Explore and Be Inspired in an Exclusive Voyage through Brazil's Unique Natural & Cultural Wonders

On the Track of the Largest Cat in the Americas: the Elusive Jaguar

They’re the largest cats in the Americas, known for their dotted-rosette shaped spots and jaws powerful enough to crack a skull or a sea turtle’s shell, and you’re about to get up close and personal with them... the elusive jaguars of the Pantanal. Caiman Refuge is the only place in Pantanal (and possible the world) where you have a significant chance of spotting a jaguar in the wild year-round. And you’ll have the awesome experience of following these majestic animals in their natural habitat as you observe their habits and behavior out in the Pantanal.

The opportunity to get to know the jaguars in their natural habitat is provided by the team of Projecto Onçafari and is inspired by a wonderful conservation initiative of working with the jaguars to get them accustomed to the human presence around the Pantanal wetlands. One of their project implementations involves locating jaguars and parking a car nearby so the animals become used to it being there. The Onçafari Project’s work is vital to the protecting of the jaguar within the socioeconomic development of the Pantanal, by helping to convince landowners in the area that both humans and jaguars can coexist.

The word jaguar actually comes from the Tupi-Guarani indigenous language, meaning “he who kills its prey in one leap,” which pretty much sums up how a jaguar hunts. They are top-level carnivores and help prevent overgrazing of vegetation by keeping its prey population in balance. These solitary animals live and hunt alone, except during mating season. Unlike most big cats, the jaguars love water. They can be found swimming, bathing, and playing in the waters of the wetlands as well as hunting for fish in nearby streams and pools.

Our full day tour, led by the knowledgeable Onçafari team, will be split into two periods, starting in the morning, breaking for lunch at the lodge, and then continuing the second part of our excursion in the afternoon. The Onçafari team will take us on an insightful, educational, passionate, and immersive jaguar experience. We’ll participate in the team’s daily activities like looking for footprints on the ground, seeking out clues that can lead up to meet these magnificent cats, and checking camera traps used to help keep track of the jaguars. With some luck and the help of our guides’ expertise and equipment, we’ll hopefully have the privilege of spotting one of these majestic animals in the wild while capturing the unforgettable moment with our cameras!

After observing, learning, and appreciating all things jaguar, it’s time to head back to our lodge with plenty of insightful knowledge and images of those regal cats of Pantanal fresh in your mind.

Note: although likely, Jaguar sightings are not guaranteed.

Important: the tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide to optimize your tour experience.


Difficulty: none.


Duration: full day tour.


Guide: 2 group guides, who are both biologists. The maximum group size for this tour is 8 travelers.


Vehicle: group vehicle.


Includes: snack (fruits, cookies, nuts) with non-alcoholic beverages.