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Brazil's Best-Kept Secret

Stretching 70,000 square miles across central-west Brazil and spilling into both Paraguay and Bolivia, the Pantanal - part National Park, part UNESCO World Heritage Site - is the world's largest tropical wetland, and home to some truly exceptional biodiversity.

Often overlooked in favour of its more-famous neighbour the Amazon, the Pantanal is in fact regarded as the best place to spot wild animals in the whole of South America, with caiman, howler monkeys, giant otters, anacondas, and even the elusive Jaguar just a selection of the often-spotted and always thrilling wildlife to be found here. And unlike the Amazon where dense forest can hinder one's view, the wide-open landscape of the Pantanal provides a view of the seemingly endless glistening greenery simply bursting with life. For the nature lover, there simply isn't anywhere quite like this.

Holidays to Brazil and the Pantanal start from £3,199 per person. Get in touch to find out prices for your perfect trip.

The Area

The Pantanal is split across two states: Mato Grosso (the northern Pantanal) and Mato Grosso do Sul (the Southern Pantanal). The Southern Pantanal is the most visited and the town of Campo Grande is the access point for the area.

There are a number of lodges and ranches across both regions where you can stay and explore the area. Each lodge is located in a different part of the wetlands, and most include full board and a programme of excursions into the wetlands with their own guides.

The best way to experience the Pantanal, however, is by boat, and spotting wildlife as you gently move through the lagoons and waterways is a truly fantastic experience.

Best Time to Go

The Pantanal dry season runs from April to October, when temperatures range from 23C - 28C, and the wildlife is out in full force. The best time for both bird-watching and the chance of spotting Jaguar is July to September.

The wet season runs from November to March, with the rains rendering over 80% of the region underwater, making travel harder and more limited. We do not really recommend travelling during the peak of the wet season, from December to February.

Ready to begin creating your perfect holiday to Brazil and the Pantanal? Simply complete the enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Travel Specialists on 020 8038 0173

In need of some more inspiration? Have a look at our Brazil itineraries.

Things to Do

It’s a common misconception that the Amazon is the most wildlife-rich area in South America, however that badge of honour belongs squarely to the lesser-known Pantanal. A mix of the Amazon Rainforest, the Caatinga, the Brazilian Savannah, the Atlantic Rainforest and the Paraguayan Chaco, it’s no wonder that this area contains such fantastic biodiversity.

This sprawling wetland, stretching through three countries; Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay is a seasonal floodplain, with plenty of wide open spaces which makes spotting wildlife a breeze. With nearly 700 species of bird, 80 mammals, 260 fish and 50 reptiles, the Pantanal offers a wonderful opportunity to spot wildlife you simply can’t see anywhere else.


Each and every day in the Pantanal is different, and a few days here will bring you in touch with nature on a level you never thought possible. Delight in spotting rare and exotic mammals which call this area home such as the lowland tapir, the giant anteater, marsh deer and characterful capybaras. Peer into the marshes and see the occasional giant river otter looking back at you.

Of course the rarest species is also the most prized. The elusive Pantanal Jaguar is on everyone’s ‘must spot’ list but if you do manage to see one, then you’re amongst just a select few. These majestic creatures keep well away from the prying eyes of people, crouching in the lowlands and hiding in the bush. The Pantanal Jaguar measures around 2.7 metres long and weighs up to 100 kilograms, and seeing one of these giant beasts in the wild is sure to raise your pulse.

Turn your attention to the skies and you’ll be rewarded with such delights as the Toco Toucan, the Bare-faced Curassow and the Hyacinth Macaw which, at around 1-metre-tall is the most spectacular sight to behold.


Shutterbugs will be in their element in the Pantanal, with some of the most photogenic wildlife on the planet, as well as gorgeously picturesque marshlands and water glinting in the sunlight. Our guides can help you get the best from your Pantanal experience by offering tips on how to capture the perfect photograph, as well as locations to give the best chance of spotting rare wildlife.

Day trips

There are plenty of ways to get out into nature on a visit to the Pantanal. The easiest way is to strap on some walking boots and hit one of the many trails designed to give you the best chance of spotting a range of species. Most lodges offer guided hikes through the jungle and guides are truly experts in their field, giving a wonderful commentary along the way to help you get the most from your wildlife spotting experience.

© Caiman Lodge

Of course for an area with more water than land, the Pantanal is the perfect place to board a boat and strike out onto the water for the day. Seeing this area from the water offers a wonderful perspective as you watch deer gingerly drinking from the water’s edge, or caiman and alligators glide through the murky waters. Don’t worry, you’re in great hands with your experienced guides looking after everything for you.

Jeep tours are another extremely popular choice for those who want to cover a lot of ground in one day. Specially customised jeeps with open sides offer unparalleled views in all directions and have enhanced suspension to be able to get off-road and find those animals hiding in the woodlands.

© Caiman Lodge

Another way to see this richly populated area is to climb into the saddle and take a horse ride through the marshes or a cycle through the well-marked pathways. Listen out for howler monkeys swinging overhead as you ride, and don’t forget to put that camera away every once in a while, to be fully in the moment.

Send An Enquiry
Enquire About Your Holiday To The Pantanal

When Do You Want To Go?

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