more information please use the following links:
The Pantanal is an
ecological paradise in the heart of Brazil. It is the Planet’s
largest flooded lowland, and the World’s third biggest environmental
reserve. It is of great ecological interest because it is home to
one of the richest ecosystems ever found, with periodically flooded
It displays the largest concentration of neo-tropical fauna,
including several endangered species – mammals, reptiles and fish –
and it also serves as habitat for an enormous variety of native
birds, as well as those migrating from other areas in the Americas.
The Pantanal is one of the best places in Brazil for flora and fauna
observation and for fishing – which is only permitted between March
and October – due to its abundance of animals. Its total area
measures 230 thousand square kilometres, covering 12 townships in
the States of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. To the North, are
the Paracis, Azul and Roncador mountains. To the East, the Maracaju
Mountain Range. To the South, the Dodoquena Mountain Range. And, to
the West, the Paraguayan and Bolivian swamps. The Pantanal is so
diverse that researchers subdivided it in sub-regions. Each
“Pantanal” – North and South – has its own natural features,
activities and ideal period for visitation.
The Pantanal National Park was created in 1981, but it was only in
1993 that it was considered an Environmental Preservation Area - EPA.
Its entrance is located in the city of Pocone, 102 km from Cuiaba,
the capital of the State of Mato Grosso.
Unesco – United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization
- granted it the title of World Biosphere Reserve. The title brought
with it increased support from government as well as from society,
in order to preserve the riches and implement a sustainable
development policy in the area. The Reserve Headquarters is on a
plateau – away from flooding – and it has a Visitors Centre and
The Pantanal National Park can only be explored by boat departing
from Jofre Port, and in the company of an accredited guide. One is
also required to obtain prior authorization from Ibama - Brazilian
Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. All
of these requisites contribute to render the attraction somewhat
expensive; however it is always possible to bargain. The use of
insect repellent, sun tan lotion, hat or cap, light clothing and
water-proof boots are also indispensable. Because the park has no
infrastructure, it is advisable to take light snacks, fruits and
water for the trip.
There is no lodging available inside the Park, thus making it
necessary to return on the same day. Hiking and trailing are not
allowed. Fishing – even sport fishing – and hunting are strictly
prohibited between the months of November and February, as is
nocturnal alligator watching without a guide.
The best time to visit is from May to September, when the waters
begin to go down, making it easier to observe the fauna. During the
rainy season, between October and February, the region is plagued by
mosquitoes, the heat is intense and the Transpantaneira Highway
In the Pantanal, the dry season occurs between the months of May
and September and it is accompanied by cold weather, when
temperatures average 21ºC. During the rainy season, from October
to February, it becomes very hot, with temperatures averaging
32ºC, and there are enormous quantities of mosquitoes. The
intermediate season – the best time for visitation – is well
balanced, with little rain and good conditions for fauna
The Festival takes place in the town of Caceres, 215 km from
Cuiaba. It is one of the world’s biggest fishing tournaments. It
happens in the second half of September and attracts more than
100 thousand people to the town. The competition congregates
more than 1,500 competitors among adults – who fish on boats –
and children, who have a separate competition. Shows by regional
groups, sport competitions, nautical trade fairs, arts and
crafts and typical cuisine complete the program.
The Joust takes place in Pocone, 102 km from Cuiaba. It is an
outdoor show simulating a battle between the Moors and the
Christians. This tradition arrived in the State in 1769.
In Pocone there
are many lodging options, from simple inns to well-equipped
hotels, which offer ecotourism and fishing options.
Pintado, pacu and
dourado (a kind of catfish) are served at most restaurants in
the area. The Pantanal menu also caters for those who enjoy
exotic dishes such as piranha soup – thought to be an
aphrodisiac – and alligator meat.
How to get there
By Air: For
air travel, the Acurizal Farm (RPPN/Ecotropical Foundation)
landing strip is used. This is a one hour flight plus 30 minutes
by boat. The closest town is Pocone, 102 km from Cuiaba.
By Highway: Take MT 060 state highway, departing from
Cuiaba to Pocone; it is 102 km of paved road. Continue along the
Transpantaneira Highway for another 147 km to Jofre Port, on the
Cuiaba River bank.
By Water: Departing from Jofre Port to the Park, the only
access is by boat, and it takes approximately 4 hours.
Coach Station: +55 (65) 223-2136 / 224-1122
- Pocone: Banco do Brasil
- Caceres: Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, CEF, HSBC e Itau.
- General: +55 (65) 345-1963
- São Luis: +55 (65) 223-1000
The Pantanal’s backbone is the Paraguay River, which cuts
through the region from North to South. The Miranda, Aquidauna,
Taquari and Cuiaba rivers flow into the Paraguay River. From
October to April, the high waters reveal outsized lakes, bays,
river branches and outlets. A boat trip through this natural
beauty provides wonderful sights.
It connects the town of Pocone to Jofre Port, along the Cuiaba
River bank. It is a dirt road with 126 wooden bridges, and
extends for 149 km. On the way, it is possible to observe wild
animals, especially alligators, capybaras and birds, among other
wild animals. The best time for fauna observation is the early
morning or at the end of the day. Many tourists travel it in one
day, leaving from Pocone, having lunch at one of the inns on the
way and returning in the afternoon. During the rainy season –
from November to April – the road becomes very precarious from
km 65 onwards. The best time of the year for the trip is from
May to October, when the waters recede. The use of four-wheel
drive vehicles is recommended.
SESC’s Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) increases by one
third the total area of this preserved ecosystem in the State of
Mato Grosso. It leaves a legacy for future generations, which
includes a rich sample of biodiversity for studies in
agriculture, cattle-raising, aquiculture, biomedicine and wild
fauna management. A reserve with these features not only
guarantees official protection of a considerable part of the
Pantanal and attends to the requirements of sustainable
management – including fiscal benefits – but it can also
stimulate the same type of initiative in other areas of Brazil,
contributing to the establishment of a national system of
Ornithology or Bird Watching
One hundred and sixty one different species of birds have been
observed in the Pantanal. There are still many species in the
area which have not yet been identified during the bird watching
Horseback riding and boat rides, hikes to observe animals,
photographic safaris – in four-wheel drive vehicles, on
horseback or in canoes – and piranha fishing are the main
attractions for those who want explore the exuberant Pantanal
fauna. Some old cattle farms were adapted to receive visitors
and offer these kinds of activity and tours for those visitors
who enjoy ecotourism.