Start in the gateway city of Cuiabá, home to impressive colonial architecture, excellent restaurants and a centre of Brazilian cowboy culture. From here, you can head into the Pantanal, starting on the Transpantaneira Highway – the only road in and out of the region. The Pantanal Wetlands are the world’s largest expanse of flooded plains, home to alligators, jaguars and plenty of birdlife. Head back to Cuiaba for your departure to the concrete jungle of Manaus. This port city has a surprising array of sights and markets. From here, you’ll head into the Amazon, exploring wildlife, remote communities and the forbidding jungle. Your adventure options are endless but start with an expedition along the Amazon by boat, trying piranha fishing, canoeing and even jungle survival experiences.

Good to know

  • This trip can be done year-round, but between July to November — the dry season — there are more wildlife watching activities available in the Pantanal and the possibility of spotting a jaguar rises to 90%.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Pantanal, Brazilian Amazon, Manaus, Cuiabá
Activity Activity Family, Nature & Wildlife, Active
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore Cuiabá’s colonial architecture

Explore Cuiabá’s colonial architecture

Day 1 in Cuiabá

Best known as the gateway to the wildlife of the Pantanal, Cuiaba is worth a day or two of your time. Spend it exploring the city’s colonial architecture around the main square, the indigenous culture museum near Mato Grosso University and the surprisingly excellent dining scene.

Wildlife watching in the world’s largest wetland

Wildlife watching in the world’s largest wetland

Day 2–5 in Pantanal

The Pantanal offers some of South America's finest wildlife watching. From jaguars to anacondas, parrots to caimans, this is the place in Brazil to see animals. Choose your season carefully — come in the dry season for birdwatching, or head there just after the rains for mammals.

Don't miss

Birdwatching in the Pantanal

Birdwatching in the Pantanal

The Pantanal is a birders’ paradise. Look out for the greater rhea, guira cuckoo, chaco chachalaca, black-hooded parakeet and hyacinth macaw, among hundreds of other endemic and migratory species.

Explore the Pantanal on the Transpantaneira Highway

Explore the Pantanal on the Transpantaneira Highway

The unpaved, dirt road Transpantaneira Highway is the only road running through the Pantanal wetlands. Take it slow and you’ll get the chance to see amazing birdlife, anteaters, tucans and much more, but watch out for water crossing on the wooden bridges – they can be quite rickety.

Go jaguar-spotting in Porto Jofre

Go jaguar-spotting in Porto Jofre

Porto Jofre on the Claro River is the best place in the Pantanal to search for the elusive jaguar. Although your chances of seeing one are slim, you’ll also have the chance to see plenty of other bird and wildlife.

Explore Manaus’ concrete jungle

Explore Manaus’ concrete jungle

Day 6 in Manaus

Steamy, sultry Manaus is the entry point to the Brazilian Amazon and a huge port city, despite being more than 1,500km from the sea. This jungle is more concrete than rainforest but serves as a place to stock up on supplies before heading into the wild. If you do hang around, look out for the city’s street markets, full of fascinating jungle fruits.

Head into the wild of the Brazilian Amazon

Head into the wild of the Brazilian Amazon

Day 7–9 in Brazilian Amazon

The Amazon rainforest is the world's most important ecosystem, home to pristine rainforest, indigenous communities and an abundance of wildlife. Head here for remote jungle experiences, ecolodges and the chance to see piranhas, river dolphins and monkeys.

Don't miss

Go piranha fishing on the Amazon

Go piranha fishing on the Amazon

The razor-toothed piranha is one of the Amazon’s most distinctive animals. Found throughout the Amazon, the piranha is relatively easy to catch and can be eaten, though most return the fish to the water.

Return to Manaus and depart

Return to Manaus and depart

Day 10 in Manaus

You will travel downriver to the Rubber Tree Museum, to learn about this element’s historical importance for the region. Transfer to the airport of Manaus for departure to your next destination.

Where to stay

Classic

Pousada Rio Claro

Located in the heart of the wildlife-rich Pantanal, Pousada Rio Claro works harmoniously with the surrounding forest, with an integrated water cycle, a deck for ecological fishing and rustic accommodation. The inn also features an outdoor swimming pool, shared lounge, extensive gardens and bar.

Deluxe

Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge

Nestled in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, the stylish Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge offers 16 spacious cottages built on suspended wooden structures and surrounded by jungle. The lodge boasts an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant serving a blend of international and amazonian cuisine and a comfortable living room for guests to relax in.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from $4,328pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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