For wildlife lovers hoping to experience a sighting of the magnificent spotted big cat, Jaguar holidays to the world's largest tropical wetland in the Brazilian Pantanal region are, without a doubt, the best option. This vast, biodiverse area is home to the densest population of the animal in the world and, with an abundance of other animal species and avifauna, is renowned as one of the richest and most diverse wildlife destinations on the planet. |
But while the majority of Jaguar holidays are focused around the Pantanal region, it's not the only place this beautiful big cat can be seen in the wild.
While the main focus may not necessarily be on the Jaguar, holidays to Peru to explore the country's incredible range of history, culture and wildlife offer a very real (and often unexpected) opportunity to catch a sighting of the big cat along the way.
With a proliferation of avian species, Peru is one of the best places in South America to embark on a birdwatching holiday. From the quiet beauty of the Palomino Islands, to the majestic drama of the Andes and the lush landscape of the Amazon Basin, the country's abundant birdlife is on vibrant, raucous show at every turn.
It is on the riverbanks and jungle trails around the renowned Macaw clay lick, on the picturesque Tambopata River, that birdwatchers can sometimes be graced with a sighting of the fearsome apex predator, the Jaguar.
Iwokrama Rainforest, Guyana
While Guyana is very much undeveloped in terms of tourism, it is a country of breath-taking natural beauty and biodiversity. With over 700 species of birds and a vast array of wildlife thriving within its ancient forests and rivers, it's a place where time truly does appear to have stood still.
For birdwatchers in the know, an encounter with the famous Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, at the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, is high on the agenda. The pristine Iwokrama Rainforest and its impressive lifeblood, the Essequibo River, also yield constant sightings of toucans and multi-coloured Blue-and-Yellow, Red-and-Green and Scarlet Macaws.
In the cool depths of the Iwokrama Rainforest, alongside the abundance of avifauna, a host of more discreet rainforest mammals make this region home. While harder to spot than the birdlife, it's quite common to see playful Black Spider Monkeys, Red Howler Monkeys and the delicate and unusual White-faced Saki. Requiring infinitely more patience, a great deal of local expertise from the guides and a good helping of luck, a sighting of South America's most elusive and sought after big cat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a thrill never to be forgotten.
While dedicated Jaguar holidays to this cat’s prime habitat in the Brazilian Pantanal are the best choice for those hoping for multiple, high-probability sightings, it's certainly not the only place to observe them in their natural environment. For wildlife lovers on birdwatching holidays to Peru and Guyana, a chance encounter with the magnificent Panthera onca could end up being the highlight of their experience.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in Jaguar watching. Being passionate about her subject, Marissa chooses the expert-led Jaguar holidays organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of wildlife in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.
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