Jaguar Ecological Reserve
Jaguar Ecological Reserve

MonkeysWe offer a full range of activities, from birdwatching tours, nature hikes through the forest, nighttime wildlife-viewing drives and fishing. Most guests stay at the Reserve for at least two nights to make the most of their trip. The average stay is three nights.

The best time to view wildlife in the Pantanal is at dawn, dusk, and at night. For this reason, most guests elect to rest during the heat of the day. We will be happy to cater to whatever schedule you prefer!


BirdsThe Pantanal is a world-class birdwatching destination. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, you will have the opportunity to easily view hundreds of species. Birds (and other wildlife) in the Pantanal are easily seen in its open grasslands, marshes and islands of forests, in contrast to the Amazon Basin, where wildlife is often difficult to find in the dense rainforest. Whether you are an expert birder or have never tried birdwatching before, we guarantee you will be amazed by the birdlife of the Pantanal.

We can tailor your itinerary depending on your level of expertise and any particular species you wish to see. Our guests typically enjoy birdwatching in the Pantanal in a number of ways – including going on walks, drives and boat trips. Nighttime outings with spotlights often result in close sightings of owls, potoos and nightjars.

BirdsHyacinth macaws, the largest parrots in the world, live on the Reserve and are easily seen in trees surrounding the lodge. Numerous other species of macaws, parrots and parakeets, as well as toucans, trogons, woodpeckers, herons, storks, birds of prey and hummingbirds, are abundant. You will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of the birds of the region!

For more advanced birders, our local guides have the expertise, equipment and patience to locate some of the Pantanal’s most elusive bird species for our guests. Guides carry spotting scopes, field guides, and IPOD (and cassette tape) recording and playback equipment. Bird lists are available.

Wildlife-viewing drives

Transpantaneira HighwayOne of the best ways to locate and observe wildlife near the Reserve is from the back of one of our specially-designed four-wheel drive vehicles. Drives along the Transpantaneira Highway (a dirt road with little traffic this far south) as well as private roads near the Reserve provide guests with a safe and comfortable way to view an incredible array of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Photographers will have ample opportunities to record their adventures. Our guides are eager to help you take the best photos possible, from recommending picture-perfect locations to waiting patiently for the right light conditions. We are delighted to help you photograph the breathtaking sunsets, diverse flora and fauna, and the famous cowboys of the Pantanal.

JaguarOne popular trip takes visitors to the vast marshland of Campo Jofre, a short drive south of the Reserve. Here large groups of capybaras and caiman gather along the waterways and are easily observed. We often see marsh deer and anaconda in Campo Jofre. This is an excellent spot to find jaguars and ocelots.

To view the most wildlife and avoid the midday heat, drives usually take place in the early morning and late afternoon. We also highly recommend nighttime drives, when we use spotlights to find wildlife more easily. Among the mammals we commonly observe at night are crab-eating foxes, tapirs, ocelots and, with a little luck, jaguars.


MonkeyWe have built a network of trails through the Reserve. The trails allow guests to explore a variety of the Pantanal’s habitats, from grasslands to forests. Most of our trails are loops, so hikers can spend as much or as little time as they wish exploring.

Walking in the Pantanal enables you to view wildlife up-close and to get to know the plants of the area. The mammals our guests most often see while hiking are capuchin monkeys, black and gold howler monkeys, and South American coati. It is often possible to follow the monkeys as they travel across the forests – an unforgettable experience. Birding along the trails is also excellent. Many grassland and forest species are abundant; our guides can help you locate less common species as well.

Our staff is very familiar with the Pantanal’s plants and trees. We will be happy to help you identify common species and relate to you the medicinal and culinary uses of various plants.

Boat trips

Pixaim RiverWe have our own six-passenger boat to take guests on the Cuiabá River. We are also happy to arrange boat trips on the Pixaim River. Additional boats are available for hire for larger groups. Both rivers can be reached in less than an hour from the Reserve.

Boat trips provide an excellent opportunity to view giant river otters up-close. This is often a highlight of visitors’ trips to Brazil. In the dry season, we occasionally see jaguars on the exposed beaches of the rivers – a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Other wildlife commonly seen on the river are capybara and caiman. Birds frequently encountered include kingfishers, egrets, storks, herons and terns.

If you have the time, we highly recommend adding an early morning or evening boat trip to your itinerary. It allows you to enjoy a spectacular sunrise or sunset, while viewing wildlife from a unique perspective. We can also teach you how to fish for piranha!


Other activities

CrocadilesAt the Jaguar Ecological Reserve we will do everything necessary to make your stay as fulfilling as possible. If you have any special interests or needs, just let us know and we can design a perfect itinerary. For example, depending on the season we can arrange extended fishing trips or camping. We can take you to neighboring ranches should you wish to learn more about the local culture. We regularly host professional photographers and film crews for extended periods.

Our guides can also accompany you to other destinations in the Pantanal or beyond. Should you wish to spend time at another lodge, we can make arrangements for you. A popular destination outside the Pantanal is Chapada dos Guimarães – a spectacular area of red cliffs, waterfalls, and arid cerrado landscapes located approximately 55 kilometers from Cuiabá. Our guides regularly lead trips to Chapada and will be happy to accompany your group. Spending a day or two in Chapada allows visitors a glimpse at a completely different ecosystem than the Pantanal. Birders will delight in the many endemic species present in Chapada.

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*All photos copyright Mark Van Coller or Jaguar Ecological Reserve. We are grateful to our guests for their contributions.