Sometimes travelling in Brazil can be stressful as the country´s vastness and diversity becomes overwhelming and picking the right tour in the right place at the right time and the right price is more difficult than you thought. This is especially so when it comes to the Pantanal, an immense wetland spanning over 140,000 square kilometres and housing an incredible diversity of eco-systems, flora and fauna: I mean who wants to spend a fortune on jaguar spotting and not see a jaguar?
In Brazil the Pantanal has two main gateways: Cuiaba at the Northern End or Campo Grande in the South. But if it is jaguars you´re looking for the best man for the job is Julinho Monteiro, the grandson of a native Brazilian Indian who says his grandfather taught him "the secrets and knowledge about fauna, flora (medicinal plants), animal tracking and being a cowboy". Julinho (little Julio) speaks 8 languages and gained his pilot´s license in the USA, and he owns and runs the company Pantanal Trackers where he puts all his childhood experience to good use tracking jaguars and inspiring passion and respect for all animals and their native habitat.
The best time to see jaguars in the Northern Pantanal is from mid-June to the end of October. For more information visit: www.pantanaltrackers.com.br.
If entering from the South end another highly recommended company is Fazenda Barranco Alto, the lodge is open from the 15th of February to the 15th of December and reachable from Campo Grande overland in a 4x4 driving 6 hours or by air in a Cessna 182. For more information visit: www.fazendabarrancoalto.com.br.
For more information on tours to Brazil including the Pantanal visit: www.intolatinamerica.com/en/program/71/rio-pantanal-and-iguacu-tour.
Amazing pictures of Toco Toucan and his neighbors from Pantanal are available at Marie-France Grenouillet´s website Planet Still Alive.