If you’re looking for a South American adventure unlike any other and a location not teeming with crowds, then head to the Pantanal region of Brazil. Tucked within the western part of the country is this massive inland tropical wetland, spilling over with biodiversity and one-of-a-kind adventures.
The Pantanal actually expands across the borders of three countries — Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. However, the majority of it sits here within Brazil. The largest wetlands in the world and a flooded grassy savannah, only now are tourists realizing it is accessible as more options open up to experience this mysteriously beautiful place.
So, are you ready to experience a trip to one of the most distinctive ecosystems on the planet? If so, start by learning more about these five amazing attractions you must see while visiting The Pantanal.
To gain an appreciation for the Pantanal and its history, stop in the Museu de Historia in the town of Corumba. This is the gateway to the Pantanal and a great place to begin your exploration of this mysterious region of Brazil. Inside the museum, you’ll find displays showing how this large floodplain became colonized and where it stands today.
Both a history and natural history museum, you can ask any questions you have about the area and have them answered by expert guides. The unique architecture of the museum headquarters will also garner your attention, particularly its hydraulic, colorful mosaic floor tiles and the iron stairs.
Skirting the most southern edge of the region, the Estrada Parque, a roadway loop full of red soil, provides incredible views of the natural environments within the Pantanal along with the wildlife and various flora and fauna. Catch a glimpse of the Jabiru stork, a prehistoric-looking bird stalking through the marshes. Watch as the crafty Toco Toucans pluck fruits from palm trees. If you feel like you’re being stared at, you probably are by the caimans hiding in the reed beds.
Running west from Campo Grando, the Estrada Paque, initially built as a telegraph road, is a perfect stretch of roadway to explore. Join a tour and sit back on benches in open-air trucks for a full day of getting to know the Pantanal.
Learn about the many conservation projects and environmental research being conducted in this part of the world at the Caiman Ecological Refuge. Partnering with various universities and partners, this refuge in the southern part of the Pantanal is involved in projects such as the Blue-Fronted Parrot Project and the Hyacinth Macaw Project.
Staying in one of the three lodges located here provides you with access to the many natural features, including the local flora and fauna, and also a look into the region’s culture. These lodges offer comfort in the form of air-conditioned rooms with private showers, a restaurant, and even a swimming pool to cool off during the hot afternoons. Join a walking tour, a photographic safari on specially-adapted vehicles, or a canoe trip. At night, join your guide at a campfire for an astronomy workshop utilizing powerful telescopes.
Located just south of the town of Poconé, you’ll find an unassuming dirt road used by fazenda owners and eco-tourists. Herds of capybara gather here, often making it difficult to get by in a vehicle when driving to a lodge. Flocks of herons accompany marsh deer, giant otters, and tapirs along the route. You may even see an elusive jaguar as you near Porto Jofre.
It’s essential you make your way here only during the region’s dry season, which is extremely short. The highway is mostly impassable in the rainier season, so planning the timing of your visit is key.
Venture to this over 36,000-acre ranch located at the base of the Paraguay River to explore what the Pantanal has to offer. Here you can stay in one of the nine comfortable rooms available. Learn more about the area as you take a wildlife boat tour or a photographic safari. Climb to the top of the ranch’s lookout tower for an expansive view of the Pantanal surrounding you. In the evenings, relax and enjoy the various lectures.
You can also take short walks to observe various animals and birds or go canoeing or horseback riding. This location is also a wildlife rehabilitation center and a popular area for various conservation studies.
There’s nothing like becoming familiar with a hidden part of the world like the Pantanal in Brazil. Not even the Amazon can offer more in terms of wildlife spotting and biodiverse areas. If you’re ready for a touch of the unknown coupled with knowledgeable guides and amazing Pantanal tourist attractions, this is where to plan your next adventure.
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