After multiple emails and discussions, our 9-day custom Brazil Mato Grosso itinerary included river tours, hiking, and sightseeing. If planning a trip to Mato Grosso, consider a guided tour with Pantanal Expeditions. However, as we soon discovered an itinerary is just a tentative plan, the travel gods decided to shake it up a bit. For more about how the trip changed, read my Pantanal Expedition reviews.

The tour started when Douglas, owner of Pantanal Expeditions, picked us up at the Cuiabá airport. Below is the rough itinerary we tried to follow during the 9-day tour.

DAY 1: The Upper Transpantaneira

  • Departure approximately at 8h00 for Poconé along a well-paved highway (105 km / 2 hours).
  • Begin down the Transpantaneira arriving at the Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel Lodge (60 km).
  • Check-in.
  • Lunch.
  • Hike or horseback riding in the afternoon.
  • Dinner.
  • Nocturnal spotlighting hike within the ranch area in the evening.
  • Overnight at the Pantanal Mato Grosso Hotel.

Horseback riding

DAY 2: Porto Jofre

  • Early morning wake up at and departure for Porto Jofre at 7h00 with the objective to arrive by approximately 10h00.
  • Departure by boat for the jaguar observation area.
  • Picnic lunch.
  • Return approximately at 16h00 – 17h00.
  • Dinner and overnight at lodge below Porto Jofre.

Pantanal Expeditions

DAY 3: Porto Jofre

  • Breakfast at 7h00.
  • Depart for the jaguar search area.
  • Full day looking for jaguars with a picnic lunch.
  • Return between 16h00 and 17h00 to the lodge.
  • Dinner and overnight.

DAY 4: Porto Jofre

  • Departure for the jaguar search area.
  • Morning spent searching for jaguars.
  • Return to the lodge for lunch.
  • Depart along the Transpantaneira in the after lunch stopping to observe and photograph wildlife along the way.
  • Stop at the Estância Vitoria Lodge for dinner.
  • Spotlighting in the evening.
  • Overnight at Estância Vitoria Lodge.

DAY 5: Vila Bela

  • After an early breakfast depart for Vila Bela.
  • Lunch in Caceres and continue on to Vila Bela.
  • Birdwatching along the route, especially in the area Campos do Encanto between KMs 66 and 40 of the BR-174 between Vila Bela and Pontes e Lacerda.
    • Target species include: Coal-crested Finches, Collared Crescentchest White-rumped Tanager, Rustybacked Antwren, Horned Sungem, Long-tailed Ground-Dove (common) and flocks of seedeaters (Plumbeous, White-bellied, Tawny-bellied Double-collared and Dark-throated Seedeater) as well as Brown Jacamar, Toco Toucan, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Dusky-headed Parakeet and Blue-necked Tanager. As we approach Vila Bela we will be on the lookout for the vulnerable and elusive Black-and-tawny Seadeater.
  • Looking for wildlife in the afternoon approaching Vila Bela.
  • Arrive in Vila Bela for dinner.
  • Overnight in the city in a simple hotel.

DAY 6: Estancia Das Cachoeiras

  • Early breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check-out.
  • Visit to the Estância das Cachoeiras – Serra de Ricardo Franco Mercado State Park–Valley of the Waterfalls.
  • Hike the Waterfall Circuit Trail.
    • The trail is 6km and begins in the Amazon Rain Forest and continues on into Cerrado (Savanna).
    • Visit the tallest waterfall in Mato Grosso and the fouth tallest in Brazil.
  • Picnic lunch.
  • Swimming and descend the trail later in the afternoon.
  • Continue on to the Guaporé River Lodge for dinner.
  • Spotlighting by vehicle or on foot.
  • Overnight at the Guaporé River Lodge.

DAY 7: Rio Verde and the Enigmatic Corenel Fauwcett

  • Explore Rio Verde and the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park in Bolivia by boat.
  • Snorkeling with the fishes in the Crystal clear waters of Rio Verde.
  • Picnic lunch.
  • Return to the lodge for dinner.
  • Evening spotlighting on foot or in the vehicle.
  • Dinner and overnight at the Guapore River Lodge.

DAY 8: Rio Alegre and Rio Guaporé

  • Depart Guaporé River Lodge after breakfast and return to Vila Bela.
  • Explore the Guaporé and Alegre Rivers looking for pink and grey fresh water river dolphins.
  • Lunch in the city.
  • Overnight at a hotel either in the city of in Pontes and Larceda.

in search of wildlife

DAY 9: Travel Day

  • Depart either from the Guaporé Hotel or Pontes and Larceda.
  • Return to either Caceres or Cuiabá to hotel for your outbound flight.
  • If taking the optional day, plan a flight out in the last night.
  • If you don’t add optional day, schedule outbound flight in the afternoon of day 9.
  • The roads are well kept hilly curvy single lane highways with lots of radar and speed reductions whenever you come to a turnoff or populated area.

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