Jaguar Watching

After spending our first two days in the Pantanal roaming around grassy fields and wetlands, we moved on to Porto Jofre, where the southern end of the Transpantaneira Highway meets the Cuiabá River—and there we spent the better part of two days on boats on the river.

My room at Porto Jofre. Four beds to choose from!

Wikipedia describes Porto Jofre as a “settlement,” which I guess is a few notches below a town or village. In an earlier post, I explained that the area once was primarily a destination for sport-fishing, and then about 12 years ago fishermen started seeing jaguars along the river; today, the jaguars are the big attraction. We stayed in a place that apparently got its start as a fishing camp, as evidenced by the accommodations: Each room had a barracks-like collection of four single beds in a row.

The routine at Porto Jofre was pretty straightforward: Get up around 4:30 am, breakfast at 5, pull your gear together and head to the dock by 6:15, get into the boats and go. We’d spend most of the morning Read more

A Mountain Oasis

I’ve been on about a half-dozen nature photography trips so far, and I’ve stayed in a range of ecolodges; none of them has been what you would call fancy, but all have been perfectly adequate—as long as you bring a sense of flexibility and good humor. There was a memorable one in Peru where one wall of your bedroom was wide-open to the jungle, and you never knew what kind of critters might visit while you slept. And one in Ecuador where the hardware that was holding up the bathroom sink was so rusted that it broke, and the sink fell off the wall while I was using it.

Shortly after our arrival at Itororó.

Ecolodge Itororó—the lodge where the Glenn Bartley workshop portion of the Brazil trip started—was fairly basic and yet pretty sweet, in my view. From the small city of Nova Friburgo you take a paved road that turns into a dirt road and becomes increasingly steep and bumpy, until you reach an altitude of about 4,000 feet, where a few small buildings sit in a secluded area. That’s Itororó.

There’s a main cabin that consists of a small dining room and a kitchen; the sleeping rooms are in various buildings that have been Read more