It’s a common misconception that the best place in Brazil for wildlife viewing is the Amazon Rainforest. In fact, the vegetation there tends to be so thick and tangled that it can be difficult to see much of anything, even if it’s being clearly pointed out to you. No, if it’s wildlife you want, then Brazil’s Pantanal
region, spanning the world’s largest inland wetland area, is where you need to be. The landscape is far more open here, so the Pantanal’s spectacular biodiversity is far easier to identify.
Here you can watch chubby capybaras, toothsome caimans (watch for the red pinpricks of their eyes in the dark) and playful river otters, but the principal attraction is the one that all of these creatures keep a watchful eye out for: the jaguar. Now, we can’t promise you that you’ll see jaguars during big cat safaris in the Pantanal. But we can
assure you that that you stand a better chance of seeing them here than pretty much anywhere else.
The northern Pantanal has the highest concentration of jaguars in the world, and their natural terrain is the vegetation lining the Cuiabá riverbanks. Boat safaris cruise slowly down the river into jaguar country from Porto Jofre at the end of the Transpantaneira road, and there is prolific success in finding the cats watching warily from the trees, basking in the sunshine or even hunting. Jaguars are keen swimmers and will often make a leap for an incautious caiman.