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Jaguars of the Pantanal
(10 days 3,150)
Extensions can be arranged in the Pantanal & elsewhere in Brazil

Ask someone what image first comes to their mind when you say Brazil and you could get a great variety of answers. Some will think of huge expanses of Amazon rainforest. Others might think of the Amazon river itself winding through flooded forest, or its colourful wildlife and birdlife, or its indigenous people.

To some, the Planet's largest wetlands of the Pantanal takes first place, especially by those driven to see specific wildlife such as jaguars. Brazil's top mammal predator is the jaguar and this can be seen with near certainty at certain times of the year in parts of the Pantanal. Species diversity may not be as high in the Pantanal as compared to rainforest, but its openness makes it a lot easier to see. Capybara, the world's largest rodent, are some of the most commonly seen mammals, but you can also hope to see the rare Hyacinth Macaw, Tayra, Black Howler Monkeys and Brazilian Tapir.

Scenically, Brazil doesn't get much more dramatic than Iguazu Falls. It's not just the height of these falls which makes them so impressive. The falls are 4km wide and consist of around 275 individual cataracts. In between is lush tropical vegetation which is a rich and beautiful extension of the Atlantic Coast Rainforest system. Alas, there is now only a small percentage of this forest remaining. This makes what's left all the more precious and the rescuing of its endemic species such as the Golden Lion Tamarin of such great significance.

Deforestation is, regrettably, an image which crops up in some people's minds when they think of Brazil. Where on the one hand you can be flying over forest that seemingly has no end, standing in the midst of an industrial scale cattle ranch or soya plantation, you wonder whether it ever existed. The incredible scale of the Amazon in Brazil is such that huge untouched sections do still exist and the wildlife there can be incredibly diverse. A third of the known 310 species of monkey live in Brazil. Large patches of untouched forest suit top predators such as the monkey eating Harpy Eagle, which need large home ranges to support themselves. Amazon peoples also need large areas of their own land and the likes of the Xingu people of Central Brazil have legally accepted claims over thousands of square kilometres of forest.

Rio de Janeiro can conjure plenty of images all of its own: Sugar Loaf Mountain rising above the city mist, carnivals, fiestas, music, exotic beach culture and football played on sand, bare footed and bare chested, or in the unmissable green and gold national strip. Cities get bigger still in Sao Paolo; and the capital city of Brasilia is a world landmark in the braveness of its architecture and planning. Smaller coastal towns like Parati and Olindo compete with Rio for music and colour.

The coast of Brazil is also legendary, where the concept of its sandy beaches are well known. Some of the best of these are within reach of Rio to the south at Ilha Grande. The most idyllic are the islands of Fernando do Noronha where you can also find some of Brazil's best diving.

Lesser known natural highlights of Brazil include its savannahs. Like the Pantanal, openness can help you to see larger mammals such as Giant Anteaters. Other residents are the so-called Einstein monkeys which are Bearded Capuchins which use hammer rocks to crush palm nuts on a sandstone anvil. Further north, on the border of Venezuela, is an area of table top mountains. The largest of these is Roraima which at its base is tropical in climate. Its peak, however, is a deeply wind and rain eroded surface gave inspiration to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World and the Pixar cartoon film Up.

Aqua-Firma can help you to experience all of these scenes of Brazil. Click HERE to send us an email or call us on +44 (0)1428 620012.


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