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Best Time of Year to See Jaguars in Pantanal

  |   Pantanal

The Pantanal region in Brazil is known for its spectacular wildlife sightings. Many adventure travelers head to the wetlands for a chance to see the rare Jaguar. Read on below to learn when is the best time of year to see jaguars in the Pantanal!

Brazil Pantanal Jaguars

Spotting Jaguars in the Pantanal

The Pantanal is a vast network of wetlands, divided up by various waterways, such as the Claro, Cuiaba, and Piquiri rivers. It covers around 72,500 square miles and extends into two Brazilian states: Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso.

Since 2000, the region has been a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is not hard to see why UNESCO was so impressed with the Pantanal. The stand out feature of the region is its astonishing biodiversity both on land and in the water. According to estimates, the Pantanal is home to over 1000 species of bird, 400 fish species, 300 different species of mammal, and 480 reptile species. That’s not to mention all the insects and plants it boasts as well.


While there are thousands of life forms to marvel at in the Pantanal, there is one that takes the limelight and is often the focus of Pantanal tours. That animal is the mighty jaguar. Sightings are more common here than in any other jaguar habitat in the world and this is a major selling point for the region. A jaguar sighting is far from guaranteed but there are things you can do to maximize the possibility.

Jaguars Pantanal

The first thing to do if your heart is set on seeing a jaguar in the Pantanal is to make sure you travel at the right time of year. Between June and October is the dry season in the Pantanal and this is when you are most likely to spot jaguars. Jaguars often come out and bask in the sunlight on the banks of the various rivers that snake through the region. Or, if they aren’t relaxing, they are keenly stalking their favorite prey: caimans and capybaras.

The reason why jaguars are easier to spot in the Pantanal region is partly due to their history of interacting with humans. Whereas in the Amazon and other jungles jaguars have stayed away from humans, in the Pantanal the creatures have become habituated to their presence. Fishermen that float up and down the rivers pay little attention to the jaguars on the banks, which in turn makes the jaguars feel comfortable enough to carry on their activities without paying any attention to the humans. Over the years, these jaguars have not developed a fear of humans like others have and therefore do no run away when they see boats with wildlife enthusiasts.

Best Time of Year to See Jaguars in Pantanal


Another important factor to consider on your quest to see a jaguar is where in the Pantanal you are going to travel. Historically, northern Pantanal has always had better odds for jaguar sightings so you may want to consider directing your travels towards the north if that’s your goal. Furthermore, a river cruise is the optimal way to spot jaguars as the easiest place to find them is on the river banks. Going by foot takes you a little too close for comfort but traveling along the water allows you to see the animals from a safe distance without disturbing them.



Planning your journey carefully is essential if you want to make the most out of a vacation to the Pantanal. You will need to pay particular attention to how you will get there and where you will stay. Unlike much of the rest of South America, in the Pantanal it is almost impossible to be spontaneous. However, if you get everything sorted beforehand, you can breeze through your trip without a care in the world, except whether or not you will get to see a jaguar.


For more information about booking a Pantanal Brazil tour, please contact us or call 1-888-215-2555.


About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.

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