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Back to Brazil: Ultimate PantanalOctober 2014 (Exact dates TBD)
Priced from: TBD
This is a trip preview. The final itinerary, rates, expedition vessel, and leaders will be available shortly. Please let us know if you would like to be notified by email once this trip is released.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1 USA
Depart from the USA on your independent overnight fl ight to Rio de Janeiro.
Day 2 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Arrive Rio de Janeiro and transfer to our hotel. After brunch depart for an afternoon at the Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro, a microcosm of Brazil, showcasing Victoria Amazonica lilies, over 700 species of orchid, and supporting many of the region’s birds. We also ride a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf for views of the city and beaches. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the Caesar Park Hotel.
Day 3 Rio de Janeiro / Iguaçu Falls
After our short flight from Rio, we arrive at Iguaçu Falls. Enjoy a leisurely walk to admire the Brazilian side of the falls and enjoy a panoramic view. Dinner and overnight for the next two nights at Cataratas Hotel Iguaçu.
Day 4 Iguaçu Falls
We have a full day to explore Iguaçu Falls, one of the world’s most dramatic waterfalls. Today we visit the Argentinean side of the two-and-a-half-mile-wide falls to enjoy a combination of whitewater, rain forest, and birdlife, including caciques, toucans, and woodpeckers. Of special interest are the kettles of swifts as they swirl and dart through the spray behind the falls. The endangered tegu lizard is relatively common here, and the number of butterflies is astounding.
Day 5 Iguaçu Falls / Vitória /Santa Teresa
This morning we board our flight to Vitória, then drive to Santa Teresa, a charming city whose tiled-roof farmhouses reveal its 19th century Italian roots. Time permitting we visit the garden of the Mello Leitao Museum, where flowers and feeders attract multiple species of hummingbirds, including the swallow-tailed hummingbird, and perhaps the frilled coquette. Dinner and overnight for the next two nights at Solar dos Colibris.
Day 6 Santa Teresa / Muriqui Project / Lombardia Forest
After breakfast we drive to Santa Maria de Jetibá to visit the Muriqui Project whose mission is to study and conserve the populations and habitats of the northern muriqui. One of the world's most critically endangered primates, the muriqui is endemic to Brazil's Atlantic rain forest region. Our visit to the project will help support the conservation of this species. This afternoon we visit the Lombardia Forest, which shares parkland with the Augusto Ruschi Reserve, home to the buffy-headed marmoset. Birding here is rich and rewarding and we hope to find antbirds, manakins, puffbirds, toucanets, and more.
Day 7 Vitória / Belo Horizonte / Serra da Canastra National Park
After breakfast we depart to the airport for our flight to Belo Horizonte. From here, an overland drive to Serra da Canastra National Park takes us across the central part of Minas Gerais. The hilly landscape is dotted with farms and pastures and the occasional dark patch of forest. Dinner and overnight for the next three nights at Chapadao da Canastra.
Day 8-9 Serra da Canastra National Park
This vast area of mountains and grasslands, Serra da Canastra National Park, presents a spectacular backdrop to our two days of exploration. The wooded gullies and rolling savannas support unusual birds, as well as the world's highest concentration of giant anteaters.
Day 10 Serra da Canastra National Park / Caraça Natural Park
Today we set out overland to Caraça National Park with stops for photos, birding, and lunch en route. Set among tall mountains and lush forest, this park was originally a seminary retreat. Our accommodations for the next two nights are in renovated rooms in a wing of the original 17th-century seminary, surrounded by parklands among high mountains and lush forest. Tonight we gather outside the church, hoping to witness the maned wolf that often comes to take meat.
Day 11 Caraça Natural Park
We have a full day to explore the Caraça wilderness on various walks with special focus on the endangered masked titi monkey, often located early in the morning by its laughing call. The birds of the area that we hope to find include the swallow-tailed cotinga and the hyacinth visorbearer.
Day 12 Caraça Natural Park / Belo Horizonte / Cuiaba River
We depart Caraça this morning and drive to Belo Horizonte. From there we fly to Cuiaba for dinner and overnight at Intercity Cuiaba Hotel.
Day 13 Cuiaba / Pantanal
We rise early and set out for the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a Biosphere Reserve. The first 60 miles are through a disturbed cerrado transition ecosystem that leads to the raised-dirt highway known as the Transpantaneira. Suddenly, wildlife abounds; this is one of the finest birding regions on Earth. The astonishing biodiversity here includes an incredible array of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Fish concentrate in the few seasonal pools, which are crowded with storks, herons, spoonbills, ibises, and limpkins. We continue through a diverse blend of cattle country, forest, and swamps, with stops for observation and photography. Arrive at Araras Eco Lodge and watch the crowded bird feeders, look for the rare and beautiful hyacinth macaw, seek out local mammals, or simply relax. After dusk an entirely new wildlife world emerges and we set out for a spotlighting excursion after dinner to look for great potoo, crab-eating foxes and raccoons, and other mammals including the possibility of ocelots. Dinner and overnight at Araras Eco Lodge.
Day 14 Pantanal / Pixaim River
We enjoy wildlife viewing in the vicinity of Araras before moving south to the Pixaim River. Along the way, we make stops for birds, nature-viewing, and photography as we head deeper into the Pantanal. We scan wetland areas for capybara and marsh deer, and stop to admire the immense treetop nests of the jabiru stork. In the afternoon we spend time on the Pixaim River, searching for the family of giant river otters that makes its home here. Dinner and overnight at the Mato Grosso Hotel.
Day 15 Pixaim River
To fully explore this rich wetland area, we spend the day in boats on the Pixaim River to watch some of the area’s innumerable riverine birds, including kingfishers, terns, and skimmers, and keep a lookout for howler and capuchin monkeys, jacaré caimans, and capybaras. Dinner and overnight at Mato Grosso Hotel.
Day 16 Curicaca Reserve
This morning, we depart for Curicaca Wildlife Reserve. Set back from the Transpantaneira Road, our wonderful lodge offers additional opportunity for exploration and possible mammal encounters as we keep a special lookout for Brazilian tapir. Dinner and overnight at Curicaca Eco-Lodge.
Day 17 Cuiaba / Sao Paulo / USA
After a morning at leisure we return to Cuiaba for our flight to Sao Paulo, then connect to your independent flight back to the USA.
Day 18 Arrive USA
Arrive in the USA and connect with your flights homeward.