From the Cristalino and Teles Peres rivers in the Southern Amazon, to the immense lattice of waterways and floodland in the Pantanal, boats are at the centre of wildlife safaris in Brazil. In the northern Pantanal, you’ll find a number of “flotels” such as the Southwild Jaguar Suites; mobile structures built on a floating system and firmly fixed to the river banks, offering a prime combination of comfort and location. Thanks to balconies and completely unobstructed views of the forest and the rivers, wildlife can be seen directly from your hotel. In this region – home to the highest concentration of jaguars in the world - the third largest big cat in the world is best tracked and admired as it prowls and rests on the river banks. As a guest of the flotel, you’ll spend about 8 hours a day on the water, following the guidance of your expert guide as you are whisked from one end of the river to another in search of the majestic predator.
While the focus of these boat outings is to see jaguars, they present opportunities to see more, as the river is teaming with birdlife and other mammals such as capybara, giant river otter, deer and tapir. Further south, while staying at Refugio Ecologico Ararauna, you might enjoy a more leisurely outing on the calm waters of the Rio Correntoso. Running through this large privately-owned farmland, the river is full of exciting sightings. Otter, capybara, tapir, peccary, agouti, jaguar, ocelot, deer, feral pig, coati, spider monkey, howler monkey and more birds than you knew existed…
My favourite water-based safari in Brazil: a sunset canoeing excursion on the Correntoso River in the Southern Pantanal, trying to keep up with a family of giant river otters on the hunt for fish.
The light was stunning and the rainforest came alive as the burning sun gave us some respite.