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Brazil Park Profiles
Best parks to visit on your Brazil tour
One of the most rewarding and abundant wildlife destinations on our beautiful planet. Many of our clients return from a visit here with a mammal list of 30+ and a birding list well into 200's. However it is not just the wildlife which is so accommodating, but also the warm friendly local guides and relaxing 'humidity free' boat rides which make a Brazil tour to the Pantanal so enjoyable.
So we have two different options for the boat trips which produce 90% of the Jaguar sightings on any visit to the Pantanal; we can either take you to the much less touristy Rio Paraguay via Cuiaba and then a boat journey from Carceres. Or take you on a private car journey with expert guide, down the famous unsealed Transpantaneira road for boat safaris out on Porto Jofre on the Cuiaba River. This season our clients taking 4 days of private boat safaris on the Cuiaba saw rougly twice as many Jaguars compared to the Rio Paraguay. However in August and early September it can get very busy on the Cuiaba, so we would help you choose the best dates to suit the experience you want. Actually on the journey down the Transpantaneira we take the time to visit differnent ecosystems which attract different wildlife. A stop at the Rio Claro river is perfect for Giant River Otters and occasionally Ocelot at night. Whereas, further up the road Pousad Alegre is excellent for Tapir and Giant Anteater - not seen in the wetter areas close to the Cuiaba.
Chapada dos Guimarães
Great option to add on to a Pantanal tour, as it is easily included from Cuiaba and your local private guide will have visited many times and know the best trails to take to see certain higher altitude bird species and maybe even the elusive Giant Anteaters and Maned Wolf. The red sandstone cliffs are also home for Red-and-green and Blue-winged Macaws, Biscutate Swifts and some big raptors too, including Ornate and Black-and-white Hawk-Eagles, Crowned Eagle and Black-chested Buzzard Eagle.
Emas National Park
Deep in the heart of the Brazilian Cerrado lies Emas National Park, an up and coming park which is becoming a reliable location to see both Maned Wolf and Giant Ante=eater. The typical Cerrado habitat of flat grasslands, intersepersed with hills and patched of lowe level forests, provide many good vantage points from which we can scan the landscape for a variety of Cerrado wildlife. A good half-day drive from Cuiaba, but worth it, as some to the second biggest population of Blue-and-Yellow Macaws outside Amazonia and healthy populations of Pampas Deer and Great Rheas. There is also the incredible natural phenomen of the bioluminescence of thousands of beetle larvae to conincide with the millions of hatching termites which will take off after the first rains in September/October and me drawn to the 'deadly lights'.
Although there are several famous lodges in the south which have attracted Jaguar enthusiasts in the past, such as Caiman Lodge and Barranco Alto Eco-Lodge our experience during our multiple visits to the Pantanal, is that these lodges attract people looking for a combination of wildlife and soft adventure (kayaking, horse riding), as apposed to the more full on wildlife enthusiasts who are our main clients.
Wildlife Trails was one of the first companies to connect the North and South Pantanal up by private boat transfer between Corumba in the south and Porto Jofre in the north. A full day boat trip along both the Rio Praguay and Rio Cuiaba. Although not rich in wildlife along the whole length of these waterways, it is a fascinating insight into this huge wetland and passes through a Jaguar Reserach Station and smaller waterways used by the BBC to film a documentary about Piranha.
It may well come as a bit of a shock to you when flying north from Rio or Sao Paulo to Manaus on your Brazil Tour. After an hour or so of untouched Amazon Rainforest you suddenly fly into a sprawling city of over 3 million inhabitants and the dreams of absolute wilderness, huge tropical trees and abundant wildlife seem a long way away - what to do? Relax and enjoy a visit to the local markets, the beautiful Opera House and of course the 'must do' boat ride to the 'meeting of the waters' but then have your plan B. If you want a real Amazon experience you need to go much deeper into the forest and for us and many of our clients that means a flight to Tefe and then a boat ride to a beautifully located stilted rainforest lodge, where Sloth, Monkeys and Pink River Dolphins live an undisturbed life. Yes, there are many jungle lodges within driving distance of Manaus, but remember that that this number of people, many of who have boats, will cause a level of noise and disturbance that will affect your chances of seeing wildlife and enjoying a true Amazon experience.
There are also options from Manaus to take very comfortable 1 week or longer Amazon cruises deep into the central Amazon and with regular jungle walks and small boat safaris, you will have a chance to see a side of the Amazon not available to visitors who stay in one place.
We also recommend a visit from Cuiaba to Alta Floresta, where one amazing lady has saved a patch of rainforest on the southern periphary of this huge forest (the area most under attack!) and created a magnificent lodge which is a birders paradise; pretty good for primates as well - the property is Cristalino Lodge.
Canastra National Park
A real favourite of Wildlife Trails clients since 2007, as many of Brazil's top wildlife guides choose to live in the clean and wildlife rich state of Minas Gerais and in particular its capital, Belo Horizonte. So we are able to have guides who we call friends drive our clients to this jewel of a national park, which is only 5 hours away. There are some charming but simple lodges to stay in just outside of the park, many of which have bird feeders which attract some local specialities. Then you have the option to drive to either the lower or upper Canastra. The lower is a great birding trail and with its decent tract of forest where MArmosets are seen and stunning views of the bottom of the falls, a great way to start your trip. However it is the upper Canasta which holds the very real promise of both Maned Wolf and Giant Anteater sightings and for the very lucky, maybe even Puma and Pangolin. It is fair to point out that the notoriously shy Maned Wolf may be distant viewings through your guides scope; but on the other hand you can get pretty close to the delightful Anteaters.
Caratinga Biological Station
There are very few fragments of Altantic Rainforest left in Brazil, due to the human habit of colonizing the coast first and making use of the abundant trpocal forest found next to the sea. So it is a joy to find such an untouched forest as Caratinga; particularly because of the relative ease of seeing the 4 resident primate species. The star attraction of Caratinga is the Muriqui or Wooly Spider Monkey. This is the largest primate in the Americas, the largest mammal endemic to Brazil and one of the most endangered primates on Earth. The other 3 primates are the Marmoset, Capuchin and Howler Monkeys. Caratinga is a mecca for birders as well, with chances to see Rufous-capped Motmot, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Blue-winged Macaw, Flame-capped (Golden-capped) and Blue-throated Parakeets. So why not join Wildlife Trails on a Brazil tour which combines Caratinga with the Pantanal?
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