Flotel & Jaguar Suites

Southwild Flotel & Jaguar Suítes

Two purpose-built, air-conditioned, floating hotels with WIFI, anchored end-to-end in the middle of Jaguarland, with no commuting time to Jaguars. In fact, Jaguars walk by our floating hotels as they patrol both banks of the 100-meter-wide Piquiri River in their daily hunt for sunning caimans and grazing Capybaras. The best guest rooms in the entire Pantanal are the 12 spacious rooms of Jaguar Suites, all of which feature four-meter-wide, floor-to-ceiling, sliding glass doors that face the wild forests of the famously-Jaguar-rich, 270,000-acre Meeting-of-the-Waters State Park.
How it all began.
In February 2005, photographer Joel Sartore of National Geographic told Charles Munn that there was a rumor that a Jaguar stood under a bridge on the Transpantaneira to wait for people to toss fish at it, like a troll in a European fairy tale. With the arrival of the dry season in June, Charles asked around and was told to check the that outlandish story by asking Oscar, the manager at Neco’s fishing camp on the right bank of the Cuiaba River in the tiny fishing hamlet of Porto Jofre. Oscar told Charles that the bridge story was not true, but that there were habituated wild Jaguars just 10-20 minutes upstream on the Cuiabá River, and that they came out on the riverbank to accept spare piranhas tossed at them by friendly Brazilian sports fishermen in small motorboats. In August 2005, Oscar’s story was proven true when Swedish sports photographer Jan Fleischmann showed to Charles amazing photos from that day of a handsome riverbank Jaguar striking dramatic poses only 5-10 m from his idling boat. When Charles immediately emailed Jan’s best Jaguar photos to the editor of BBC Wildlife magazine, she replied, “Sorry, Charles, we don’t publish zoo photos”. Charles explained that it was a wild cat in the Pantanal, and the magazine published a full-page photo of the big cat lying on the branch of a fallen tree.
Jan’s photos inspired Charles immediately to station three men in two small motorboats on the labyrinth of 100 km of river channels upstream from Neco’s camp. After three months of daily navigation to collect Jag observations, Charles’s team achieved a 75% chance per day of a guest in a boat seeing at least one Jaguar. At that point, in November 2005, Charles issued his then-controversial, now famous “Jaguar Guarantee”. Specifically, if guests came in 2006 and spent three nights and four days boating around the 100 km of river channels that Charles then named “Jaguarland” and did not see at least one Jaguar, then they were offered two free nights and three free days of Jaguar tour within 2 years from that date. A few years later, Charles changed the offer to thousands of dollars refund per guest if they did not see a Jag.

No Jag commute

Flotel & Jaguar Suites are strategically located in central Jaguarland, 16-18 km by river from most of the lodges of Jaguarland, so no twice-daily commute to Jags. You are AT the Jags.

Private Jags

As a result of careful siting, guests of Flotel & Jaguar Suites see a significant percentage of private Jaguars lounging just upstream on the Piquiri, far from the crowds. Jags even walk by these hotels by day.

Best rooms in Pantanal

Each 30-sq.-m. Jaguar Suites room offers a view of wild forest, two 128-cm-wide beds, 24 easy-access electric sockets & 2 large work tables–clearly the best guest rooms in all the Pantanal.

The Professional’s choice for space and science

Each Jaguar Suites offers 3.2 sq. m. of work table space, 2 adjustable, padded desk chairs, WIFI, & resident Jaguar naturalist giving various science lectures.

Best Light of Day

Professional photographers enjoy Jags in best early light and golden, last light of day on wild rivers near our Flotel & Jaguar Suites. No leaving Jags 30 min before sunset for a pointless, noisy commute back to crowded Porto Jofre

Clear leader in Jaguar conservation action

Since 2005, SouthWild always has been first with new, audacious experiments in Jaguar conservation action. More than $2 mm invested in conservation success for Jags in Jaguarland.

SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites Accommodations

In 2006, SouthWild began offering “guaranteed Jaguars” on the 100 km of river channels upstream from Porto Jofre. Since then, we tried various lodging solutions, including hotels in Porto Jofre, three different tented camps, and a variety of cramped houseboats. In 2013, we built our own spacious floating hotel, Jaguar Suites, and anchored it end-to-end with Flotel on a wild river in the middle of the Jaguars. These are not “houseboats” with cramped cabins and jam-packed dining rooms, but rather true floating hotels with WIFI, AC, spacious guest rooms, 12 of which are 30 square meters, a dining room of 80 square meters, a lecture room of 40 square meters, and a giant, open top deck of 210 square meters complete with a shaded dining area, barbecue equipment, wet bar, sun deck, and women’s and men’s bathrooms.
The 12 identical guest rooms of Jaguar Suites, which are the largest rooms in the two-hotel complex, were designed specifically by Charles Munn, who listened carefully to decades of requests from many of the world’s leading wildlife photographers and documentary filmmakers. They invariably requested extensive work space and open-format shelf space. Additionally, Charles risked style criticism by insisting on 24 electrical sockets in each Jaguar Suites room, more than are found in any other normal hotel room on Earth. Many of the myriad sockets are extra easy to find in very visible locations just above the 2.5-m-long and 2.2-m-long work desks. Each desk has a well-cushioned, adjustable-height desk chair on wheels. The huge desks, numerous sockets, adjustable chairs, and wifi mean that photographers can plug in battery chargers for still and video cameras, laptops, smart phones, and more and yet have plenty of space for editing photos and plugging in even more devices such as shavers and hair dryers. The long, open shelves at head-level above the work desks allow guests to see all their clothes and equipment at a single glance.
Charles Munn also personally designed the optional, ultra-fine mosquito nets hung ready for use above each of the two 128-cm-wide beds in each Jaguar Suite room. We also have gigantic nets to hang over the 2.56-m-wide, “super-king” bed configuration. Munn based these net design features on lessons learned during his 50 years of field work in 20 tropical and subtropical countries. The nets have no overlapping openings on the side, are extra fine, and are extra long, thus allowing them to lie loose on the floor around the beds. Guests are invited to ask us for our bulletin about why ours are the world’s best mosquitos nets.
Each of the 12 Jaguar Suites rooms are 30 sq. m. (320 square feet) and feature WIFI, ensuite hot-shower bathrooms, split air-conditioning, and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows gazing out across the 100-meter-wide Piquiri River at the uninhabited forests of the 270,0000-acre Meeting of the Waters State Park. This Mato Grosso State protected area, which boasts the world’s highest recorded density for both Jaguars and for Giant Otters, is twice as large as the largest national park of Costa Rica or a bit larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island.
The sister-hotel of the Jaguar Suites floating hotel is the equally-enormous Flotel. This second ”flotel” is fastened end-to-end to the Jaguar Suites flotel, and the two hotels are tied to the forested south bank of the Piquiri River at a point four kilometers upstream from its confluence with the Cuiabá River. Flotel offers eight guest rooms that are smaller, less grand, and more economical than Jaguar Suites. The very large dining room and large lecture room of Flotel serve the guests of both Jaguar Suites and Flotel.

When to visit SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites

Although our Jaguar boat drivers see the big cats on the rivers of Jaguarland in every month of the year, there is no question that the best months for the Jags are June through November. Each of those six months of “Jag Season” has certain advantages and disadvantages. With 34 years of experience in Pantanal, Charles Munn definitely prefers the periods of 1 June through 20 July and 1-20 November. His reasons for favoring those months has to do with the clean, smoke-free air and the cooler temperatures of those parts of Jag Season. A lot of armchair experts who have spent a few weeks of their lives in the Pantanal (instead of more than 100 months over 37 years) insist that September must be the best time, as that month is the “driest”. September is Charles’s least favorite month in Jagland, and with good reason. Ask him why.

There are at least nine interacting factors that one should consider when choosing when to go to Jaguarland. These are: 1) daytime high temperatures, 2) chances of a serious cold front, 3) chances of fires disrupting logistics, 4) chances of smoky, hazy air marring Jag photography, 5) chances of serious rain interfering with the road transfers or with the Jaguar boat outings, 6) seasonal shifts in styles of Jaguar hunting behavior, 7) number of other Jaguar tourist boats on the rivers, 8) the probability of high clouds versus clear skies and how that effects Jag photography from 830 am to 400 pm, 9) seasonal blooming of the most spectacular flowering trees of the Pantanal.

Just talking about the last factor, consider that in 70% of the years, the forests of pure “Cambará” trees all bloom yellow from 20 June through 15 July. On the other hand, in 50% of the years, the famous “Pink Trumpet Trees” bloom spectacularly from 8 through 20 August.
Now consider Jaguar hunting behavior. We were the first to discover that the Jaguars dive down onto sunning caimans 5-10 times much more often per week in the period of 15 June to 25 August than they do in September, October, or November. We now know why Jaguars change their hunting behavior as August gives way to September, and our Jaguar Naturalist explains that in our lectures at SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites. Cold fronts can chill both guests and Jaguars in June, July, and August, but not in September through November. We now are certain that the very best period for Jaguar photography is 1-20 November, and our sales executives can explain why that is true. Try to find any other company that knows and can explain this surprising fact. Or ask our guests, who include Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, and 20 younger professional wildlife photographers who join the first three in representing the cream of the crop of the world’s finest, prize-winning wildlife photographers. We obviously are the professional’s choice, as we think much more scientifically about Jaguar tourism than does any other company.

At SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites, guests enjoy meals in the spacious dining room with a panoramic view of the wild Piquiri River.
The 30-sq.-m. rooms of our WIFI-equipped Jaguar Suites floating hotel offer two 128-cm-wide beds, or we can join the beds to produce a spectacular “super-king” bed of 256 cm wide. We also can add a twin bed to the room.
SouthWild Flotel has eight rooms of four different sizes, the largest of which is 15 square meters and the smallest 9 square meters. All the rooms in SouthWild Flotel have split air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, WIFI, and two beds. Six of the eight rooms have a double bed and a single bed, while the two 9-square-meter rooms have two single beds. We do not use bunk beds in any rooms.

SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites Activities

The normal activities at SouthWild Flotel & Jaguar Suites are two boat outings of 4-5 hours each per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon until dusk. A large buffet breakfast with several options of fresh fruit as well as eggs and bread and of course Brazilian coffee, starts the day, and then a large buffet lunch and large buffet dinner keep you well nourished during your stay.

Guests normally spend the time from late morning until the 2:00 pm or 2:30 pm start to the afternoon boat outing relaxing in their air-conditioned rooms while editing the morning’s photos, or talking with our resident naturalist and to see which individual Jaguars were photographed that morning. As the originators in 2006 of the first Jaguar dossier of all the cats of Jaguarland, our 16-year-old dossier now contains 190 different cats. In the 2019 Jag season, our guests photographed 85 different cats, 83% of which were known by us from previous years. Guests who supply us with a high-enough resolution, sharp image of a new Jaguar have the right to name that cat, and we add it to our big dossier.
SouthWild Brazil owns, protects, and patrols 7,500 acres of the very center or “filet mignon” of Jaguarland, where all Jaguar tourists in Jaguarland inevitably enjoy a number of excellent Jaguar sightings. Most or all of the most famous and dramatic examples in the media of Jaguars jumping on caimans were witnessed on our land. Specifically, our conservation system owns most of the lands of the lower half of the Three Brothers River as well as all of the lands of the Black Channel (”Corixo Negro” in Portuguese).

As our boats ply the waters of the 100 km of river channels of Jaguarland, we consciously schedule the outings to include visits to the best locations to view Giant Otters and Hyacinth Macaws, and we always see both species extremely well. Each year, our guests even witness tense stand-offs and even real, “game’s-on” fights between Jaguars and Giant Otters. The boat outings also produce outstanding view of two monkey species and myriad birds.

Our Jaguar observation boats always station the boat driver in the back and guests in the front, as that gives guests the best visibility.
Additionally, our custom-built Jaguar boats offer a lot of space between each row of two seats, as our guests often carry a lot of camera equipment.
Finally, our extra-wide, super-stable, extra-powerful “Photo Boat”, which is unique in the Western Hemisphere, features seven rotating photo seats, each complete with a sturdy camera mount post and gimbal tripod head from Wimberley. The photo boat is for guests with “big glass” — so it is “the professional’s choice”.