A Big Fish Expeditions Trip Report
By BFE Trip Leader Andy Murch
Another successful Anaconda diving trip
This year’s Anaconda trip was a fun adventure, with anaconda encounters on three days out of five. We also dove with caimans and photographed iconic species above water, such as toucans, capuchin monkeys, and capybaras.
The hunt for Anacondas
The best encounters came on the last day when we spent more than an hour diving with a large female anaconda that was very relaxed.
Life on the River
The section of the Rio Formoso where we look for anacondas is surrounded by jungle, which supports healthy populations of mammals and birds. We saw lots of evidence of tapirs and anteaters but these are nocturnal species that rarely show themselves during the day.
On the other hand, brown capuchin monkeys, capybaras, toucans, and a variety of other avian species were happy to pose for our cameras.
The river itself is full of catfish-like fishes and dorado ; a large golden fish reminiscent of a salmon but unrelated. Between the plentiful fishes and a few hapless wading birds, there is no shortage of food for caimans that live along the river banks.
Cuviers Dwarf Caimans
The Rio Formoso contains Jacare Caimans and Cuvier’s Dwarf Caimans. Jacares are larger but relatively shy. Cuvier’s are a lot more accommodating. One that we found resting underwater allowed everyone in our small group to take endless images and videos.
I am mostly a stills photographer, but I finally tore myself away from my Nikon long enough to shoot a few GoPro clips of the anacondas. They’re far from professional quality but they get the point across!
The flat bottom river boats that we use have electric motors, so our progress along the river each day was incredibly quiet and relaxing, punctuated now and then by waterfalls which we had to carry the boats down, and short periods of frantic activity when we saw anacondas or other wildlife that we wanted to film.
Six minute Giant anaconda clip
Adventurer Sebastien Lagree joined me on this trip. Sebastien took this epic 6 minute sequence of this massive snake making its way upriver. I guess most people won’t make it through the whole clip, but it really conveys the size of these iconic animals, so if you’ve got time, let it run!
2024 Anaconda Expedition and beyond.
After we left Bonito, the weather turned and the anaconda activity tapered off. The weather plays a big role in the encounters, but this tiny stretch of river in southern Brazil remains the best opportunity in the world for encountering anacondas.
Next year’s trip is full, and so is one of our two back-to-back trips in 2025, but we have a couple of spots available on our August 15-21, 2025 trip. Join us there: Anacondas 2025