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Pantanal Brazil Jaguar, Wildlife, and Nature Photography Tour


Experience and photograph the best place to see jaguars in the wild. Join us for an unforgettable wildlife photography tour at the world-famous Pantanal in Brazil.

Jaguars are the star of the show on this wildlife photography tour in Brazil. This Pantanal jaguar tour is during the dry season, which is historically the best time to spot jaguar and when birds are concentrated in areas where there is still standing water. The feeding frenzies of hundreds of herons, ibis, storks, terns, screamers and jacanas, vying with dozens of hungry caiman, are an unforgettable sight to experience!

Jaguar portrait, Brazil © Greg Downing


Day 1, August 9
Arrival in Cuiabá, Brazil

Our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for the evening. Flights typically arrive in the evening.

Deville Prime Cuiabá (D)

Day 2–3, August 10–11
Transpantanal Highway, Boat Trips on the Pixaim River, Wildlife, and Bird Photography

Your Pantanal jaguar tour is ready to begin!

Traveling south along the TransPantanal highway will yield some truly amazing photo opportunities. Some sections of the highway are lined with thousands of caimans as well as waterbirds as far as the eye can see. Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns flit over isolated pools offering great chances to practice flight shots.

We’ll arrive at our next lodge, Pantanal Mato Grosso, for lunch. Boat trips on the Pixaim River are undoubtably the highlight of a stay at this lodge. Experienced boat drivers know how to get up close and personal with numerous herons (with luck both Agami and Boat-billed among the more common species), sunbittern, sungrebe, up to five species of kingfisher, giant otters, and maybe even a Brazilian tapir. The lodge area itself is an oasis full of birds any time of the day, and feeders bring in Chestnut-eared Aracari, Orange-backed Troupial, Grayish Saltator, Grayish Paywing, and others.

Gallery forest along the river is difficult for photography, but some photographers may want to give it a shot since it offers an escape from the blazing sun. With persistence and the help of your guide, you have chances to spot great birds like Pale-crested Woodpecker and Helmeted Manakin, or monkeys including Brown Capuchin and Silvery Marmoset. With so much diversity to photograph on this Pantanal wildlife tour, it’s a great opportunity to add many new species to your list!

Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso (B, L, D)

“On my first visit I was astounded by the variety of bird life in the Pantanal—most of them extremely tame and approachable, especially by boat. This is the best place in the world to photograph a variety kingfisher species at close range without any setup.”
–Greg Downing

Kingfisher profile, Pantanal © Greg Downing

Day 4, August 12
Transpantal Highway, Jaguar Photography

This morning during our Pantanal jaguar tour we will drive to the end of the TransPantanal Highway, making a few stops along the way in particularly productive areas. We’ll arrive at the very nice Hotel Porto Jofre in time for lunch. We will have five nights here in the heart of the best place in the world to see jaguars in the wild. Afternoons are often the best time to photograph them, and we’ll have our first outing after lunch.

Hotel Porto Jofre (B, L, D)

Days 5–8, August 13–16
Private Boat Excursions for Jaguar, Wildlife, and Bird Photography

Each morning and afternoon we will board our private boats searching for jaguars. There will be a maximum of 3 shooting participants per boat and we have the fastest boats on the river. This process involves cruising up smaller tributaries of the Cuiabá River and watching carefully for any movement or signs of jaguar. The boatmen are experts at this and share information with each other. If a cooperative jaguar is found by another boat, we’ll try to get to the spot as soon as possible. We also won’t ignore other photo opportunities, and should encounter the likes of sungrebes, Black-collared and Great-black Hawks, scores of herons and kingfishers, as well as giant otters, tapirs, capybara, and possibly even other cat species during this part of our Pantanal wildlife tour.

Hotel Porto Jofre (B, L, D)

Giant otter with prey, Pantanal © Greg Downing

Day 9, August 17
Bird Photography at Pousada Piuval

After one last search for jaguars, we head to Pousada Piuval at the northern edge of the Pantanal. Piuval is a truly amazing place for bird photography—numbers of both species and individuals can be astronomical, and the wide open nature of the area makes great shots a given. The habitat is a mosaic of open pasture, wetlands, and scrub interspersed with islands of forest. We will spend our time stalking the likes of Southern Screamer, Plumbeous Ibis, Red-legged Seriema, Bare-faced Curassow, Greater Rhea, Whistling Heron, Blue-fronted Parrot, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, White Woodpecker, and Red-crested Cardinal, to name just a few. This is also our best spot for Hyacinth Macaw, which can be seen in good numbers every day, and we’ll spend time trying to get the perfect shot of these majestic birds.

Pousada Piuval (B, L, D)

Day 10, August 18
Departure or Extension

After breakfast and a relaxing morning at Piuval reflecting on our trip or getting those last shots in we’ll head back to Cuiabá, arriving in the late afternoon for flights out of Cuiabá.

Those wishing to extend may opt to spend this night in Cuiabá.

Return home or overnight in Cuiabá (B)

Hyacinth Macaw in tree © Greg Downing


  • All accommodations, based on double occupancy (single supplement is $750)
  • All meals from dinner on August 9 to breakfast on August 18
  • Services of guides
  • 5 full days on a private boat on the Cuiabá River and tributaries (4 full days + 2 half days)
  • All photographic instruction
  • Airport transfers to and from hotels

Does Not Include

  • Round trip airfare to Cuiabá, Brazil
  • Fees for passport, immunizations, and travel insurance
  • Visas (Visas are required for U.S., Canadian, and Australian citizens)
  • Airport taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages or soft drinks while on the boat
  • Laundry, phone, and other items of a personal nature
  • Tips for the bus and boat drivers, lodge staff, and birding guide (may be arranged in advance)

If you would like to register for this workshop, please fill out our registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: Aug. 9-18, 2017 SOLD OUT
  • Cost: $6,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 8
Single Supplement: $750
Non-photographer Discount: $750 (share row of seats in boat)
The single supplement fee reflects our actual cost and is subject to availability. If you are a single traveler and we are unable to place you with a roommate, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.

Greg Downing

Greg Downing

Greg has been traveling the world teaching professional and amateur photographers for more than 15 years hosting his instructional workshops and seminars. Instructing photographers of all experience levels Greg has earned a reputation for his gracious and generous teaching style.

Greg’s images are known for their unique style, exacting composition and strict attention to detail. Continue reading »