Pantanal Matogrossense National Park
The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park encompasses around 521 square miles of the Pantanal region. These wetlands, located in central west Brazil are a world class wildlife spotting destination. Animals and birds of all shapes and sizes dwell here – all you have to do is go out and find them.
Matogrossense National Park
To give you an overview of the Pantanal Region, it is roughly 20 times bigger than the Everglades in Florida and stretches over a whopping 81,000 square miles. That’s almost twice the size of the entire island of Cuba, to give some perspective. The region extends into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay, but the bulk of the Pantanal is in Brazil, divided between Mato Grosso and Mato Grosse do Sul – two Brazilian states. Virtually all of the region is privately owned, mostly by farmers and ranchers, but there is a section that is open to the public: the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park.
The landscape here is overwhelmingly green and the water sparkles under the tropical sun. Peppering the water are giant lilypads that sit like big, green dinner plates on a tablecloth of muddy blue. In every direction, endless natural beauty stretches out to the horizon. But, the best thing about the national park is that it is blissfully free of other people. The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park might be one of the best places to see wildlife in the world, but it is far from the easiest to access.
During the rainy season, floods often make road transport impossible. The entire region is serviced by just two roads: the Transpantaneira and the Estrada Parque do Pantanal. When the rains come, these roads can become unusable. In this case, visitors will need to charter a private plane (usually a small Cessna) or take a boat in order to get to their hotel. It might seem like a challenge but it will make your arrival all the more satisfying.
While the dry season makes the park easier to access, the best time of the year to visit depends entirely on what you want to get out of your trip. If you want the best opportunities to see wildlife, then the dry season, from May to September, is optimal. Fewer water holes mean animals congregate around the remaining few and are much easier to spot. However, the rainy season, from October to April, brings the floods, which nourish the region’s flora – making for some truly spectacular photo opportunities.
Once you have arrived in the national park, it is time to create an itinerary. The most popular activity in the region is setting off in search of the elusive jaguars that call the park home. June through to August is the best time to set eyes on a jaguar. Many tours take place on horseback and along the way you will no doubt see plenty of other animals, such as tapirs, capybaras, caimans, and giant anteaters. Look up and you will see a festival of colors as birds soar through the sky.
The rest of your time in the national park can be spent fishing for piranhas and other giant river monsters. The best time for fishing is during the rainy season when the floods have started to recede but before the dry season kicks in. There are also hiking routes that offer magnificent views of the region. You might even want to hop in a vehicle and drive along one of the two roads that run through the region. Running through the wetlands and over countless wooden bridges, simply driving is an adventure in itself.
If you weren’t a nature lover before your trip to the Pantanal Region, you will be by the end. The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is the ultimate snapshot of just how sensational the great outdoors can be. Pack sunscreen and plenty of insect repellent and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. For more information about booking a Pantanal tour, please contact us or call 1-888-215-3555.