Photo by: Cathy & Gordon Illg
Pantanal Brazil Expedition
Contact us for 2023 dates
- 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-conditioned cabins, close to the wildlife.
- Expertise of photographic tour leaders Cathy & Gordon Illg, and local cultural wildlife guides.
- Extend your stay with the Illg’s to their pre-trip to PumaLand & Patagonia.
$6495 2021 Rates
per person, double occupancy*
*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 9 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-8 participants. 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 (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $1145.
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. With the influx of boat operations and flotel accommodations in certain sections of the Three Brothers River, this itinerary is now taking advantage of lodge accommodations further upstream. The wildlife remains the same, if not better, as there will be fewer boats and therefore you will have easier access to photograph. Jaguar Retreat offers...
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. With the influx of boat operations and flotel accommodations in certain sections of the Three Brothers River, this itinerary is now taking advantage of lodge accommodations further upstream. The wildlife remains the same, if not better, as there will be fewer boats and therefore you will have easier access to photograph. Jaguar Retreat offers private viewing of rivebank Jaguars due to its great distance from the many lodges in Porto Jofre. 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.
Cathy and Gordon Illg can’t wait to return after their 2019 photo tour to this amazing region. 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.
Cathy & Gordon were great! they helped me in and out of the boats, with gear and were patient with me. All the meals were great. Local guides did their jobs well. First sighting of a Jaguar was the highlight. Your services were thorough as always. Kudo’s to Jacque for helping me get a new flight after airline untimely demise.
— Nancy Nelson
July 2: USA - Cuiaba, Brazil
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, the next day.
PLEASE NOTE: Those attending the Puma Photo Tour to Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia Chile can overnight with Illg’s in Santiago Chile &/ or Cuiaba Brazil, in order to rest prior to the program beginning on July 4. If you are attending both tours you will need to issue international flights multi-city, Home/PUQ; CGB/Home. Strabo will send suggestions for flying PUQ/CGB and booking airport hotels.
July 3: Cuiaba, Brazil
You can arrive at any time today and overnight at the airport hotel (check in time 3PM or after) to rest and relax prior to departure tomorrow morning. Overnight Slaviero Slim Hotel.
July 4-5: Cuiaba - Pixaim River
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. PANTANAL LODGE (B, L, D)
July 6-9: Pantanal
Depart after breakfast for Porto Jofre, where you will travel the last 25 miles by boat to your accommodations with photography along the way. The next four evenings will be at a land-based retreat, spending your days in specially outfitted boats, photographing the river wildlife. All rooms are air-conditioned with private baths. The retreat places you further north along the river, away from the Flotel’s and the ever increasing congested boat traffic. It is located at the Northern border of the 270,000 acre Jaguar rich land and river. There is also a 1.5 mile trail to stretch your legs in between boat trips, offering additional bird photography.
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 retreat 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. Overnight Jaguar Retreat (B, L, D each day).
July 10: Pantanal - Pixaim River
You’ll have another morning on the river today, with photography as you make your way back to Porto Jofre. Your vehicle will meet you and return you to the lodge. With another evening to enjoy the trails and platforms of your beautiful surroundings. PANTANAL LODGE. (B, L, D)
July 11: Cuiaba
You’ll have another morning on the river today, with additional photography on the grounds through lunch. You will be returned to the hotel near the airport for your overnight stay. SLAVIERO SLIM. (B, L, D)
July 12: Home
After breakfast you will return to Cuiaba for flights home. The hotel provides an airport just verify your time with the front desk. Flights are likely to land in the U.S. or Canada the next day. (B)