Brazil & the Pantanal - Jaguars, Tapirs & Hyacinth Macaws

Explore the Pantanal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, one of South America’s premier wildlife sanctuaries. With an area of 54,000 mi² and located in the center of the continent, the Pantanal is a biogeography mixing bowl containing elements of the Amazon Forest, Caatinga, Brazilian Savannah, Atlantic Rainforest and Paraguayan Chaco. This area is an unparalleled wildlife reserve of spectacular beauty, an ecological paradise containing hundreds of species of birds, thousands of varieties of butterflies, myriads of brightly colored flowers, and shoals of fish. Capuchin and howler monkeys, capybaras, toucans, anacondas, caimans, tapirs, giant anteaters and elusive jaguars help create an aquatic and sylvan theater of sights and sounds. Couple it with two amazing optional extensions to Rio de Janeiro, and one of the most spectacular Falls in the world, Iguassu, and you have the makings of a truly unique adventure.

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

The Pantanal is an alluvial plain governed by the periodic flooding. The dry season is between April/May and Septem-ber/October. The best time for birdwatchers is from July to September, when they are at their rookeries in great numbers, the waters have receded and the bright-green grasses pop up. In September and October, the driest two months, the chances for spotting jaguar rise dramatically – the Pantanal is the last great stronghold for the biggest and most elusive of the American cats. Temperatures are hot by day and cool by night, with occasional short bursts of rain. Porto Jofre is open between July and Octo-ber, as it can be very rainy any other time in that area. Therefore, our program is offered during July through October, only. The program could be amended to travel at other times of the year as Pousada Araras is open year-round, but the Porto Jofre area will not be visited then.

The dry season in The Amazon runs from July to December. This period features intense heat and humidity but relatively lim-ited precipitation. Water levels in lakes and rivers recede during these months, exposing trails and beaches while cutting down on the number of mosquitoes. The dry season is the best time to visit the Amazon if hiking or fishing is what’s most important. The wet season spans January to June. Heavy rains contribute to high water levels and flooded forests. Intermittent showers oc-cur nearly every day, so you should expect to get soaked on a regular basis. On the positive side, the rainy season provides better boat access to wetlands and temporarily flooded forests. This makes it easier to cover greater distances on boat tours and see more wildlife in otherwise inaccessible areas. The wet season also offers slightly cooler temperatures, although the uncomforta-ble humidity remains.

Tropical Iguassu Falls are accessible any time of the year. December through March is summer and the hottest and most humid time of the year when most of the rainfall will occur, making the Falls impressive with their great volume of water. It is also the most crowded as Brazilians and Argentinians take vacation at that time of the year. The rivers run highest at that time and the Falls are generally covered in mist. The dry season is April through June, which may afford you the best photographs with blue skies, but the water levels at the Falls are lower. June through August brings cooler temperatures and less humidity.

Rio de Janeiro has temperate temperatures year round. During their summer – December through March, it can be quite hot, but refreshing showers in the afternoon cool the temperatures down. The winter months are July through September, but it nev-er gets cold and this is the time with the least rainfall.

Days 1/2 MIAMI/EN ROUTE

Board your flight in Miami and arrive next morning in Sao Paulo. Enjoy a tour of Brazil’s largest city, an important economic and financial hub. Visit the historical area where the city was founded, the Ipiranga Museum with its fine paintings and beautiful gardens, and the Mercado Municipal of Sao Paolo, a haven of gastronomy, with everything from fresh tropical fruit to seafood, sweets and exotic spices from all around the world. Enjoy a welcome dinner at Figuira Rubaiyat, known for its large fig tree that fills the outdoor area of the restaurant. Your luxurious home is one of Sao Paulo’s most elegant boutique hotels, offering top notch service. L’HOTEL PORTO BAY. (Meals Aloft, D)

Days 3/4 SAO PAULO/CUIABA NORTHERN PANTANAL: LOWLANDS

Your adventure begins with your flight to Cuiaba, the gateway to the Pantanal, the largest contiguous wetland on the planet. Drive along the Transpantaneira road, surrounded by a plethora of wildlife – you’re sure to see caiman, jabiru, capybaras…just in the first half hour you’re on the road, and arrive Araras Eco Lodge. Activities here include jeep safaris by day and night, horseback riding through the pastures, woods and wetlands, walks and canoe rides along the river. You are almost guaranteed a sighting of the Hyacinth Macaw, as the Lodge is involved in an Environmental Preservation program. Built in harmony with the environment, without renouncing comfort, the lodge offers excellent regional food made from the tasty meat and fish of the Pantanal, as well as organic salads, vegetables and seasonal fruit. ARARAS ECO LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 5/6 NORTHERN PANTANAL: PORTO JOFRE

Continue your exploration of this wondrous wilderness as you transfer to Porto Jofre. The endangered jaguars, and increasingly rare Hyacinth Macaws and giant river otters, all make their home in this part of the Pantanal. Typical activities include boat rides (both at sunrise and sunset), walks at first light, night safaris, piranha fishing, and jaguar spotting. The jaguar is the third largest and one of the most elusive of the world’s big cats. Few people, even veteran researchers, have had the privilege to encounter this top predator in the wild. Porto Jofre happens to be one of the best places in the world to see wild jaguars and although no guarantees, it is highly likely you will see one. Your rustic hotel is located at the end of the Transpantaneira, at the starting point of the boat tours in search of a myriad of wildlife and the elusive jaguar. HOTEL PORTO JOFRE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 7/8/9 SOUTHERN PANTANAL: CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL REFUGE

Discover the sweeping landscapes of the Pantanal from a bird’s eye-view as you soar over it on a light aircraft, headed to the 148,300-acre Caiman Ecological Refuge in southern Pantanal. As an expansive working ranch and wildlife refuge, Caiman provides for self-sustained development, where nature is respected and its species, habitats and cycles are conserved. On the grounds of the Refuge, cattle breeding and ecotourism coexist and work to mutual benefit. Caiman is home to several scientific projects aimed at the protection and conservation of the environment, including the Hyacinth Macaw, the Jaguar and the Blue Fronted Parrot Projects. You will visit the research center and closely follow its activities. Each day you have two activities in addition to a nocturnal outing to experience this raw nature: photographic safari drives, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, and boat trips on the Aquidauana River. Your beautiful lodge offers a swimming pool, air conditioned rooms, and all modern comforts. CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL RESERVE. (B,L,D, Daily)

Days 10/11 CAMPO GRANDE/SAO PAULO/MIAMI

Transfer to Campo Grande where you board your flights home, via Sao Paulo, saying a fond Tchau! Até a próxima! (B, Meals Aloft)

OPTIONAL PRE EXTENSION TO IGUASSU FALLS

Begin your adventure at Iguassu Falls, a World Heritage site comprised of over 257 different falls dazzling the eye with spectacular views. Straddling Argentina and Brazil, the Falls are taller than Niagara and twice as wide, prompting Eleanor Roosevelt to exclaim at first sight, “Poor Niagara!” An elaborate walkway system allows visitors to marvel at the immensity of the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian side. Luxury accommodations are provided at LOI SUITES HOTEL, designed and constructed with extreme respect for nature, preserving native trees and most of the jungle.

OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO RIO DE JANEIRO

Explore Rio de Janeiro, the world’s largest tropical city, and Brazil’s most famous. Rio offers a sophisticated way of life and unmatched shopping and miles of golden beaches, including Ipanema and Copacabana, two of the most famous stretches of sand in the world, as well as near-perfect weather year round. Your tour includes Rio’s highlights, from Corcovado Mountain with Christ the Redeemer statue, to Sugarloaf Mountain, reachable by cable car. Also learn about the best-known rainforest conservation effort in Brazil during a visit to the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Project, one of the most endangered primates on earth. Located at the northern end of Copacabana Beach, surrounded by shopping malls, cinemas, trendy bars and fashionable restaurants, the HOTEL MIRAMAR BY WINDSOR has a mix of the classical and contemporary.

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • Chartered flight between Porto Jofre and Posada Caiman.
  • Flights between Sao Paulo and Iguassu Falls on the pre-extension.
  • Flight between Campo Grande and Rio de Janeiro on the post-extension.
  • Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
  • Breakfast daily; other meals as indicated in itinerary, including welcome dinner at the Figuira Rubaiyat.
  • All transfers in air-conditioned motor coach or minibus.
  • Visits to Conservation projects at Caiman Ecological Refuge.
  • Visit to Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Project on Rio extension.
  • Specialist guide throughout with 10 travelers on main trip and extensions.
  • Complimentary bottled water in vehicles and at meals.
  • All applicable hotel/lodge taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
  • All entry fees.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.
Prices starting at $8,795. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.