Brazil – Jaguars and More, Trip 1 2022

StartsAug 31st 2022
EndsSep 11th 2022
LeaderSteve Gettle & Nicole Sudduth
Participants6 (1 Spot Just opened! (July 18, 2022))

The Pantanal is the best place on earth to photograph Jaguars and we will take you up river in a special photo-safari 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.

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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!

***Non-photographer spouses or partners: The memories you create and experiences you have on a trip like this are unforgettable and wonderful to share! While available, Non-photographer spouses/partners have the option for a $600.00 discount to sit in a non-photographer seat either up at the front of the boat or next to the driver. In either spot, they will certainly see everything and be able to photograph most of what we encounter.


Travel Day

Wednesday, August 31 – 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.


Thursday, September 1 – Arrive in Brazil

Arrive in Cuiaba, Brazil. Transfer to our hotel.

2 and 3

Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3 – 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.

4 thru 6

Sunday, September 4 thru Tuesday, September 6 – Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Birds and more!

We will transfer to our lodge located in the river 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.

7 thru 8

Wednesday, September 7 and Thursday, September 8 – Jaguars “Up River”

To have yet another experience in this amazing river network, we will transfer to another lodge – this time up 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.

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.


Friday, September 9 – 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.


Saturday, September 10 – 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.


Sunday, September 11 – 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 12th


Payment schedule

Deposit of $1000 due with your reservation
Second payment $4,150 due February 1, 2022
Balance of $3,000 due June 1, 2022

  • Included

  • – All lodging while in Brazil
  • – All meals while at the lodges
  • – All ground transportation
  • – *Pricing based on double occupancy
  • – *single supplement (if still available) for $1,200.00
  • – *non-photographer spouse/partner (if still available) discount $600
Not included
  • – Roundtrip airfare from your home to Cuiaba, Brazil
  • – gratuities
  • Meals while in Cuiaba
  • -any alcoholic beverages, sodas, etc.
  • -travel insurance
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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.

Porto Joffe is our departure point for our journey upriver. We will bypass the hustle and bustle closer to town and head to our sanctuary far upriver where we will have the very real possibility of private jaguar encounters. 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.

To make this the best experience possible, we chartered a boat customized for photographers. This special custom-built boat was designed by photographers for photographers. In fact, it is the only boat of its kind in the Pantanal. Each photographer will have their own seat which swivels around a post with an adjustable height gimbal mounted on it so you can wield your lenses with ease. Having just one boat for our entire group ensures that we are able to get everyone into a great position. Imagine being in a group of 10 photographers for example split across 3 different boats each trying to maneuver in front of a cat for the best angle. It just isn’t the kind of experience we want to provide. Like all of our trips, you and your photography come first and you will experience that as we head upriver, watch for Giant River Otters, birdlife and of course jaguars!

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!