At the end of the Transpantaneira Road winds a labyrinth of rivers on which our specially-trained trackers and boatmen show guests Jaguars on average 1.5 times each day.

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Cuiabá is the capital city of Mato Groso state and is your gateway to the northern Pantanal where you will see incredible animals and plants of the world’s largest freshwater wetland.

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Brazil takes up half the area of South America and is bordered by every other South American country except Chile and Ecuador. It then meets with the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Because of its incredible size, the 5th largest nation on earth, Brazil includes a diversity of biomes including savannas, tropical and subtropical forest, and wetlands.

The Brazilian Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest has been called the lungs of the Earth and contains the largest amount of the world’s most untouched tropical forest. Brazil contains the majority of the rainforest, around 60%, and here you can find protected areas aiming to conserve the Amazon and it’s wildlife against the continuing threats of deforestation.

The tropical north contains the largest portion of Amazon Rainforest in the states of Acre, Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Roraima, and Amapá with a smaller amount of the tropical forest stretching into the central state of Matto Grosso.

The Brazilian Amazon Rainforest is the largest section of Amazonia. From Tabatinga in the west to Belem in the east, the Brazilian Amazon is incredible. To put the Brazilian Amazon into perspective, Brazil contains 60% of the entire Amazon Rainforest with Peru holding the second highest amount of 16%. This translates to about 3, 300, 000 km of the Amazon Rainforest being contained by Brazil. Within this vast tract of forest, you can find incredible tropical rainforest life including Amazon icons, such as Jaguar, Tapir, Giant Ottters and Harpy Eagles. Many species of Amazon life are only found in Brazil, such as the Aracá uakari (Cacajao ayresi).

You can visit many different Amazon Rainforest lodges or cruise the Amazon River and take professionally guided walks into surrounding forest. Some of the Amazon base cities and towns include:


Manaus is a busy industrial port of the Amazon River and is the largest city in the rainforest. Here you can visit several Amazon lodges and cruise the Amazon River itself. To help with any confusion, the Amazon River is known in Brazil as the Rio Solimões from Manaus (the confluence of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões) east to its emergence into the Atlantic Ocean just above Belem.

Anavilhanas Reserve
The Anavilhanas or the Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas is a protected area near Manaus concentrated around the Amazon River and its banks. The Anavilhanas covers hundreds of Amazonian islands over an area of 100, 000 hectares as well as 260, 000 hectares of riverside forest.

Jau National Park
Jau National Park is the largest national park in the Amazon region and is a protected area of tropical forest within the Rio Negro watershed. Jau National Park also protects the entire 1,000,000 ha watershed of the Jaú River. With a park of this size (2,272,000 hectares), the wildlife protected is incredible including many emergent trees, endemic and threatened species, and keystone animals. The park provides habitat for the Amazon’s top predators, such as Harpy Eagle, Jaguar and Mountain Lion as well as Giant Amazon Otters and Manatees.


Santarém is a lesser known Amazon Rainforest gateway than its larger neighbours of Manaus and Belem, but offers a unique look at a variety of lakes formed near the city. As with many Amazon cities and towns, before European colonisation the area was inhabited by an indigenous community. The community here were known as the Tapajós, where the Rio Tapajós and the protected area accessible from the city got their names.

Aquarium Lakes
Santarém provides access to some beautiful ‘Aquarium Lakes’ where you can see many tropical fish in their natural habitat. These lakes surround Santarém due to geographical features, as well as the Tapajós River, which emerges just west of the city and combines with the Amazon River. This merger of a creamy brown Rio Amazonas and a darker Rio Tapajós means Santarém has its own meeting of the waters, a phrase more famously known in Manaus due to the merger of the Rio Amazonas and Rio Negro.

Floresta Nacional do Tapajós
To the south west of Santarém, along the Rio Tapajós, is the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós protected area where you can hike, canoe and stay for a few days to sample the Amazon and its wildlife. The Floresta Nacional do Tapajós is an example of community governed forest, which is separated in different uses, such as regeneration, sustainable harvesting (non-logging), total preservation, and logging research.

Pantanal Wetlands

The world’s largest continuous freshwater wetland (54,000 miles² | 140,000 km²), the Pantanal is home to incredible wildlife opportunities and ranks highly for ability to see some of tropical South America’s sort after nature sightings, such as Anaconda and Jaguar, which are often too elusive and difficult to spot in the rainforest. The Pantanal stretches across Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso states, also extending into Paraguay and Bolivia.

The Cerrado is a savanna-like environment that experiences a humid climate and an intense dry period. Many interesting animals are found here, such as Maned Wolves, Hyacinth Macaws and a unique population of tool-using Capuchin Monkeys. In addition to the animals, 44% of the plant life in the Cerrado is found nowhere else on Earth. The Cerrado is Brazil’s second largest habitat after the Amazon Rainforest mentioned above.

Atlantic Forest

One of the most threatened tropical forests on Earth, the Atlantic Forest is composed of tropical and subtropical habitats and extends down the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Very little of the original forest cover remains, but there is an extraordinary effort among businesses and NGOs to restore the area. Although severely deforested, around 50% of its animals and plants are only found in this forest making restoration and conservation a significant priority.

Cities of Interest

The main cities to base yourself for a Brazilian adventure are:

  • Brasilia | Brazil’s Capital, Culture and Itiquira Falls
  • Rio de Janeiro | Culture, Carnaval, Atlantic Forest gateway
  • Sao Paulo | Culture, Atlantic Forest gateway
  • Foz do Iguaçu | Iguaçu Falls
  • Salvador | Culture, History, Gastronomy, Atlantic Forest Gateway
  • Manaus | Amazon Rainforest Gateway
  • Santarem | Amazon Rainforest Gateway
  • Cuiaba | Pantanal Wetlands Gateway
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South America

South America

A continent of contrasts, South America split from the African landmass and joined with North America to merge a distinct set of flora, fauna and geographical features. The South American continent is bound by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west and is the jumping off point for Antarctica to the south. After the merger with North America, the Isthmus of Panama in the north would be the land bridge by which many different animals, including humans, migrated south into this diverse continent. Welcome to South America.

South American Rainforest

The largest tract of continuous rainforest on Earth is found in South America. The Amazon is larger than the other largest rainforests, the Congo Rainforest in West Africa and the New Guinean Rainforest in Australasia, combined. This incredible forest has filled the hearts and minds of naturalists and explorers for hundreds of years and can be accessed from any one of the nine nations it crosses. For the majority of Amazon tourists, the two countries to base themselves for an Amazon Adventure are Peru and Brazil, which contain the largest portions of the rainforest, but there are lesser known adventurous alternatives…

The Brazilian Cerrado

The Brazilian Cerrado is the country’s 2nd largest habitat after the Amazon Rainforest. The Cerrado is a tropical savanna habitat that experiences a humid climate. The habitat is home to many endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. Here you will see incredible wildlife, such as Endangered Maned Wolves, Hyacinth Macaws, and tool-using Capuchin Monkeys.

The Pantanal

The Pantanal Wetlands allows a higher chance of seeing some of the Amazon Rainforest’s most sort-after wildlife, such as Jaguar, Giant Otters and Capybara. The open and often treeless habitat means Capybara can roam the grasslands in huge numbers and animals cannot easily hide from view. Although lesser known than the Amazon, the Pantanal houses an equal concentration of wildlife to the densest areas in Africa.

Brazilian Atlantic Forest

When the Portuguese first set foot on South America over 500 years ago, they were met with the Atlantic Forest. One of the most threatened tropical forests, the Atlantic forest in southern Brazil is home to many highly threatened animals and plants. Over 85% of the original forest cover has been deforested, but because of its significance as a home for many endemic species, hundreds of businesses, NGOs and charities are working to restore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

South American Countries

The main countries that make up South America are, in order of highest population, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uraguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana (France).

Eco Regions in South America

Tourists can explore the different eco-regions in South America, which offer a chance to view breathtaking scenery, amazing wildlife and contrasting environments. You can explore the Amazon Rainforest or Atlantic Forest previously mentioned, the wetlands, which are home to abundant animals and plants, Andean Cloud Forest to see incredible bird life, the Atacama desert, Earth’s driest area, the Andean mountain range, the world’s longest mountain range, and the famous Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador to see uniquely famous animals and plants.

Wildlife and Protected Areas

Within these Bio Regions are the main National Parks that protect South America’s famous and world renowned wildlife for future generations. View the famous macaws of Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park and see Jaguar in the Pantanal.

Tourist Attractions – Culture, History and Nature

In addition to South America’s cities and bio regions, tourists flock to South America to see its rich cultural heritage for a glimpse into a land before the modern world as well as natural wonders, such as Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world’s highest waterfall.

South America History

Like the pyramids of Egypt, South America is home to its own archeological sites of now vanished societies. Machu Picchu in Peru alone draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to visit this mystical Incan ruin. As well as Machu Picchu, Peru is home to other archaeological sites like the Cradle of Gold and the latest tourist destination, the Northern Kingdoms.

There have been many different civilizations in South America, such as the Chavin, which spanned 900 BC to 300 AD, the Moche, from 100 BC to 700 AD, the Chachopayas, from 1000–1450, but none that have caught the public attention as much as the Inkas, which dominated the Andean region from 1438 to 1533 and were invaded by the Spanish in one of the most significant periods in South American history. To explore South America’s rich and interesting Archeological sites, travel to one of our popular Ancient Destinations.

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Our Jaguar Flotel is 2.5 km down Three Brothers River in Mato Grosso State and is reached from Cuiaba. After years of research and experience, we average 1.5 Jaguar sightings each day. Usually, most guests staying for 4 Days / 3 Nights end up seeing both Giant Otters and Jaguar.

Originally built in 2010, our Flotel is an air-conditioned floating hotel built with 10 double-occupancy rooms each with en-suite bathrooms, flushing toilets, and never ending hot water showers. The large, air-conditioned dining room / lounge area has picture windows to enjoy the views over the Pantanal. In addition to the dining room, you can enjoy the hammocks, sunbathe, or enjoy your breakfast, lunch and after-dinner drinks on the Flotel's spacious, partially-roofed top deck. Of a night, a generator powers the Flotel from a tug boat 40 meters from you accommodation to eliminate noise.


We have become familiar with the Jaguars in this large Jaguar Park and the individuals appear over and over again. We now have a face dossier of over 15 of the most frequently seen cats allowing us to map their overlapping territories.

The Pantanal's Big Three

The Pantanal is home to what has been termed the Big Three, which is made up of the Jaguar, Tapir, and the Giant Otter. You have a high probability of seeing all three on our combination six night trip on the South Wild Pantanal and Jaguar tour.

Giant Otters are usually seen on the South Wild Pantanal tour through November, but are also seen most days on trips from the Flotel. Some of the families are used to tourists, which allows for fantastic photo opportunities of these playful and highly social mammals. We offer a unique opportunity giving guests almost certain viewing of the Pantanal's Big Three.

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