Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail:    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


Limit 6 spaces | $9,500* Closed
Expedition August 14 - 22, 2014 | View other workshops

Jaguars of the Pantanal with Jeff Foott

Map via Google

Just a few years ago, it was inconceivable that there could be a place where a photographer could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil. The Visionary Wild group that visited in August 2013 enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour and a half each, totaling nine individuals patrolling their territories in the area. We discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists (so members of our group got to assign the nicknames biologists will use for reference), and we were very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, seven-foot-long caiman from a great vantage point just forty meters away! Rivers and channels provide easy access by boat to water's-edge locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season.This is the closest thing to an East African photo safari in the New World.

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, which are far more accessible to photographers here than anywhere else in their range, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species of wildlife, often in astonishingly high densities.

Award-winning nature photographer and film maker Jeff Foott – a Pantanal veteran – looks forward to sharing this expedition with six passionate photographers. The small group size will ensure ample space to maneuver for photography from the boats.

Our floating hotel is anchored right in the middle of the best jaguar action.  When compared with other accommodations in the area, this privileged location on the water permits us to spend up to two hours extra time per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal. We have secured enough space on the "Flotel" for each of the six participants to have a private en-suite room if they wish (double-occupancy clients save $650 per person; single-occupancy rate is $10,150).

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...

Why did we choose this location? First and foremost, it is centrally-located to allow fast boat access to Jaguars spotted on any part of the 80 kilometers of river that years of research have proven to be the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars.


14 Aug. Thurs: Land late morning in Cuiaba, Brazil, flying in from São Paulo International Airport. Lunch in Cuiabá before driving to SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, across the Transpantaneira highway, photographing as opportunities present themselves along the way.  Arrive to SouthWild Pantanal in late afternoon.  Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.

15 Aug. Fri: Early in the morning, after breakfast and a possible visit to the lodge by Toco Toucans, leave the lodge to drive south 80 km (50 miles) to the end of the road at Porto Jofre.  Travel upstream 15.5 km (in 30 min) by boat to the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.   Check-in and then go out in Jaguar search boats, with one person per row.  Lunch at noon, followed by a break until 2:00 pm, when we head out again in the boats to search for jaguars and giant otters.   This afternoon outing will run until sunset. Overnight at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

16 Aug. Sat: Morning and afternoon boat outings (a total of 8 h of boat outings during the period between 600 am and 600 pm) in search of Jaguars, giant otters, tapirs, caiman, macaws, and other fauna.  Overnight at the SWJF.

17 Aug. Sun: Rinse and repeat

 18 Aug. Mon: Rinse and repeat

19 Aug. Tues: Rinse and repeat

20 Aug.  Weds: After breakfast, check-out of the flotel and boat in one large transfer boat for the 15.5 km to the river port downstream and board a vehicle for the transfer back up the last 80 km to SouthWild Pantanal Eco-Lodge.  Lunch at SouthWild Pantanal, and rest until the afternoon outing starts at 2:30 pm.  Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal.  SWP has a number of spectacular photo opportunities that are not possible at the Jaguar Flotel. Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal lodge.

21 Aug.  Thurs: Two outings at SouthWild Pantanal (one boat ride per day, and also work the two wildlife observation towers and a number of species of habituated large vertebrates such as Marsh Deer, Jabiru Storks, hawks that take fish from the water's surface, Ringed Kingfishers that do the same, and Brown Capuchin monkeys in the forest trails at the lodge.  Overnight at SWP lodge.

22 Aug. Fri: Out at 9:00 am (after breakfast) to drive 2.5-3.0 h back to the Cuiabá Airport to catch a flight to São Paulo to then fly home that evening.

Jeff Foott

Having had the good fortune to work and play in nature most of my early life, it became obvious to me I had to spend my life outside. After working as a National Park Ranger, a mountain climbing guide, ski patrolman and a few other lesser jobs, I went back to school in marine biology – doing research on sea otters – which at the time were in trouble.

I had come to love these creatures and set out naively thinking that if I could only portray to the public how they survived the ocean storms, raised their young and the danger of extinction they faced, then the otters would be saved. This was my entry into photography.

I first took still pictures for lectures and magazine articles, and then started a film about this unique creature. The film was eventually shown in over 100 countries to an estimated 100 million people. I had found a platform to speak from. Forty-five films later, for National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, BBC, etc., I am still working to portray what we have in the natural world and its importance to our spiritual direction in a time where the calm of nature is less reflected in our beings than at any other time in the history of man.

Along the way, I added art to the biology. My last film for The Living Eden series, Patagonia, was a finalist for an Emmy for cinematography. I have continued to shoot still pictures, now often focusing on the simple beauty and design of nature. I have changed mediums from large format 4x5 to shooting digital. I have never lost touch with the original motivation of using the photography medium to show people the wonder and beauty of nature, and making a plea for sanity in dealing with our natural environment. Pristine natural environments provide optimum opportunity for each of us to experience the calm and wholeness of our being, which is really our natural state. While searching for photographs, I rely on what touches my center, and then with logic and camera I make the effort to pass on to the viewer the original feeling that drew me to the scene. – Jeff Foott


Jeff has been widely published in the U.S. and internationally.  National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Audubon, National Wildlife magazine, Nature's Best, Outdoor Photographer, Sierra Club calendars, Audubon calendars are a few of the publications that use his work. He is an Associate of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has donated his time and photographic talent to the ILCP Borderlands and Patagonia Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions (RAVEs).

Video: Jeff's project to fight the pine bark beetle invasion

Video: Jeff gets an amusing endorsement deal! (circa 1982)


  • Reliably photograph wild Jaguars close-up and active in their native habitat.
  • Excellent opportunities to get close to Giant Otters, Yacaré Caiman crocodiles, Hyacinth Macaws, Tapirs, Jabiru Storks, Great Potoos, birds of prey, and a wide range of exotic birds and other South American wildlife.
  • Generous expert photographic instruction and experienced guiding throughout the trip by Jeff Foott and English-speaking naturalist guides.
  • Photography outings each morning and evening, making the most of the best light, from three to four hours in duration.
  • Each photographer will have their own seating row in the boats.
  • Comfortable accommodations on the water and close to the action
  • Satisfying meals, all beverages (including beer, wine, and caipirinhas with dinner), and gratuities for hotel staff are included

Accommodations & Travel

  • Three nights at SouthWild Pantanal: air-conditioned bedrooms with private hot-shower bathrooms.
  • Five nights at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel: air-conditioned cabins with private hot-shower bathrooms. The location of the Flotel couldn't be better for photography in the area. This is a small hotel on a river barge in the Pantanal wilderness, so accommodations are functional, clean, simple, and comfortable enough, but not designed for luxury.
  • All meals and beverages from lunch on August 14 through lunch on August 22.
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Tourist visa is required for entry to Brazil, so please contact the Brazilian Consulate that serves your area no less than six weeks prior to the trip. Flights are not included. Fly from your point of origin to Cuiabá, Brazil (via São Paulo or Brasilia), to arrive no later than noon on August 14th (flights on the Brazilian airlines TAM and GOL can be booked through All ground transfers are provided from Cuiabá on. Boat transfers and excursions are included. At the Flotel, morning and afternoon boat excursions will be made to photograph jaguars and other wildlife each day. SouthWild Pantanal Lodge features an excellent system of nature trails and wildlife viewing platforms, all of which are a short and easy walk away. Temps at this time of year typically range from 70ºF at dawn to a high of 95ºF in mid afternoon, though cold snaps in the 50sF do occur at this time of year. Weather is typically clear to overcast with a small chance of rain showers.