It is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling”
- Henry David Thoreau, 1864
Most people visit the Pantanal, world’s largest wetland, during the dry season between July to October, and are puzzle about the “wetland” part of this title.
Landscape is extremely dry, roads are dusty and water is concentrate in few ponds. A great wildlife spectacle, a kind of nature decadence avec elegance but no wetland at all.
The Pantanal receives 1,000-1,600mm of rain per year, predominantly between November and March. During the rainy season, rivers overflow and – together with fish and other aquatic wildlife – disperse across the plain to inundate 25-75% of the Pantanal. The flooded area can be ten times larger than the world’s most famous wetland, Florida’s Everglades, and 15 times the size of the best-known wetland for watching wildlife, Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Water level rise by up to 5m, soil nutrient levels increase and aquatic vegetation blooms. It is only after February, when first waves of water coming from the plateaus outside the lowland start arriving, that the Pantanal shows its aquatic side. Dry land is at a premium, and higher areas hold concentrations of terrestrial mammals too.
As we always stress, all the bird specialties are resident, so even during this period we will be able to see the magnificent hyacinth macaw, the mighty jabiru, the near endemics Mato Grosso antbird and white-lored spinetail, the bizarre red-billed scythebill, the colorful blue-crowned trogon and the endemic and near threatened chestnut-bellied guan among others.
Our activities will be pace by the forecast of the day. For those in good conditions and high spirits, we offer a horseback riding which will cross the flooded fields in order to reach isolated forest islands, no previous experience is required.
But this “waterworld” must to be sense in a whole experience, not just from outside as an observer but from inside as a participant, and nothing is more insider than snorkeling in crystal clear streams fully packed with tropical fish and freshwater stingrays. Can you imagine this experience? Dozens of fish around while you gently float down the stream. It is not our imagination, just outside the pantanal in the Serra Azul, the small town of Bom Jardim is located in a limestone mountain hills, there are many caves, waterfalls and some incredibly clear rivers surrounded by lush forest, where it’s possible to see hundreds of fish eyeball to eyeball. For us, the main attraction is snorkeling in a deep limestone pool surrounded by tropical fish and snorkeling along a crystal clear river with school of tropical fish and if lucky also freshwater stingrays.
The area is a transitional zone between the cerrado and the Amazonian rainforest.
2017 Departures: This journey could be request at any time between January to May, limited to small groups of up to 06 participants, guaranteed with a minimum of two guests. Check our Tours Calendar to join a fixed departure.
Due to the road conditions, water level and concentration of wildlife during the flooded season we do not go as far as the end of the Transpantaneira road or beyond. We maximize our time in the pantanal exploring our stakeouts for local specialties offering visitors the chance to enjoy the pantanal at maximum of possible comfort. Notice that rainfall is not a problem at all during this flooded season, once our tropical rains do not last for hours or days, it is worth of mention that most of our tours during this period of the year barely face rainfall during our outings. By the way, the flooded season is our favorite to visit the pantanal, once you really can see why the pantanal is the world's largest wetland.
A Natural History Journey to Waterworld: 05 Days / 04 Nights Itinerary
DAY 01 - CUIABA - PANTANAL
Tour will start at Hotel reception in Cuiaba at 07:00am. Immediate transfer to the PANTANAL, the first 100km of good paved road crosses a disturbed cerrado transition ecosystem, featuring examples of cerrado vegetation, gallery forests and a unique tall cerrado forest, we will stop for some birding when necessary. The pavement stops just after Pocone, and the Transpantaneira dirt road starts. A different habitat, birds all over, from Greater Rheas to tiny Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrants, the pantanal is full of life and is hard to don't see a bird in any bush we put our binoculars on! Our lodge was a research base for a big Brazilian-Germany project to study the "Ecology of the Pantanal" because has nearly all habitats found in the whole floodplain. Several walks and birding from our vehicle will be a routine here. We will see an star bird at the very first day once there are Hyacinth macaws nesting in the near forest island, as well as Golden-collared Macaw, Blue-crowned, Monk & Golden-chevroned Parakeets, Turquoise-fronted & Orange-winged Amazons, Black-fronted Nunbird, Undulated Tinamou, Chaco Chachalaca, the Brazilian endemics Chesnut-bellied Guan and Planalto Slaty Antshrike, Savanna, Black-collared & Great Black Hawks. Dry forest specialties includes Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Black-bellied Antwren, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Spot-backed Puffbird, Red-crested Finch, Saffron-billed Sparrow, White-lined Tanager, Lineated Wodpecker just to name a few. At night, Common Potoo, Great Horned Owl, Mottled Owl, Black-banded Owl and Tropical Screech-Owl share with Pauraques our attention in our night outings. Our checklist will produces over 100 species a day! Overnight. (L,D)
DAYS 02 and 03 - PANTANAL
Two full days to explore the surrounding habitats and even birding along the Transpantaneira road. Boat rides, canoe rides, a canopy tower, and for the adventure spirits a horseback ride. Early breakfast will be a routine, while birding the forest islands will produce some of the best specialties among them Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Gray-crested Cacholote, Helmeted Manakin, Red-billed Scythebill, Rufous Casiornis, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Green-backed Becard, Rufous-fronted Tody-Flycatcher. Birding the open habitats will produce Monk Parakeet, Chotoy & Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, White-rumped Monjita, White-bellied Seedeater, Southern Screamer, Rufous Hornero, Greater Thornbird, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Scarlet-headed & Unicolored Blackbirds, Black-capped Donacobius, Plumbeous Ibis, Jabirus. After dinner night tours to owling and spot nocturnal wildlife. Mammals are concentrate in dry forest islands and due to the wet soil even armadillos could be seen outside their roosting holes, natural But not only birds will be the attraction of this tour, the wet season is also a flowering season, an array of aquatic plants cover the fields and some of them are on bloom, in this unique environment a pantanal endemic orchid is the star, the rare Pantanal's Water Spider Orchid (Habenaria aricaensis), some other orchids from the same genus are known as Fringed Orchid or Rein Orchid, flowers between February to March. (B,L,D)
DAY 04 - PANTANAL to BOM JARDIM.
Today we will drive in our way to the Brazilian Central Plateau at the Serra Azul. A change of habitat, landscape now is cerrado with some Amazonian spice. We will do some birding along the road while the rock formation of Chapada dos Guimaraes NP and its beautiful cliffs are in our horizon. Blue-winged Macaws (vulnerable), Blue-headed Parrot, Red-and-Green Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Swallow Flycatcher, Crested Black-Tyrant, Bat Falcon and many more could be seen. This afternoon we will visit a palm dominated lake, where hundreds of macaws, parrots and parakeets come to roost. Of course, while we wait for this noisy show, we will look for the four palm specialists: Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Red-bellied Macaw, Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Sulphury Flycatcher, in that order of difficulty. Overnight. (B,L,D)
DAY 05 - BOM JARDIM - CUIABA
Our last day promises to be a full day of activities, an early morning birding, both cerrado and forest vegetation with some different species here: Curl-crested Jays, Black-faced, White-rumped & White-banded Tanagers, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Rusty-backed Antwren, Pale-breasted Spinetail, White-eared Puffbird, Plumbeous Seedeater, White-vented Violet-ear, Black-throated Saltator, Gray Monjita among others. Back to our lodge for breakfast and after breakfast by 10:00am we will put our swimming suits and go for the most magical moment of the day, snorkeling in a deep limestone pool surrounded by tropical fish and snorkeling along a crystal clear river with school of tropical fish and if lucky also freshwater stingrays. After lunch return to Cuiaba, birding on route and arrival by late afternoon.(B,L)
Well, well, well...if you are thinking that snorkeling part of the tour should be fun, but does not match the time of the year you are planning to come. Let me tell you that activity could be done whole year through, just add a day or two before or after any of our Mato Grosso tours (starting in Cuiaba) and we will organize a tour for you there.
INCLUDED: Our natural history journey is all included: lodging, meals from lunch on day 01 to lunch on day 05, outings, ground transportation, professional English-speaking naturalist guide, fauna checklist, fees (except to any source of drinks, available to buy at lodge) and start and end in Cuiaba, Brazil.
NOT INCLUDED: Air tickets to Cuiabá, any kind of beverages at lodges and hotels, medical costs or hospitalization, insurance, personal expenses as laundry, phone calls.
ACCOMMODATION: The Pantanal lodge used is the Piuval Lodge with private bathrooms, air-conditioning & swimming pool. The Bom Jardim hotel is the Pousada Reino Encantado.
GROUP SIZE: Group Size is limited to 06 participants, unless special arrangements are made for private tours. Should only one space remain on a tour, our policy is to accept a couple traveling together, even at the risk of exceeding our stated tour limit.
Rates, bookings or any question or extra information, please contact us at:
Rates, bookings or any question or extra information, please contact us at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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