Best time to spot wild jaguars in Brazil’s Pantanal

September 28, 2023

From May to October, jaguars – known here as the “onça-pintada” – come out to hunt along the riverbanks, making them more visible

Spotting jaguars in Brazil can be a thrilling wildlife experience, more so in Pantanal, widely regarded as the country’s best region for animal watching. It’s the world’s largest flooded grassland, home to an incredible variety of birds, reptiles, and large mammals due to its rich geography. This seasonal wetland spends part of the year underwater, and all its natives have adapted to this reality.

During the dry season from May to October, water levels in the rivers and lagoons decrease, concentrating wildlife near the remaining water sources. Jaguars – known here as the “onça-pintada” – often come out to hunt along the riverbanks, making them more visible. Also, immense flocks of birds come in search of fish, as some 200 species reside in the temporary lagoons. Caimans and capybaras are drawn to the water by the birds, while at the top of this food chain is the much sought-after jaguar, which is the largest and most elusive feline in the Americas.

Additionally, species such as giant otters, greater rhea, and others are not intimidated by human presence. The lack of hills in these open plains also makes it easier to spot animals. The area is made even more beautiful by the ipê trees, which are in full bloom during this time.

Those interested in the local culture can witness the daily lives of local cowboys known as “pantaneiros” who herd cattle in these wetlands during the dry season.

Remember that jaguars are endangered, and their conservation is vital. Always follow ethical wildlife viewing practices, maintain a respectful distance, and do not disturb or harass these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Also, check the latest travel and safety advisories, as conditions and regulations may change.

To learn more about Pantanal, visit the website:

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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