jeremie

Pantanal trip planning

35 posts in this topic

Dears ST members,

 

I am currently planning a trip to Pantanal for July 2015.

I was initially considering Pouso Alegre, Barrenco Alto and Jaguar Extreme with South Wild, but the price is really high (4200 USD per person) and I would like to consider any other solution in Puerto Jofre.

 

What could you recommend me as an alternative to South Wild in order to see jaguars and giant river otters?

Does staying at Puerto Jofre and taking tours or guides allow to visit the same areas than the ones South Wild visit?

 

I would like to understand further more the options, areas, pro and cons of any solutions.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Jeremie

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Dears ST members,

 

I am currently planning a trip to Pantanal for July 2015.

I was initially considering Pouso Alegre, Barrenco Alto and Jaguar Extreme with South Wild, but the price is really high (4200 USD per person) and I would like to consider any other solution in Puerto Jofre.

 

What could you recommend me as an alternative to South Wild in order to see jaguars and giant river otters?

Does staying at Puerto Jofre and taking tours or guides allow to visit the same areas than the ones South Wild visit?

 

I would like to understand further more the options, areas, pro and cons of any solutions.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Jeremie

 

~ @@jeremie

 

Will your proposed Pantanal visit be in July, 2016?

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

@@jeremie there are some great trip reports on here about the Pantanal which you may have seen but just in case, I will put a couple of links and their authors may be able to shed some light about the costs: T

 

This one is by @@Atravelynn

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/11828-muriqui-monkey-mania-pantanal-pumapalooza/?hl=pantanal

 

This one is by @@Treepol

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/11322-macaws-monkeys-and-moai-6-weeks-in-the-pantanal-peru-and-polynesia/

 

and there are these by @@Bush dog

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/13219-barranco-alto-and-pantanal-a-yearly-appointment/?hl=pantanal

 

and this one by @@TonyQ

http://safaritalk.net/topic/13221-brazil-2014-pantanal-wonderland/?hl=pantanal

 

I had just gathered these for a friend not on ST who was thinking about going to the Pantanal. I'm sure I've missed some good ones too!

Edited by SafariChick
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@SafariChick: Thank you for the links, I have once read all the trips and in fact I discovered Barranco Alto through the TR on ST!

@Tom Kellie: Thank you for correcting the date :)

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Where would you stay with South Wild, at one of the Floatels? These are about 20 min upriver from Porto Joffre. the Hotel there is the better option IMO since you can explore the beautiful surroundings there and also have access to the Transpantaneira. Night drives there can be very rewarding, I saw Puma and Anaconda that way. On the Floatels you can't get out from what I've been told. The Floatels (there are several of them) and the Hotel access the same areas, no difference there. But the hotel is also quite expensive, and one needs to book very long in advance. A more budget-friendly option would be camping, Pantanaltrackers is offering that. Several Safaritalkers have gone with them.

 

http://www.pantanaltrackers.com.br/index.php/Pantanal-jaguar-tours/Camping-in-the-Pantanal.html

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Posted (edited)

@@michael-ibk I knew you had gone to Pantanal and done a TR also, how could I have left yours out? Shame on me! Here it is: http://safaritalk.net/topic/11651-brazil-september-2013/?hl=pantanal

 

How long in advance does one have to book the for the hotel there you mention, Michael? And how expensive? I'm going to be following this thread as Pantanal is on my list - I just find it a bit confusing with the north and the south and how to plan it all! And interested in knowing costs as well.

Edited by SafariChick

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Posted (edited)

@SafariChick

I will give you some few cost I got form different places:

 

Barranco Alto:

580 Br per night per person, on a base of 2 pax. Includes bilingual guide, all the meals, lodging..

You have to add transport which is really expensive form Campo Grande to the lodge. 850 Br the way in and same price for the way out. I assume this is the cost for the car, so that the price should be divided by the number of pesos using it.

 

Fazenda Pouso Alegre:

"550 Br for 2 persons, including 3 meals and apartment". It was only an estimation for 2016 prices from Luiz i asked at the end of 2014.

 

South Wild Jaguar Extreme:

They 3 different places where to stay. Jaguar floatel I and II is the same price and costs 4280 USD per person for 6N/7D if more than 4 persons book at the same time. If less than 4 persons book at the same time the price goes down to 3845 USD per person for 6N/7D. Both prices are for fixed departures.

Prices for Jaguar Suites is 5680 USD and varies according to the size of your group and if it is private or fixed departure.

Quite high for me!

 

I tried to get prices for Fazenda Sao Francisco where there is 60% to see ocelots but they derive me to an agency to combine Sao Francisco with FBA.

Edited by jeremie

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@

michael-ibk

 

Could you tell me a little more about the different options from Porto Jofre?

Have you traveled with Pantanal Trackers? How was the global service and the guiding which is the key?

 

What is the price for the hotel versus camping? How long does it take to go on the jaguar areas from Porto Jofre versus camping sites?

I guess you tried to go the earlier as posible on safari.

 

Thanks :)

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@@jeremie

We went to the Pantanal in September 2014

We booked flights Sao Paolo-Campo Grande, Campo Grande - Cuiaba, Cuiaba- Sao Paolo ourselves online.

 

We went to Barranco Alto first - we booked this directly with the lodge and used them to arrange the transfer. We flew in (charter) and drove out (but the flight is expensive). The cost of the overland transfer was for the vehicle, not per person. All of the arrangements worked well. Barranco Alto is an excellent lodge (we stayed 4 nights)

 

In the North we travelled with Pantanal Trackers . Pantanal Trackers is a one man operation - Julinho is the guide - he does not employ other guides.

He booked all of our Northern Trip. He picked us up from our Cuiaba Hotel and dropped us at Cuiaba airport at the end of the trip

 

We stayed 2 nights at Pouso Clara (good mix of activities), 3 nights Hotel Porto Jofre (very good hotel), 1 night Jaguar Eco Lodge (not great),3 nights Pouso Alegre (very good).

At Porto Jofre we had a half day on the river when we arrived, then a full day with packed lunch, then a morning and afternoon, and a morning on the day we left.

 

We used Julinho's car for transport and his boat at Porto Jofre (pictures of both in my trip report). He is a good guide.

 

I have not stayed on the "floatel" type accomodation , but as @@michael-ibk says, I think you are stuck on the boat (a long time if you are there for 6 nights). You have access to the same river wherever you stay. Hotel Porto Jofre has nice grounds to wander around. I am sure that camping would also give the option of some nice walking.

 

There are some lodges on the Transpantneira highway that offer trips on the river to see Jaguars - but some of these will have a very long drive (so a very early start) before you get to the river.

 

@@SafariChick

When we first contacted Julinho to book Hotel Porto Jofre (January for the following September), no rooms were available, but he put us on a wait list and we got a room (I think some tour companies make block, provisional bookings)

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Thanks a lot for all these very valuable comments!

 

I would love to go on with julinho and go for camping, I am just a bit afraid of the heat if going in July, as well as insects. I have been camping in Madidi and heat and mosquitoes was a major issue for my girlfriend!

 

@@TonyQ Do you remember prices for flights between Sao Paulo and Campo Grande, Sao Paulo to Cuiba and Campo Grande to Cuiba (only one way)?

Would you recommend TAM o GOL?

 

Cheers

 

Jeremie

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@@jeremie

Flight costs (total for 2 people) -in currency we paid

GOL Sao Paulo and Campo Grande Brazil Reis 257

AZUL Campo Grande -Cuiaba Brazil Reis 496

TAM Cuiaba-Sao Paolo UK£106

 

All of the flights were fine, planes seemed modern. I would use any of the airlines - we picked the most convenient timings if there was a choice.

We booked on line through the airline websites. GOL occasionally switched to Portuguese pages from English. One of the websites (I think GOL) would not accept foreign credit cards but did accept PAYPAL.

When travelling from (or to) Sao Paulo be aware that there is more than one airport in the city and they are quite a distance apart (in a city with bad traffic). We booked flights from the same airport as out international flight (Guarulhos) - it is an easy walk from one terminal to the other.

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I would recommend booking asap. I booked 1 year in advance for my trip this year and could not get the dates or the itinerary order that I wanted - there are many large photography tours travelling in the high season. The SouthWild accommodations especially tend to fill up very fast.

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@@jeremie @@SafariChick

 

I´m sorry I no longer have the pricing for Hotel Porto Jofre since I did not keep the booking correspondence. But I remember that it was the most expensive of the Transpantaneira lodges. Nowhere near the price level of high-end African safari lodges though, just "expensive" for the Pantanal. It´s also worth noting that they have Hyacinth Macaws around, it´s a perfect place to see these charismatic birds. Always lots of waterbirds on the pond, including Kingfishers, all kind of Egrets, Wood Storks and many more. When walking into the forest we also found monkeys and tracks of Jaguar and Tapir.

 

We booked in October for the next year and had wanted to go a bit earlier than we did. Since Porto Jofre was all booked we had to settle for end of September.

 

I think it´s probably around 20 minutes to the area where all the floatels are mooring, and another 15 minutes to the Jaguar hotspots. But you can see all kind of things everywhere on the river, including jaguars. The best place would probably be the meeting of the waters, where the three rivers converge. So location-wise I don´t see an advantage of the floatels. We did leave early each morning but had all our sightings (eight in three days) a bit later in the day when it had warmed up. So it is not necessarily early bird that catches the worm. But it helps to get away from the crowds, and especially around the Meeting of the Waters it can definitely get crowded.

 

We had no problems with insects whatsoever, but we were there in September.

 

I did not go with Pantanaltrackers but this company: http://www.pantanal-pocone.net/en/index.php

 

I was very happy with our guide who put in long hours on our behalf but since he doesn´t speak English (only German and Portuguese) he wouldn´t be of much use to you.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all your kind replies, I have already contacted Julinho to see his availability and tariffs.

I have only one doubt if it would be worth contracting Julinho for Pouso Alegre or stay there alone, according to Luiz from this Fazenda, guiding is not included in the price but can be offered. I quote Luiz for those who would be interested to set any trip in Pouso Alegre.

 

 

A guide that don´t spaeak English is available and costs R$60,00 per period (morning or afternoon).

If you need a English speking guide I can book for you.
The price now is R$300,00.
The transfer from Cuiabá until here is R$280,00. Both ways is R$560,00.
Rent a car is cheaper. Can be a simple car. Isn´t necessary a 4x4.

 

Well as spanish speaking persons we can understand portuguese so that we have to see Julinho's offer.

Cheers

 

Jeremie

Edited by jeremie

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I've just returned from a trip to the Pantanal, and I can add the following regarding jaguar sightings from Porto Joffre:

 

Recently the boats have been travelling down the river from Porto Joffre as well as up (the traditional direction). While this area is no longer part of the park, jaguar sightings have become reasonably regular in that direction as well. The flotel boats tend to stay on the other end, so sightings in the other direction can be less crowded. We had a female with two fairly grown cubs in that area, and the most we had where four boats at that sighting.

 

In contrast, a member of our group who went in the opposite direction one day counted thirty boats at one sighting (this was at a time when everybody was heading back to their accommodation, so the circumstances were a bit unusual). There were two BBC film crews around as well. But certainly it seems the larger area is becoming viable for jaguars which are relaxed enough to allow themselves to be seen.

 

We stayed at the hotel in Porto Joffre. Sorry, this was part of an organized trip so I have no pricing to share. I found the hotel much less pleasant than the three fazendas we stayed at. It feels a bit `industrial'. Biting insects were defnitely an issue anywhere near the forest, at any time of day. They're not a problem on the river when the boat is moving, but they'll find you if you stay in one place. Something I hadn't expected is that they seemed to specialize in biting through clothing - the strategy that has worked for me in the past is to cover up, and treat exposed areas with repellent. But we still got bites because they'd get to work wherever clothes were stretched a bit over the skin (for example the knees when you're sitting in a boat). Typically we didn't notice this while we were out and about - looking at jaguars, birds, and so on, tends to be a bit distracting. But we certainly experienced the after-effects (and I still do).

 

There was a heatwave on while we were in the Pnatanal, and it was rather hotter than expected for the time of year. This meant that morning activities tended to end earlier, and afternoon ones started later. I usually use such downtime to wander around the grounds of whetever lodge I'm staying at, but after noon it was just too hot to bother (and our sightings in the last hour of the morning drive/first hour of the afternoon) were pretty poor. Certainly an air-conditioned room is very nice in those sorts of circumstances.

 

Our best jaguar sighting was at Barranco Alto, as it happens. We had two hours with a very relaxed male who allowed us to get fairly close. You mentioned ocelots: There is a lodge in the Southern Patanal (Aguape) where ocelots have become habituated (through fishermen throwing them heads and tails when cleaning fish), and we had a very nice session with an ocelot there.

 

This was a trip organized by a Brazilian photographer, who knows all the locations very well and who made arrangements for our group outside of the standard activities provided. (We still had their vehicles and drivers/guides, but we went out when and where it suited our interests - we had 90 minutes or so with the ocelot, rather than just seeing it in a drive-by which they usually do.)

 

Aguape also had hyacinth macaws nesting just outside the reception building. These birds were very much used to people moving very close to the nest (I was a bit surprised that they'd picked that location), and if that should recur very close sightings would be guaranteed. There they also feed birds (which seems to be less common in the Pantanal than in lodges in the rainforests), and we had our closest sightings of toco toucans there as well. The lodge was fairly busy while we were there, and the guests were a bit more in the `general tourist' category (but there was also a Dutch birdng group while we were there). We only stayed two nights, but I'm glad we visited it.

 

We stayed at Aguape, Barranco Alto, the Porto Joffre hotel, and Araras lodge. I'd be happy to answer questions I can help with.

 

Andrea

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Going soon to Porto Jofre, i ll let you know how it goes once we are back. Great time to book a trip to Brazil given the exchange rate. It has never been so cheap...

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@@jeremie I would not recommend going to Pouso Alegre without a guide, especially if you are also without a car. We met some people who were unguided and they were a bit frustrated. Perhaps if you still want to go down that path make sure to agree in advance a few sessions with Luiz and a car, as he might not be available if you ask too late - while the lodge grounds are productive you really need a car to get to the places where the tapirs and anteaters come to drink and you cannot miss wildlife watching by car. The same folks who were frustrated at being unguided tried to convince our guide to join us - I think that is rude, people are on private tours for a reason and it's not nice to force them to answer that question. Folks in a group obviously do not appreciate outsiders either as they are already crowded as it is.

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Thank you very much to both of you. @cheetah80 do you mean it would be better to go with a profesional guide, not the one offered by Luiz?

I was indeed considering the possibility to go with Julinho.

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I would love to go back to the Pantanal! :)

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I still want to go for the first time at some point!

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Thank you very much to both of you. @cheetah80 do you mean it would be better to go with a profesional guide, not the one offered by Luiz?

I was indeed considering the possibility to go with Julinho.

 

@@jeremie If Luiz can promise to offer you a guide it's good - the only issue here is to make sure that at least for some of the time you have a booked guide with a vehicle. Of course a professional guide would be best, there are many very good ones if Julinho is booked. But as long as you agree something with Luiz beforehand it should be ok.

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Hi,
Please can you suggest good guides as Julinho is already fully booked for Aug, 2016.

 

Thanks

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@@kavitachoudhary89 we met Fabricio Dorileo in the Pantanal at Pousada Alegre in 2013 when we were travelling with Julinho, even did a night drive with him and his clients. He seemed to be a knowledgeable and easy-going guide, keen to show his clients as much of the Pantanal as possible in the time available.

 

His company is called Pantanal Explorer

 

I think he was atravelynn's guide in 2007 (?) when he was working someone else, however since then Fabricio has set up his own company. If I were to return to the Pantanal for third trip, I would seriously consider him for a guide.

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Posted (edited)

I can also highly recommend our guide and tour company, Pantanal Jaguar Safaris http://www.pantanaljaguarsafaris.com The owners are two wildlife biologists--a husband and wife, Leen Gillis and Andre Moretelli. (She is Belgian and he is Brazilian, born in the Pantanal area.) Andre was our guide and we had a fabulous trip, he is extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife and the area, and great fun to be with. They own their own boat docked at Porto Jofre so Andre (when he is the guide) serves as boatman and he really knows the waters.

 

They both speak fine English and Leen does all the booking work, she is very easy to deal with and very responsive to questions. Everything on our trip was perfect!

 

I would definitely go with them again if I return. They live in Chapada and also do extensive touring in that area and most of southern Brazil.

Edited by janzin

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