Pantanal Explorer Tour

Brazil – Pantanal Explorer Tour – an 11 day Small Group Tour.

Travel with Undiscovered Destinations and discover the incredibly rich biodiversity of the Pantanal region of Brazil. On this intimate tour with a maximum group size of only 10, we will explore in depth this wetland environment through land and water based excursions staying in two different areas of the Northern Pantanal.

After leaving Cuiabá, our first destination is the Pousada do Rio Mutum, an attractive eco-lodge boasting a lovely setting with a high focus on sustainability. Here we will enjoy walks, canoeing and horse-riding (all suitable for beginners) as well as exploring by jeep.

The second half of the trip is where turn our attention to searching for the magnificent Jaguar as we navigate the winding shimmering channels from our comfortable expedition boat. This is a wildlife adventure not to be missed.

The Pantanal straddles the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and is the world’s largest wetland region. Its plains and low scrubby forests are home to over 1000 species of bird and 300 different mammals, including tapirs, anteaters, Jabiru storks and the striking Hyacinth macaw.

Concentrating on the incredibly rich northern Pantanal, we divide our time between an eco-friendly lodge and also aboard an expedition vessel, journeying deep into the Pantanal in search of the jaguar, the most elusive in the Americas.

These solitary predators, as well as being formidable opponents on land, are strong swimmers and are known to frequent the waterways we will explore.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


On arrival at Cuiabá airport you will be transferred to the hotel with the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Deville Prime Cuiabá or similar – No meals or guided services.

 (approx. Driving time is 2.5 hours)

This morning you will meet your local guide and after breakfast, transfer through the Pantanal region by car to Pousada do Rio Mutum, passing through the small town of Santo Antonio do Leverger and the villages of Porto de Fora, and Mimoso. On the way to the lodge, we will look out for birds, small animals, and taking note of the landscape, and the typical buildings of the inhabitants of the Pantanal.  Following arrival at the lodge, enjoy a welcome drink, followed by check-in, lunch and a lecture as an introduction to the Pantanal region, with presentation of cartographic maps and satellite images. Later, take a short walk to observe the various species of birds and other animals that inhabit the private area of the lodge. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure and this evening a tasty piranha broth will be served followed by typical dishes from the region. (BLD)

After breakfast, enjoy an ecological walk, the duration will be approximately 3 hours, to explore the unique nature, passing through wooded areas, forests and open fields in search of birds, mammals, reptiles, plants and other components of the Pantanal ecosystem. Return for lunch. This afternoon take a boat ride on the Mutum River, a duration of approximately 3 hours. In these winding waterways, besides the vegetation, we hope to observe giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) rays (lymma Taeniura) and schools of small fish. In addition, we will be looking out for the many possible bird species on the banks. Return to the lodge for dinner.  After dinner, we head out night spotlighting by jeep or boat, for approximately 2 hours, exploring the surroundings in search of nocturnal creatures thriving in this wetland environment.

Please Note: The walk is of an easy grade but you must be well protected against the sun and heat. Please wear wide brimmed hat and light loose clothes. The pace will be very leisurely as you will be stopping frequently when observing flora and fauna.

After breakfast, take a boat ride, a duration of approximately 3 hours, visiting a fishing village on the banks of Rio Cuiabá. This village named Cuiabá Mirim is a lovely spot marked by its simplicity and the spontaneity of its inhabitants. It is possible to interact with the native people, who exist by way of fishing and subsistence agriculture, and to appreciate their customs and peaceful coexistence with their immediate environment. This afternoon, enjoy a land safari by jeep to a village named Capoeirinha, around 15 km’s from the lodge. This activity will last approximately 3 hours. During  this time our focus will be to search for one of the bird species most threatened with extinction in the Pantanal: the hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). By late afternoon, we return hoping to spot mammals and other animals on the way. Return to the lodge for dinner. (BLD)

An early start at 4:30 a.m. for a magical sunrise experience. We take to the waterways for some leisurely and very easy paddling (that can be enjoyed by all abilities) in canoes for about 1.5 hours in order to appreciate the dazzling spectacle of the awakening of nature in the Pantanal. Return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast for those that wish there will be a horseback riding tour (this is beginner level and no experience necessary), duration of up to 3 hours, to a typical farm on the border of Sia Mariana Bay. This path is excellent for observing local flora and fauna throughout the year. Return to the lodge for lunch and then this afternoon enjoy a 3 hour cruise down the Mutum River up to the Sia Mariana bay (8 km extension in the North/South direction). During this time, we will explore the banks of the bay and the channel connecting both the Sia Mariana bay and Chacororé bay. Throughout the year, one can observe different species of birds, reptiles and other animals. Stop for sunset and piranha fishing*. On the way back to the lodge look out for nocturnal species as we spotlight in search for animals. (BLD)

* The piranha fishing occurs in the months of February to September. In the period from October 1 to January 31, it is prohibited to fish in rivers, lakes and bays of Mato Grosso, because it is the breeding period.

Note: For clients that do not wish to canoe or horse ride alternative activities can be arranged but the guide will stay with the main group.

(Approx. driving time 4.5 hours)

After breakfast, check out and then transfer by boat to Porto Cercado (approx. 3 h) with a photo stop at Ninhal Porto da Fazenda, home to the nests of over 1000 birds of different species (great white egrets, jabiru storks, American wood storks, cocoi herons, etc.). We then transfer by air-conditioned vehicle to Porto Jofre (approx. 4.5 h, 40 km paved road + 147 km unpaved road), stopping for lunch along the way. Later we board our home for the next 4 nights, to begin the next part of this enthralling wildlife adventure. This evening, the boat will navigate up the Cuiabá River for approx. 1.5 hours to reach the location where the first jaguar spotting opportunities of this trip will take place. Overnight on board. (BLD)

For the next 3 days you will enjoy two boat tours (before and after lunch, respectively) in search of the legendary jaguar and other magnificent species such as giant river otters, caimans, and capybaras, on the rivers Cuiabá, Piquiri, Três Irmãos and also some of the smaller creeks. All meals are served on the boat. Overnight on board. (BLD)

Note: The boat excursions are usually from 7 – 11am and from 2pm – 6pm so a total of 8 hours per day.

(Approx. driving time is 5 hours) 

After breakfast, check out and transfer back to Cuiabá via Poconé, an overall journey time of around 5 hours. On arrival the rest of the day is at leisure with no excursions arranged. Overnight Deville Prime Cuiabá or similar (B)

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

Please note that onward extension can be arranged throughout Brazil to places such as Amazonas region, Iguazu Falls, or city breaks to Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo. Please contact us for details.

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 3 travellers.

Single Supplement from £710.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Cuiaba costs from £55 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £110 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Return flights from London to Cuiaba start from around £800. Please contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Please contact us should you wish to extend your stay in Brazil by travelling perhaps to the Amazon, Iguazu Falls or Rio de Janeiro for example. All extensions are on a tailor-made basis and are subject to availability.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Brazil - Pantanal Explorer Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary
  • Accompanying local naturalist guide
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Any personal expenses