Day 1 - Arrival in Brazil
Our meeting place for this tour is Cuiaba, a city close to the northern entrance of the Pantanal area. This town is well connected by many daily flights from Sao Paulo as well as from Rio de Janeiro.
We will stay one night in Cuiaba to give all fellow-travellers the flexibility to choose the flights which suits best, and to be able to leave the next morning in time for a quite a long journey.
Our hotel at Cuiaba is the Best Western Hotel, a 4 star hotel with good facilities.
Day 2 - 4 - Pousada Baiazinha Lodge.
We will leave after breakfast for a 220 km drive in southern direction to Caseres. Here we will go aboard of a motorized river-canoe, a leasurely birding cruise of 2-3 hours, which brings us to the Baiazinha Lodge. This river-canoe is a very fast boat, which is necessary because of the long distances between the various points we like to visit. Of course we will make several stops along th way to enjoy the birds on the shores. We certainly will see Black Skimmer, Thick-billed Tern, Southern Screamer and several Heron Species. And we are always likely to see many other much sought after species on this route
The Pousada Baiazinha lodge, located on the banks of the Paraguay River, is very comfortable. Lodge facilities include swimming pool, bar, restaurant, a lovely open-air dining area, and electric power line, telephone and Internet facilities. The rooms are spacious and have private toilet & hot showers, ceiling fan and Air –conditioning.
The main reason why we have chosen for this lodge is the proximity, 90 km from the north entrance, to the Taiama Ecological Reserve, a protected area and seldom visited by tourists. The Taiama Ecological Reserve is one of the best places to see Jaguar in its own original habitat. Although there is no guarantee the opportunities are extremely good. The whole region is also a very good place for birding. Along the Paraquay River are interesting places to stop and for pure spectacle there is a huge Rookery with thousands of Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills and Great Egrets.
We will spend the days on the river, having stops from time to time to explore interesting places on the shore. For the more adventurous and keen birders, we will also have the opportunity of some early morning/evening walks around the lodge.
Day 5 - 7 - Pousada Pouso Alegre.
We will leave Baiazinha Lodge after an early breakfast, back up stream to Caceres, where our transport will be waiting for us. We expect to be at Poconé by lunchtime. Poconé is a small town at the entrance of the Pantanal (about 100 km from Cuiabá.
After lunch we drive to the south and soon we will enter the Transpantaneira. This is a 145 km long elevated gravel road going south and ending in Porto Jofre. Originally this road was constructed for transport of cattle and supplies for the many cattle farms in the Pantanal. The road takes us over many wooden bridges with water remaining on the sides. These pools are teeming with birds, jacaré caiman, capybara’s and all other animals depending on fish and the limited amount of water. It will be a real spectacle at a close range. Slowly we will continue our transfer to Pouso Alegre Lodge where we will stay for 3 nights.
Pouso Alegre is a traditional cattle ranch converted into an eco-lodge on 9.000 hectares of open lands and forested islands. The Fazenda is located 7 km off from the main Transpantaneira road; here you are deep into the Pantanal. The accommodation is simple but clean, with fan or air-conditioninig, all with private bath/shower.
The meals are a special highlight of this wonderful location. They are served in a cozy restaurant and prepared in a firewood oven. Just delicious.
It is easy to spend the days birding on this property. We will go out for walks or just drive to a waterhole to observe birds and mammals coming for a drink. We have excellent opportunities to see Tapir and Giant Anteater here. Also birding sitting in front of your room gives many opportunities to observe all kind of birds, such as woodpeckers, raptors, Hyacinth Macaw, parakeets and many more.
Day 8 - 10 - Fazenda Santa Tereza.
We leave after lunch and go back to the Transpantaneira. We will continue further south following the signs to Fazenda Santa Tereza. Here we will stay for 3 nights.
This fazenda is located directly on the Rio Pixaim and measures 2500 hectares. The surroundings of the Santa Tereza are still completely natural. There are 10 apartments in a rural style building, including a restaurant with excellent typical food.
The rooms are basic but clean, with a fan, air-conditioning, fly screens on the windows and a bathroom. Sitting on the terrace in front of the room gives very good opportunities for birding and the river is only 10 meters away.
The river gives great opportunities to see the Agami Heron, Sungrebe, 5 Kingfisher species, fishing raptors, herons and so on, and there is no better place to see the abandant amount of fish available for birds and obter animals.
This river is also a good place for River Otter and the Giant Otter.
The lodge has an interesting Watch Tower to observe a nearby pair of nesting Jabiru. The employees who are doing the boat-rides are still working on the farm. They are very skilled bird spotters and happy to show us special things like the roosting places of their night birds.
Day 11 - 13 - Pousada Piuval.
We leave after lunch for a 1-2 hours drive towards Poconé to our next location. The Piuval Lodge is located at 10 km from Poconé. It is the first lodge along the Transpantaneira Highway, which begins in Poconé. The lodge is situated on a 7000-hectare cattle ranch with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Pantanal and very different from the other lodges we have visited so far.
It is a very good place to observe the abundance and diversity of the Pantanal flora and fauna.
The lodge has 20 guest rooms with air conditioning and ceiling fans, private bathrooms, TV, Wifi, minibar and screened-in windows providing fresh air. The fully screened restaurant serves typical Pantanal meals.
We will have our walks and truck drives to various places on this ranch to see monkeys, caimans, Hyacinth Macaw, which are nesting on the property, Jabiru, Toucan, Rheas, Ibis, Coatis, Capybaras, Anteaters, Tapirs, and other animals, in addition to a variety of plant life. This location is probably also the best place to see Red-legged Seriema.
We will also make boat trips on the largest natural lake in the area, located on the ranch, with a stop to see monkeys, owls, and other animals that live on the forested banks.
Day 14 - Departure
Today is our last day. We do have time for a trip in the morning before leaving for Cuiaba, where we are planning to arrive at around midday. We will take a farewell lunch in a restaurant close to the airport and finally we will prepare for our departure back home.
Those who have booked the extension, we will get a flight to Rio de Janeiro, where the group will arrive in the afternoon.
Day 1 - 3 - Serra dos Tucanes
We will be collected at the airport by a staff member of the lodge and after a 1-2 hours drive we will arrive at the lodge.
Serra dos Tucanos is a small lodge at mid-elavation, within the 46,000ha Tres Picos State Park in the heart of the Atlantic rain forest, south-east Brazil. Together with large landscaped gardens, the lodge has two rivers winding through the grounds and an array of flowering and fruiting trees and plants that attract a wealth of fauna. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation for up to 14 people, making it small enough not to interfere with the surrounding environment and to be managed in such a way that guests feel like they are staying at a true home from home. As the lodge is surrounded by forest, the flora and fauna in the gardens alone is quite spectacular. The grounds have several feeding tables and hummingbird feeders, which gives excellent opportunities to observe birds at a close range. One of the feeding tables has a hide from where photographers get all the opportunities they want to make shots of such beautiful visitors as Tanagers, Euphonias, Thrushes, Parakeet's amongst many others. We will use one of the local guides who work for the lodge to show us around and to do several walks on trails in the surroundings of the Lodge or in the nearby area.
These guides are highly professional and know very well where the best places for birding are. We will stay here for 3 nights.
Day 4 - 6 - Guapi Assu Bird Lodge.
It is less than one hour drive to go to Guapi Assu Bird Lodge, but the environment is completely different. The Lodge is beautifully situated on a small hill at the edge of the restored wetlands, overlooking the forested Serra dos Órgãos Mountains.
Because of the lower altitude here different species can be found. Birding can be done around the lodge, in the nearby wetlands and in the forested mountains.The number of different species is enormous. Spectacular birds such as Black Hawk-Eagle, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Channel-billed Toucan, Spot-billed Toucanet, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Black-billed Scythebill, Bare-throated Bellbird, Pin-tailed and Blue Manakins, Brazilian Tanager and Blue-naped Chlorophonia are regularly encountered.
We will be using the service of one of the local guides who knows the best places to visit.
There are feeding tables and hummingbird feeders in the garden and close to the terrace.
The Lodge has six double, two twins and two single rooms accommodating up to 18 people and is equipped to a very high standard. All rooms have their own bathrooms and are kept immaculately clean. We will stay here for 3 nights
Day 7 - Departure
After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport of Rio de Janeiro where we will say farewell to Brazil for this time. We are am sure that it will not be the last time for you, because Brazil is such a great destination for Birders.