB. If you ARE attending the extension, flights will be multi city Home/CGB, CGR/Home.

July 23: Cuiaba, Brazil

You can arrive at any time today and overnight at an airport hotel (check in time 3PM or after) to rest and relax prior to departure tomorrow morning. Overnight Cuiaba, Brazil

July 24: Cuiaba - Pixaim River
Star Trail

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Pantanal

The tour will begin this morning from hotel lobby (time will be announced). Proceed to your Pantanal lodge, with  impromptu photographic stops along the way. The lodge offers an array of nature trails and wildlife viewing from tall platforms.

The air-conditioned lodge is on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located near an active nest of habituated Jabiru Storks and a second one in a forest along the banks of the river. Tapirs may be seen during certain months. Capuchins and attractive hawks are completely habituated here. The world's tamest wild family of Giant Otters is often seen on the river. Small powered boats are also available for photography on the river. There are additional days at the end of the program to explore further afield. Cuiaba - Pixaim River (L, D)

July 25-28: Pantanal

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Pantanal

Depart after breakfast for Porto Jofre, where you will travel the last 10 miles by boat to your accommodations. The next four evenings will be on your floating hotel in the Pantanal. All rooms are air-conditioned with private baths. The Flotel has two dining rooms, one air-conditioned and the other open-air and screened with large fans. Located in the center of the densest wild area for Jaguars. Cats walk within 3-5 yards of the flotels during the daytime! At night, the flotels are powered by generators so you will always have power, and you will even have high-speed WIFI internet.

You will rise early each morning for a boat excursion, seeking Jaguars, Tapirs, Giant Otters, Caiman, Macaws, and various other wildlife and birdlife. Return to the flotel for a break in the heat of the day to enjoy lunch, rest, relax or perhaps a lecture. Each afternoon you will be back on the water for afternoon light. FLOTEL – limited number of optional upgradable suites are available. (all meals). 

July 29-31: Pantanal - Pixaim River
Jaguar Suites

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Pantanal

You’ll have another full day on the river today, departing at dusk to return to Porto Jofre, where your vehicle will meet you and return you to the lodge. With two additional evenings, you will have a chance to enjoy the trails and platforms of your beautiful surroundings. PANTANAL  (all meals)

August 1: Home - or Extension
Toco Toucan

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Pantanal

After breakfast you will return to Cuiaba for flights home (not earlier than 1PM) or continue on to the amazing Mato Grosso Do Sul to photograph Macaws and other wildlife. Flights are likely to land in the U.S. or Canada on August 2. (B)

Tour Extension

Photo Leader

Cathy & Gordon Illg
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Cathy & Gordon Illg

Cathy and Gordon Illg are freelance photographers specializing in nature and wildlife photography. For more than twenty years they have been guiding tours to outstanding locations for both scenic and wildlife photography. Their work has appeared in nearly all the major nature publications and prominent travel magazines, as well as earning numerous awards in Nature’s Best International Photographic Competitions. In 2003, they earned second place in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.

They are more than just skilled photographers and instructors; they are also Certified International Tour Managers, which ensures that traveling companions will have a great time, regardless of where they are traveling and what they are doing. The job is particularly fulfilling when it involves bringing guests face to face with the great outdoors and the creatures that call it home.

If you are already an accomplished photographer, they will get you to the good locations, at the right times, and set you free. However, if you want help, they will provide as much instruction as you want. On most tours instructional presentations are provided, and participants are always encouraged to bring a sample of their work for a helpful, friendly critique or just to share with the group.

It was an amazing trip and the uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands certainly added to that. Everyone did a great job!!

S. Hon

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 5 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.


Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.


The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.


Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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