Brazil – Jaguars and More, 2023

StartsSep 3rd 2023
EndsSep 13th 2023
LeaderSteve Gettle & Nicole Sudduth
Participants8 (FULL- returning 2024! Email us to be on the pre-announcement list)

The Pantanal is the best place on earth to photograph Jaguars and we will take you up river via boat to experience them in their natural habitat far away from the large crowds that this place is becoming known for.  The pure muscle and raw power of these cats will impress you as you see them hunt, swim, and even interact with each other often just yards from us. We timed this trip for the dry season when wildlife is concentrated along the river. Giant River Otters, Hyacinth macaws, Jabiru storks, jacanas, herons, kingfishers and more will also be in our sights. Our group size is limited to just 6 participants allowing us to be in just one boat.

29 images


We designed this trip to give you the best, most intimate jaguar experience possible. We work with the premier eco-lodge and conservationist in the area who not only played a key role in conservation of jaguar habitat for the Pantanal but also founded a series of intimate lodges that support the local community. His lodges put us into the best position to enjoy “private” jaguar sightings and a wild array of bird and other wildlife.

The lodges we stay at offer not only comfort but also great access to incredible wildlife. To make the most of this great river network and have the best experiences possible with Jaguars, we stay at two different lodges in the heart of jaguar habitat. One is upriver, away from the crowds of “Jaguarland.” By being upriver, we are often able to spend time alone as the only boat with jaguars as they hunt and rest along the shores of the river. This is so much better than other situations where there can be as many as 30 boats all trying to jockey for position in front of a jaguar. The other is in a “flotel” on another part of the river network with more wildlife and river areas to explore.

In addition to this, because the Pantanal has such diverse wildlife, we also added two different land-based lodges for bird and other mammal photography.

This tour gets you into the best situations and best locations to make this once in a lifetime trip a real winner!


Travel Day

Saturday, September 2 – Travel Day

Depart for Brazil. Most flights require an overnight flight that flies into one of the main cities (Sao Paulo, Brasilia) and connects to a domestic flight in order to fly into Cuiaba.

Day 1

Sunday, September 3 – Arrive in Cuiaba, Brazil

Arrive in Cuiaba, Brazil. Transfer to our hotel.

Days 2 and 3

Monday, September 4 and Tuesday September 5 – First steps into the Pantanal

We will transfer via a closed, air-conditioned vehicle into the Pantanal. We will spend our first two days at a special lodge known for its bird life as well as the possibility for Giant Anteaters and Crab-eating foxes!! This lodge is also known as one of the best places for Hyacynth Macaws! The habitat here is a mix of pasture, wetlands, forest islands and scrub, giving us a wide variety of species to stalk and photograph. Often seen here are Blue-fronted parrots, Southern screamers, Savannah Hawks, Red-legged Seriemas, Snail Kite, Great-Rufous Woodcreeper, Long-tailed Ground dove, Buff-necked Ibis and more.

Days 4 and 5

Wednesday, September 6 and Thursday, September 7 – Going “Up River” – Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Birds and more!

We will transfer to our lodge located “up river” well away from crowds in the heart of the Pantanal. Our transfer will be our first boat safari ride in search of jaguars and more, so we will be in photography mode.

Each day, we will have both morning and afternoon boat rides to find and photograph jaguars, caiman, capybara, and an array of exotic birds and other wildlife that call the Pantanal home. Giant River otters are often seen in this area and will be another species that we will work to photograph.

After dinner each evening, the local biologist will provide a special natural history program on the wildlife we encountered and will share life history and other information about the jaguars that we encountered during the day.

Days 6 thru 8

Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 10 – Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Birds and more!

To have yet another experience in this amazing river network, we will transfer to another lodge – one of the most wonderful “flotels” on the river!

Each day, we will have morning and afternoon boat rides along the river, photographing Jaguars, birds, caiman, capybara and other wildlife that we encounter.

Day 9

Monday, September 11 – Return downriver

We will have a final boat safari ride this morning as we return to Porto Joffre. We will explore some new areas of the river as we head back to land.

From Porto Joffre, we will transfer via vehicle back to our lodge where we will have the rest of the day to photograph around the lodge, enjoy a photography boat ride in the Paxaim River to photograph kingfishers fishing this river and other species and check the blinds at night for Ocelots and Tapirs.

Day 10

Tuesday, September 12 – Kingfishers, Jaribu Storks, Parrots, Ocelots and more

Today we will enjoy all that our last lodge, located on the Paxim River, has to offer. We will take a small boat to photograph agame herons, sunbitterns, sungrebes and scores of other beautiful birds and experience as many as five different species of Kingfishers as they dive into the water and hunt for fish. Mammals are also prevalent at this lodge with capybaras, marsh deer, three species of monkeys, Brazilian tapirs and even ocelots coming to the property. We will visit night blinds once again to try to photograph ocelots and tapirs that come close to the lodge.

Day 11

Wednesday, September 13 – Travel day

Transfer to Cuiaba for flights home. Please make sure your flight out of Cuiaba does not depart before 1:00pm.
Please note you will actually arrive home on September 14th


Payment schedule

Deposit of $1000 due with registration
Payment #2 of $4,675 due February 1, 2023
Final Payment of $3,000 due June 1, 2023

* Pricing based on double occupancy
*** Single supplement (if available) add $1,400

* Please inquire about potential non-photographer spouse/partner discount

– All lodging while in Brazil
– All meals while at the lodges
– All ground transportation
– All boat safaris

Not included

– Air travel to and from Cuiaba, Brazil
– First night’s meal in Cuiaba since everyone arrives at different times
– Gratuities
– Travel Insurance
– Any alcoholic beverages

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Being in the Pantanal during the dry season is an experience that will stay with you for life. Imagine Jaguars, weighing as much as 300 lbs, hunting the riverbanks as we enjoy and photograph them just yards from our boat. Decades ago, fishermen along these rivers started throwing fish to the Jaguars as a sort of peace offering. This acclimated Jaguars to not see boats as a threat and as a result, we are able to be in their presence as they walk along riverbanks, hunt, swim, drink, rest and even interact with each other. On the first day of our first trip, we had 12 encounters with 7 different jaguars and most of those encounters were private or semi-private experiences!

Because the Pantanal has so much wildlife to offer, we designed this tour to have both land and water experiences. As we begin our trip, we will be at a lodge known for Giant Anteaters as well as incredible bird life. From here we will head down the Trans Pantanal “highway”, the main road that runs through the Pantanal, to the small town of Porto Joffre.

Each day, we will have both a morning and afternoon river safari, returning to our lodge for lunch and a chance to check our images. Our guide has years of experience with the Jaguars and knows not only Jaguars but also photography, photographers and our special needs.

We begin our river experience using an exceptional jaguar flotel as our base as we explore this area and the diverse wildlife here with morning and afternoon boat rides. After a few days, we transfer to our lodge “up river”. Using this as our base, we will take morning and afternoon boat rides each day, getting us in proximity to more Jaguars and other wildlife in new parts of the Pantanal.

As we wrap up this adventure, we return to a very special land-based lodge rich with bird and mammal life. Here you may enjoy photographing the absolutely stunning Toco Toucan, Jabiru storks on the nest, Hyacinth macaws, parrots, ibis, hawks, songbirds, caracara and more. This lodge sits along the Paxaim river and here we will take a small boat to photograph agame herons, sunbitterns, sungrebes and scores of other beautiful birds and experience as many as five different species of Kingfishers as they dive into the water and hunt for fish. Mammals are also prevalent at this lodge with capybaras, marsh deer, three species of monkeys, Brazilian tapirs and even ocelots coming to the property. Each night here, we will visit night blinds to try to photograph ocelots and tapirs that come close to the lodge.

We are so excited to share this experience with you! During our scouting trip, we were simply amazed at how accessible and photograph-able the Jaguars were. In addition to the cats, we photographed an amazing array of birds and other species. You can see from our gallery just how subject-rich this place is – and that was from just three days of shooting on our scouting trip!