A jaguar watches and waits, Brazil

Guide to Big Cat Safaris: Jaguars

These secretive big cats are hard to find in most places in the world, but there is one place . . .

A jaguar watches and waits, Brazil

© Jeff&Wendy

Jaguars: The Spirit of the Forest

Jaguars are one of the top predators of the American continent. It is thought there are perhaps 5000 left. Being a forest animal, the rapid rate of forest depletion has critically threatened most populations of this handsome and elusive cat. They are dwindling in number and very hard to find.

However, for many years, a quiet river in the Pantanal region of Brazil was only used by fishermen. They didn’t bother the jaguars, so the cats got used to seeing humans and, in effect, became habituated to their presence. It was this that lead to the Cuiaba River being the best place in South America to see jaguars.

Today, if you have got perhaps 3 days preferably between July and October, we can almost guarantee that you will see one of the jaguars on the riverbanks. They might be staring out at you from the leafy lushness of the forest, they might be swimming, or they might be sunning themselves on the bank. That sight will be one you will never forget.

The foliage began to part and separate. Those stunning black and brown rosettes were there, moving, all muscle, her magnificent coat striking the way it stood out against the green. And then there she was, just looking at us, Silvia, out for a leisurely stroll and simply passing by long enough to say hello.

Christine MacDougall - Travel Consultant

Born and bred in Africa, Chris travels to explore and drink in nature in the wild. Chris is diligent, caring and a bit bonkers.

Call:  01473 890499


Jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil © KelvinBrown

The best time to see jaguars in the Pantanal

The very best time to come is July to October, though sometimes June and November can bring sightings too.

Planning a jaguar safari

You could simply come for a week and focus specifically on jaguars, but for most people a jaguar safari in the Brazilian Pantanal is almost always arranged as part of a longer trip due to the distances and expense to get to that region. Talk to us about what kind of trip you’re looking for and we will make it perfect for you.

We had 12 separate sightings of jaguars in the Pantanal, including a mother a two cubs swimming across the river.

Jaguar, Pantanal, Brazil
Featured Holiday

The Jaguar Safari

7 days from £7,725pp plus international flights.

A wonderful opportunity to venture deep into Brazil's Pantanal with excellent chances of seeing jaguars.

    • Watch jaguars lazing on the banks of the Cuiaba River
    • See families of giant otters, birds and monkeys
    • Hike forest trails in the Pantanal
    • View the scenery from an observation tower
    • The chance to go horse riding through fields and forests
View itinerary