The Jaguar Flotel

Anchored in the heart of the most Jaguar-rich watershed on Earth.

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The Jaguar Flotel is a renowned biologist’s dream come true.

Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


The Jaguar Flotel


#1 on Trip Advisor


After nine years of systematically testing forest camps, fishing hotels and sport-fishing ships, SouthWild concluded that specially-adapted ships or floating hotels (“flotels”) anchored in the center of the best Jaguar action offer the most comfortable, convenient, safe and certain way to be close to the cats. Cruising in ships for long stretches of rivers is only 1% as good for seeing Jaguars as being anchored in the middle of the densest population of habituated Jaguars.

These flotels are most comfortable and convenient because they float without rocking within 10 minutes by boat of most Jaguar sightings on the Three Brothers River and Black Channel. Jaguars even walk in broad daylight on the riverbank within 5 meters of the flotels.

The flotels are safer than riverbank camps or hotels, as Jaguars patrol riverbanks near hotels and camps in search of prey but never swim out to flotels. Even if they did, flotel guest rooms have hardwood doors and metal walls, making them impervious to any Jaguar.

Being anchored for the entire season 700 meters upstream from the mouth of the Piquiri River, in the world’s Jaguar epicenter, the flotels are also the most certain way to see the cats.

Our flotels feature resident research biologists giving scientific lectures and maintaining our eight-year-old Jaguar face dossier. This unique, painstaking dossier now documents the face spot patterns of over 100 wild Jaguars, of which our guests see about 2.5 cats per day or 36 in each May to December “Jaguar season.”

All of the flotels have WiFi Internet, the only ships in the area with that important amenity. All are air-conditioned, but we have banished air-conditioning motors and electrical generators to our separate tugboat and machine boat. This unique precaution makes for quiet, vibration-free sleeping. In 2013, no other ships in or near the Jaguar Research Center Reserve took these important steps to eliminate night-time generator noise and vibration.

SouthWild is the only company with any of the following: resident biologists, scientific lectures, up-to-date Jaguar face dossier, a 12-square-mile private Jaguar reserve, off-site nighttime generators, a spacious, enclosed, air-conditioned dining room and luxurious Jaguar Suites.

The Jaguar Suites feature custom-designed, extremely spacious, 30-square-meter (323-square-foot) accommodations, clearly the finest, most convenient of any terrestrial or floating lodge in the entire Pantanal. Each Jaguar Suite has a floor-to-ceiling picture window that slides open to give you access to a private, screened porch. No other accommodation anywhere in the Pantanal affords the scenic view offered by a Jaguar Suite, namely the 100-meter-wide Piquiri River and the wilderness of the 270,00-acre Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park. This park is 250% the size of the largest in Costa Rica, and harbors a higher density of Jaguars than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, the park certainly harbors more Jaguars than all of Costa Rica. Our Jaguar Research Center Reserve is a private holding within the state park and is located in the most famously Jaguar-rich part of the park.



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The comfortable, convenient, safe and certain way to see the Jaguars.

Flotel I, Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


Jaguar Flotel 1


• 10 double-occupancy, air-conditioned rooms with private, hot-shower bathrooms

• 4 of 10 rooms with double beds

• Spacious, enclosed, air-conditioned dining room with large-screen TV for nightly scientific lectures

• Off-site generator to prevent noise and vibration

• Free WiFi Internet



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Our suites float upon the waters of the world’s Jaguar epicenter.

Jaguar Suite, Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


Jaguar Suites:

Sleep in harmony with the rainforest


Feel and breathe pure, rainforest air

The Jaguar Suites go from one side of the ship to the other. The windows that open on the river side and a quiet exhaust fan on the forest side allow cool, night air to flow across your bed. You will sleep in harmony with the rainforest’s natural breezes, with the fresh scents of flowers and the earthy scents of rich humus layers. However, when it’s too hot, you can seal your room and turn on the silent air conditioning.


Listen to the night symphony

The Jaguar Suites allow you to hear the sounds of the rainforest outside. Because the suites’ energy comes from 50 meters downstream, there is quiet electricity with no engine noise, so you can hear a nocturne of birds, caimans, crickets, frogs and Jaguars.


Enjoy a territorial and a close-up view of the rainforest

When you are awake, a wall of windows provides a private and unobstructed view of Giant Otters swimming in the mighty Cuiabá River and Paraguayan Caimans (and possibly Jaguars) on the opposite bank. Overhead are Anhingas, Neotropic Cormorants, White-necked Herons, Great Egrets, White-winged Swallows, Ringed Kingfishers and, occasionally, Jabiru Storks and Hyacinth Macaws. On the forest side of the Jaguar Suites, just feet away, are Brown Capuchin Monkeys, Rufous-tailed Jacamars (a colorful songbird), Silver-beaked Tanagers, Black-fronted Nunbirds and an occasional Blue-crowned Trogon. Once in a while, the radio in your suite may alert you to a Jaguar walking slowly along the riverbank, and then you can open a special window to watch it go by.

Spread out in a professionally-designed workspace

The Jaguar Suites offer a vast amount of table space at the perfect height to write field notes, make bird lists and edit your thousands of photos of Jaguars and Giant Otters (not to mention caimans, capybaras, large water birds and on and on). Plenty of light makes working and reading a pleasure. Abundant electrical outlets power and recharge your laptop and equipment twenty-four hours a day. Ergonomic chairs with footrests provide optimal seating. And there is even more table space for laying out your camera gear and clothing for the daily boating excursions.


Indulge in creature comforts

The Pantanal is famous for its wildlife but not for its creature comforts. With the Jaguar Suites, you get the best of both worlds. The six Jaguar Suites that float upon the river are three times as spacious as the cabins on the original vessel (291 square feet vs. 97 square feet). The interiors are finished with plantation-grown teak, which has been locally sourced in accordance with sustainable environmental principles. After a long day of photographing Jaguars and other wildlife, come home to a comfortable bed and pillows, an immaculate bathroom, never-ending hot showers and cold drinks or midnight snacks from your mini-fridge.


Sleep and wake up in the world’s Jaguar epicenter

Best of all, the Jaguar Suites are in the epicenter of the world’s highest concentration of Jaguars. Because of their unique location, you will sleep and wake up in the middle of the cats, so you get to the cats one or two hours before the competitors and can stay one or two hours later.


Imagine an experience that includes the incomparable Jaguars,

but without any caveats about the accommodations.

Dr. Charles A. Munn, Founder, SouthWild



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Creatures and creature comforts.

Jaguar Suites, Jaguar Flotel, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


Jaguar Suites


• 30-square-meters in size (323 square feet)

• Off-site generator to prevent noise and vibration

• Two 128-centimeter (50-inch) wide beds fasten together to make a “super king bed”

• 22 easy-access electrical sockets, most at waist-level, above two wide, long work desks for using laptops to edit photos

• Huge sliding glass doors open onto a private screened porch with a view across the Cuiabá River to wild Pantanal forests

• The only guest rooms in Latin America with two active cooling systems: flow-through fan pulling fresh night air across the beds or split air-conditioner

• Latin America’s (maybe the world’s) cleverest, most effective, most user-friendly mosquito nets, which can be deployed or opened effortlessly in only seconds without risk of ripping

• Special “Jaguar window” on the forest side of the ship along with a 2-way radio to call for room service and for us to call you when a Jaguar is about to walk by on the riverbank.

• Free WiFi Internet



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One of the birdiest locations on the planet.

SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Arcana Mundi Expeditions. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


SouthWild Pantanal Lodge


On the way to and from the Jaguar Flotel, guests will stay in the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge. With over 80 species of the 400 birds of the Pantanal weighing more than a pound (454 grams), the Pantanal boasts the longest list of large birds in the world and is one of the birdiest locations on the planet. SouthWild Pantanal is the ecolodge that is favored by serious PhD ornithologists as the top birding lodge in the entire Pantanal. Sitting on 1,538 hectares (3,800 acres) of seasonally-flooded savannas and bird-rich gallery forest on the banks of the intimate Pixaim River, SouthWild Pantanal lies 66 kilometers down the Transpantaneira Road, which is the only long transect that penetrates the very heart of this great, UK-sized wetland. From our transfer vehicles, boats on the river and in walks in our gallery forest surrounding the lodge, you can enjoy excellent views of iconic, spectacular South American birds such as Toco Toucan, Hyacinth Macaw, Jabiru Stork, five different species of kingfishers, Orange-backed Troupial, Great Potoo, large numbers of egrets, seven species of herons, four species of ibises, hawks that gracefully snatch fish from the water’s surface, snail kites, and many other species. Fully 180 of the 400 bird species in the Pantanal floodplain, sensu strictu, are easily visible from vehicles and boats without having to dig them out of closed brush or forest.


See the Amazing Creatures of the Pantanal



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Gaze into the huge nest of a pair of Jabiru Storks.

Observation tower at the Jabiru Stork nest, SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Mario Friedlander. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


One of our two special wildlife observation towers is strategically located at 16 meters from an 11-meter-high Jabiru Stork nest, allowing eye-level shots of these, the tallest flying birds in the Americas. Turning to other classes of large vertebrates, the lodge also features scores of habituated Capybaras (55-kilogram guinea pigs) as well as Marsh Deer, Brazilian Tapirs, three species of monkeys, Giant River Otters, Crab-eating Foxes, Coatimundis, Ocelots, hundreds of Paraguayan Caimans, and quite often even Jaguars.



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The birds are completely relaxed with human observers.

Young Jabiru Storks almost ready to fledge.
Photography: Lucy Richards


Secluded at the end of a private, two-mile-long driveway, SouthWild Pantanal features 15 air-conditioned rooms with private, hot-shower bathrooms. As the lodge is a modified, old-style ranch house, its wide, wrap-around porch and airy, all-screen dining room (unique in the entire Pantanal) preserve a traditional flavor of charm and quaintness that is in keeping with the private, natural setting on the very banks of the 60-meter-wide Pixaim River. In addition to the charm of the location, the lodge also boasts the Pantanal’s finest, most scientifically-laid-out gallery forest trail system, and without the mess or risk of sharing this rarest of all Pantanal habitats with cattle, which are kept hundreds of meters away.



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Ocelots have never been photographed this well before.

Ocelot, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Tom Ambrose. Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.


“The best attraction of any lodge on the entire Transpantaneira Road…”

Dr. Charles A. Munn


Video from the Ocelot Tower

Ocelot photos


Ever wonder why you never see any photos of Ocelots? They are incredibly hard to see and close to impossible to photograph. Until now! At our elevated hide in the Brazilian Pantanal, we guarantee Ocelot sightings. How? Ocelots are unusually abundant in our forest. By studying their behavior and the routes they take through the forest, we have built an elevated hide right at the hub of Ocelot activity. As our Ocelots are photographed, they become more habituated and being curious cats they tend to stick around. This provides our guests with unprecedented opportunities to photograph these stunning cats. So if you are tired of photographing the same animals as everyone else, look no further!

The Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world, home to a staggering abundance and diversity of species. Our Ocelots roam a beautifully lush patch of gallery forest next to the Pixiam river. Our elevated hide is key to the Ocelots coming so close and behaving naturally in front of our guests. Ocelots almost always climb trees in front of our hide, allowing for some stunning photography. During the period from 5:40 pm to 7:15 pm, one to three different Ocelots often appear. The average duration of sightings is about 10 minutes, with some nights running to 25 minutes and others to just a minute or two. Ocelots are nocturnal, so we use a rigged lighting system to illuminate them enough for auto-focus to work reliably. On camera flashes and multiple flash systems are recommended for professional results. Our Ocelots come very close to the hide, so you don’t need a gigantic lens to get great results. A 400 mm lens on full frame, or 200 – 300 mm lenses on crop sensors are all the magnification you need.



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Our Jaguar boating searches are a biologist’s tour de force.

Pixaim River, Pantanal, Brazil.
Photography: Mario Friedlander.Jaguars of Brazil’s Pantanal.



“Dreaming of that next epic wildlife adventure? Here are your go-to guys.”

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Arcana Mundi Expeditions

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