View Full Version : Pantanal - Where should I go ?

10-11-2009, 12:28 PM
I am planning a photo trip to the Brazilian Pantanal in August or September 2010. My target species are Jaguar and Giant Anteater. Plus of course all the other marvellous mammals and birds that thrive there.

So far I plan to concentrate on the Northern Pantanal between Pocone and Porto Jofre up to the Cuiaba river (Jaguar Research Centre). With perhaps a few days in the Chapada dos Guimaraes NP to be certain of the giant anteater.

If anyone has any useful recommendations on where to stay that would be really helpful.

10-15-2009, 10:58 AM
Si cualquier persona quiere contestar a esta interrogación en español. Ningún problema.

10-15-2009, 11:01 AM
Ou, naturalmente, português. Então também nenhum problema. Muito obrigado/Muchas gracias.

Adams Serra
11-11-2009, 08:01 AM
Hi Phil,
here is a link to a photographer that runs workshops at pantanal, he may be abble to help you.

11-11-2009, 09:33 AM
Thanks very much Adam. I will check out the link. Much appreciated.

11-30-2009, 11:15 AM
Regardless of whether you photograph jaguar it will be a great trip for wildlife.
We successfully shot Jaguar there from a boat in the Cuiaba River. We took the north road to Porto Jofre and had 2 days of following Jaguar from the river. At Porto Jofre there were two places to stay. On the right is a nice clean place to stay ,but the guide that was furnished was not helpful blasting upstream at full speed and seemed unaware of what we wanted-we shot nothing.
On the other side of the road is a fishing camp and the facilities are primitive (Very), however the owner -guide was able to put us on Jaguar 2 days after we slowly worked our way upstream(may have been luck since limited communication between us ,but understood what we wanted)
To see samples go to my website to Brazil gallery or just search for Jaguar. These were put up before I developed more skill with PS and sharpening ,but gives an idea of potential.
Let me know how you did and send me a report of conditions now. I know Joe McDonald has recently run photo tours to that area and been successful with Jaguar-see his website.

12-01-2009, 04:59 AM
Thanks a lot Charles - that's useful to know. I am so looking forward to this trip. I am now booked and will be spending four mornings on the Cuiaba so have reasonable expectations of jaguar. But it sounds as though there is so much else to see that I will be busy taking photos whatever I come across. Our guide comes recommended so that should improve our chances of good sightings. The prospect of this trip is so exciting I am already starting to think about a return visit !

I checked out your photos - so now I am even more ready to go. Lovely shot of a jaguar in a tree. What size lens was that ? Also awesome giant otter photos.

Do you have any advice on how to take photos from the boats they use on the river ? I am looking at a lightweight carbon fibre tripod with a Mongoose head, a BushHawk Rifle Grip, a Monopod, hand holding or a combination of all four. I am struggling to decide. I will be using Canon 7Ds with a 70-300mm DO and a 400mm f4 DO (with or without 1.4x). Weight is a factor (hence the DO lenses - they are more or less air-portable). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

12-01-2009, 12:43 PM
Just for my interest ,who did you decide on as guide in case I want to go back ?
The fishing camp at Cuiaba River was Oscar's Fish Camp and our guide was Oscar.
In the boat I had the 600mm Canon on tripod and 100-400 mm zoom hand held. The 600mm got a few pics ,but the 100-400 mm turned out to be the most useful lens so you should be fine, although on land the 600mm with tripod was more useful for the birds(large and small) . I will post a head shot of Jaguar on animal forum to give you an idea ,since photo shot with zoom at 400mm.Canon Mark II ,Iso 800ISO. Noise of the MArk II somewhat masked by contrast of picture.
The Otter shots were on a tributary of Cuiaba from the Mato Grosso Hotel(Best Western) on the north road where a family of Otters were some what habituated to fresh caught fish(Piranha) by the guide . Also fresh caught fish by the guide also helped with Kingfisher,Fish Hawk and Crocodile photos. The guide was from the hotel ,but spoke no English but was well aware of what we wanted.

12-02-2009, 08:29 AM
The guide I have booked, Charles, is not affiliated to any of the lodges. His name is Luis and will accompany us throughout our trip - and speaks good English. So I have high hopes that he will find us lots to photograph.

Thanks for the lens/tripod info. I am now wondering whether my 100-400 might be better than my 70-300 for jaguar photos. At the moment I am having a few problems getting sharp results from my 70-300 so I will try to test the micro-focus adjustment on the lens to see if that helps. Though I suspect that mostly the problem is with poor contrast subjects.

I will check out your jaguar photo post.

Tom Friedel
01-06-2010, 09:39 PM
I wrote about my trip to the Pantanal here: http://www.birdphotos.com/photos/node/94

04-15-2010, 10:41 PM
Hi Phil,

I just returned from a 3 days trip to Pantanal, I am Dane and is living in the south of Brazil. There are many great Fazendas in Pantanal, the one i used during this stay was called www.Fazendabaiagrande.com.br, what was very special about this place was that the owner is an avid photographer and birdwatcher and he has collected more then 6 pages printed with mapping of all different birds seen on the Fazenda (1800 Hectares). further he and his colleague Adriano will find you any animal, they know the Pantanal as their own pocket. Adriano is native and is the type that walks through areas with water up to his neck with plenty of anacondas, piranhas and caimans around, but with only his knife as protection, all this just to get to a nice fishing place....

you can reletively easy find the giant anteater, but also the Lear's Macaw, Anodorhynchus leari would be possible to find. I was able to follow a couple trying to find a nesting place. below is a couple of photos....

1/800 sec f /8.0 iso 800 560 mm 200-400 VR x 1.4, D700 handheld


Night shot; 1/40 sec f /4.0 iso 6400 400 mm 200-400 VR, D700 handheld

04-26-2010, 04:19 AM
BRK: Many thanks for the recommendation. I will check out their website. I am really looking forward to this trip. I am just trying to work out the best camera supports for the boat rides. At the moment I am favouring a monopod with a 'large foot'.

12-07-2010, 11:42 AM

My trip to Pantanal was great. Our local guide was from Argentina - he was employed by Trogon Tours, a company that run lots of trips to the Pantanal. I saw five jaguars in all - in four days at Porto Jofre. Including a mating pair in the open on a sandbank ! ! The jaguars mated five times in 40 minutes and we were the only boat there. Neither boatman nor guide had seen such a great sighting in 30 odd years. So I did very well. Maybe I am a cat-magnet !

All the best. Phil