Pantanal: South America’s wildlife paradise

The experience in the most extensive and diverse wetlands of the world generate true emotions. You will love this paradise, try to visit it and you will thank us.

The Pantanal is probably the largest seasonally flooded wetland on Earth covering more than 150,000 square km. Except for a smaller extension of less than 20% into Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal is mainly a Brazilian landform located in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. When the Paraguay River and its tributaries flood their banks (between late November and April), the region becomes one of the world’s most extensive wetlands. This rich floodplain supports one of the world’s largest inland concentrations of waterbirds, with approximately 450 species, it is one of the famed world’s birding sites. Jabiru storks, roseate spoonbills, white woodpeckers, hyacinth macaws, golden-collared macaws, wattled jacanas, sunbitterns, 5 species of toucans, snail kites, red-crested cardinals and black-collared hawks are some of the hundreds species that you will sight in this paradise and in the nearby Cerrado habitat.

But the Pantanal, with its wetlands, palm groves, forests and savannahs is the best place in South America for spotting wild animals and one of the best places in the world to see not only birds, but other fascinating species such as capybaras (The world’s largest rodent), anacondas, collared and white-lipped peccaries, giant river otters, tapirs, ocelots, spectacled caimans, giant anteaters and crab-eating raccoons, and it's even possible to see the most elusive South American predator: the jaguar. In June, at the end of the wet season, when sheets of water have reduced, wildlife concentrates around the small lakes, rivers or canals and there is nowhere else on earth where you will see such vast numbers of birds or caimans. Only the plains of Africa can compete for mammals, and chances of seeing jaguar or one of Brazil’s seven other species of wild cats are greater here than anywhere in the continent.

But we must remember that the waters from Pantanal derives from the Cerrado, the most biodiverse tropical savannah on Earth and the second largest Brazilian biome after the Amazon rainforest, encompassing 740,100 square miles. The Cerrado hosts approximately 694 bird species, of which 51 species are endemic to Brazil and 33 near endemic, and more than 4,400 plant species, most of them endemic. Many of the bird species of the southern Cerrado are also seen in the Pantanal, crating one of the most spectacular birding shows in the World!

Buenos Dias Birding has created birding tours and wildlife photography tours to these Brazilian nature paradises, with excellent guides, top accommodation, comfortable transportation and the best of central South America’s wildlife.

Season> From June through mid-November

Text and photos by Alejandro Ronchetti