While I’m pretty pumped about hosting the Alumni Association’s trip to Antarctica next January, I’m also in the beginning stages of salivating over a vacation I’m planning for next July: to Brazil. I’m signed up for a photography trip to the Pantanal region with Glenn Bartley Nature Photography.

The Pantanal is a ginormous wetland area—like Florida’s Everglades, but 10 times bigger. And it’s teeming with wildlife, including caiman (similar to crocodiles), anteaters, monkeys, and giant river otters. You’re also almost guaranteed to see capybara—the world’s largest, and perhaps cutest, rodent:

Capybara. Photo by Dagget2.

The Pantanal is also one of the few places left where you can see jaguars—and, for many visitors, that’s the main draw.

Jaguar. Photo by Dagget2.

But what interests me most are the birds: hyacinth macaws, spot-billed toucanets, jabiru storks, several kinds of kingfishers, tanagers, and more. To spend the better part of two weeks photographing all of that is my idea of the perfect vacation.

To get an idea of the beauty of Brazil’s birds, check out this gallery of Glenn’s Brazil photos.

These photography trips tend to be very small-group experiences—in this case, there will be just eight of us and one leader, Glenn Bartley himself. I’m especially happy that I already know two of the other photographer-participants, Steve and Elizabeth, a couple from Atlanta whom I met on a photography trip in Alaska just this past July. I really enjoyed their company and was thrilled to see them on the list for this trip.

Jabiru stork. Photo by Dagget2.

Brazil is still 10 months away, but it’s never too early for me to start reading, planning, and daydreaming. I’ve taken a preliminary look at flights—enough to know that I sure hope I can use frequent-flyer miles, because the cheapest flights from State College I’ve seen so far are $2,000 and up! It also looks like it takes a while to get there—you leave the U.S. on one day and arrive in Brazil early the next, with the final leg being a nine- or 10-hour flight. (We fly into Rio de Janeiro going down, and fly out of a city called Cuiabá coming home.)

I’ll probably go a day early, as I often try to do on big trips—I figure it would take just one missed connection or flight cancellation to cause me to miss the start of the trip, and I don’t want to have to deal with the logistics and expense of catching up to the group. So I hope to get there early and have a free day in Rio de Janeiro, a city I’ve never been to.

If you’ve been to Rio and you have suggestions about must-see sights, please let me know in the comments.

(Water lilies photo by Paul Williams.)



4 thoughts on “Brazil!

  1. Oh, that would be fun. But first I need to assemble a MUCH larger portfolio of images to choose from. Clearly that calls for more trips!!!

  2. Tina be careful in Rio de Janeiro. I have not been, but it has a very bad reputation for theft and muggings. Do not carry money or expensive camera gear when exploring. It would be safer to do an organised day trip. Public buses have been attacked in tunnels and the occupants robbed. I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom, but it is a dangerous city.

    1. Yikes! Good to know. I actually am leaning more toward signing on for a excursion to a local national park with a birding expert. Your comments tell me that might be a better idea than exploring the city on my own….

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