A well-kept secret of wildlife lovers and nature photographers around the world, the Pantanal shines as Brazil’s best region for animal watching. The world's largest floodplain has an incredible quantity of birds, reptiles and big mammals because of its rich geography.
It's a seasonal wetland that spends part of the year underwater and all its natural species are adapted to this reality. For photographers and those looking to get really close to animals that exist only in one of the last large untouched natural reserves on Earth, the dry season is paradise.
From May to October, immense flocks of birds come in search for fish, as some 200 species reside in the temporary lagoons and oxbow lakes. These birds include roseate spoonbills, wood storks and jabirus. Caimans and capybaras in turn are drawn to the water by the birds. And at the top of this food chain is the much sought-after jaguar.
This abundance of food and diversity is particularly evident in the Northern Pantanal, homeland of the jaguar – known here as the onça-pintada – the largest and most elusive feline in the Americas. Also, the giant otters, neotropical otters, greater rhea and other species aren't scared off by human presence.
Also, the fact that there are no hills in these open plains make the scenery even better for spotting wildlife. During the dry season, there is the added bonus of the beautiful ipê trees in bloom. Those interested in cultural differences get to observe the daily lives of the “pantaneiros,” local cowboys who engage in a seasonal work-life herding cattle in the wetlands.