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Hiring a guide for an affordable Pantanal trip

Hiring a guide for an affordable Pantanal trip

Old Sep 27, 17, 10:19 am
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Hiring a guide for an affordable Pantanal trip

I'm thinking of taking my wife and daughter to Cuiaba and then head into the Pantanal for a few days. From what I've read so far, there's very good wildlife viewing on the Transpantaneria. I've done a lot of self-guided trips in South America (and elsewhere), but I have a feeling I'd be better off hiring a driver/guide for this one, instead of just renting a vehicle and heading out by ourselves. True? I've also heard, anecdotally, that it's much cheaper to make your own hotel arrangements and separately higher a driver/guide than booking a "tour." Is that also true? If so, any advice on how I should find a good driver/guide at a fair price? And where I might want to stay? Thanks.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 4:52 pm
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I'd try checking out Lonely Planet and their Thorntree travel forum as lots of people post that kind of question over there.
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Old Sep 28, 17, 7:52 am
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If you want a cheaper trip, go to the southern Pantanal, out of Campo Grande. If you get yourselves to Buraco das Piranhas, you can usually arrange a tour directly that is much cheaper still.

When you hire a guide who works in the northern Pantanal, you are paying for their local knowledge and expertise, particularly in understanding the habits of elusive jaguars.
Julinho Monteiro and Ailton Lara are considered two of the most experienced guides, and ask compensation equal to their skills.

People do rent their own vehicles to drive the Transpantaneira, staying at lodges that may have guides (of unknown quality/expertise) for day trips, but you'd better be prepared and able to handle very primitive road conditions and any possible breakdown in the middle of nowhere (with no cell service and no help available). I've really never read a report that talked about sighting lots of wildlife along the side of the road though.
I have seen a map that includes all the lodges in the southern Pantanal, but can't locate it at the moment. It was more detailed than this one, but this may do: https://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...g&action=click

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; Sep 28, 17 at 8:04 am
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Old Sep 28, 17, 12:35 pm
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Thanks. From reading Thorntree and elsewhere, I can tell that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for me to do a tour of the northern Pantanal at a price that would be "worth it" to me. A few years ago, I did a comfortable (and enjoyable) 3 night lodge experience in the Amazon out of Puerto Maldonado for less than $300 per person all inclusive. I'd expect to pay more in Pantanal, but the prices are about 5x. I'd like to see jaguars (their cousins always seem to evade me in Africa), but not that much! I guess I'll need to look at Campo Grande options.
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