Jaguars of the Pantanal
From Rio, we flew west to Cuiaba. It was a three hour drive to our first stop, the Santa Teresa Farm. The plan was to visit their bird viewing stand, and have a bite to eat to break up the journey. We also switched vehicles, from a van to an open safari-style truck.
It was another two hours to Puerto Jofre, where we boarded a boat for the 30 minute ride to the “Flotel”. The cabins aren’t the most glamorous place that we’ve stayed, but more time on the river increases the chance of jaguar sightings.
Days were pretty much as follows:
- Head out before sunrise and cruise the rivers looking for jaguars (and other wildlife)
- Back to the lodge for lunch, and a nap
- Depart around 2pm for more time on the river
- Return to the lodge around sunset
- Dinner around 7pm
The lodge has a “jaguar guarantee” – this means that if you spend at least 4 nights and don’t see a jaguar, there is a partial refund. We’d been there three nights and seen lots of birds, cayman, agouti, and giant river otters, but not one spotted cat. On the fourth day, we saw FIVE jaguars, including a cub that hadn’t been spotted before (so we got to name her). We named her Sheila in honour of our upcoming move to Australia.