You can go on an ecological expedition to the Pantanal, Brazil.
You can go hiking and see wildlife on the river like:
Trekking in the Pantanal
- Best time to visit: The dry season (May to September) is generally the best time for trekking, as trails are more accessible, and wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant. The wet season (October to April) brings heavy rainfall, flooding, and limited access to some areas, making trekking more challenging.
- Choose a reputable tour operator or eco-lodge: Do your research to ensure you select a responsible company that prioritizes conservation and the well-being of local communities.
- Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing, sturdy hiking shoes, and a wide-brimmed hat. Insect repellent and sunscreen are essential, as are waterproof gear and a change of clothes during the wet season.
- Stay hydrated: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your trek, especially in the hot and humid conditions of the Pantanal.
- Be prepared for wildlife encounters: Follow your guide’s instructions and maintain a safe distance from animals because some have sharp teeth.
Q: Are there risks to visiting the Pantanal? A: Like any wilderness area, there can be risks. These can range from sunburn and dehydration to encounters with wildlife. Don’t forget, mosquitoes here aren’t just annoying, they’re tiny artists leaving itchy red artworks on your skin.
Q: What’s the accommodation like? A: You’ll find everything from basic guesthouses to luxurious eco-lodges. And no, you can’t just bunk with the capybaras.
Q: What impact does tourism have on the Pantanal? A: If managed responsibly, tourism can help support conservation efforts. But remember, you’re a guest in the home of thousands of species – take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
Q: What can I do to support conservation in the Pantanal? A: Choose eco-friendly tour operators, follow guidelines, and consider supporting local conservation organizations. No, changing your screensaver to a picture of a jaguar doesn’t count.
Q: Is there any special equipment needed to explore the Pantanal? A: Comfortable clothing, a good pair of hiking boots, binoculars for wildlife viewing, and a hat to protect you from the sun are essential. Also, pack enough insect repellent to deter a small army of mosquitoes. Remember, ‘swamp chic’ is all the rage in the Pantanal!
Q: Can I swim in the Pantanal? A: While the water might look inviting, it’s best to avoid swimming due to the presence of caimans and piranhas. It’s not the kind of pool party you want to join.
Q: What kind of vegetation will I see in the Pantanal? A: The Pantanal hosts a mix of grasslands, marshes, and forests. It’s kind of like Mother Nature’s experimental garden.
Q: Is the Pantanal at risk? A: Yes, unfortunately. The Pantanal faces threats from deforestation, cattle ranching, and climate change. Let’s not make it into a sad country song.
Q: Can I do birdwatching in the Pantanal? A: Absolutely! With over 1,000 bird species, the Pantanal is a birder’s paradise. Just remember, impersonating bird calls is considered very uncool in the avian world.
Q: How can I best prepare for a trip to the Pantanal? A: Research ahead, book with a responsible tour operator, and pack for the weather and activities. And maybe practice your ‘wow, that’s an incredible animal’ face in the mirror.
Q: What local communities live in the Pantanal? A: The Pantanal is home to a number of indigenous and traditional communities, including the Bororo, Terena, and Guató people. Remember, they’re not part of the wildlife – show the same respect you would anywhere else.
wooden boardwalk in the rainforest of the Jungle along the Miranda River in the Pantanal Brazil South America
Other outdoor activities you can do include: boating, jeep safari, riding horse back, and fishing.
Paraguay River at sunrise
During my unforgettable adventure in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, I was immersed in an ecosystem teeming with some of the most captivating wildlife on the planet. The sheer abundance and diversity of the animals I encountered were unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
My journey took me through this expansive natural wonder, which stretches across Brazil and extends into Bolivia and Paraguay. The Pantanal covers an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 square miles, an area so vast that it felt like an endless mosaic of rivers, marshes, and savanna.
One of the most thrilling moments was when I spotted a jaguar. This majestic feline, the third-largest big cat in the world after tigers and lions, was lounging on the riverbank. Its powerful build was unmistakable, with males weighing up to 220 pounds or more and measuring around six feet in length, not including the tail. The jaguar’s rosette-patterned coat provided excellent camouflage in the dappled light of the forest, but there it was, in full view, a testament to the Pantanal’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to see these elusive creatures in the wild.
Birdlife in the Pantanal was equally impressive. I saw a jabiru stork standing tall by the water’s edge. It’s the tallest flying bird found in South America, with some individuals reaching up to 5 feet in height. Its striking red neck pouch contrasted vividly against its white plumage, and as it took flight, the whoosh of its massive wings, which can span up to 9 feet, filled the air.
Capuchin monkeys were a common sight, their intelligent faces and dexterous hands a source of endless fascination as they leaped from tree to tree. These small primates, which could weigh anywhere from 3 to 9 pounds, were social creatures, and their playful antics were a joy to watch.
As I ventured further, I encountered a group of giant otters by a river, their sleek bodies gliding effortlessly through the water. These endangered mammals, which can grow up to 5.9 feet in length, were a rare sight and a highlight of my trip. They were fishing, working as a team, and their cooperative hunting techniques were a marvel to witness.
Waterfall at Chapada dos Guimaraes, Mato Grosso, Brazil is a must see.
List of the cool looking wildlife you can see here:
- Giant otter
- Green anaconda
- Black caiman
- Toco toucan
- Hyacinth macaw
- Blue-and-yellow macaw
- Red-and-green macaw
- Jabiru stork
- Roseate spoonbill
- Southern screamer
- Greater rhea
- Marsh deer
- Brazilian tapir
- Maned wolf
- Crab-eating fox
- Giant anteater
- Tamandua anteater
- Giant armadillo
- Collared peccary
- White-lipped peccary
- Yellow anaconda
- Caiman lizard
- Spectacled caiman
- Black howler monkey
- Capuchin monkey
- Giant river otter
- Crab-eating raccoon
- Marsh tapir
- Lowland tapir
- Gray brocket deer
- Southern tamandua
- Red brocket deer
- South American coati
- Tegu lizard
- Red-footed tortoise
- Yellow-footed tortoise
- Black vulture
- King vulture
- White-tailed hawk
- Snail kite
- Plumbeous ibis
- Bare-faced curassow
- Gray-necked wood-rail
- Southern lapwing
- Rufous-sided crake
How to get here
International flights often connect through São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, from where you can take a domestic flight to one of these cities.
- Campo Grande: The capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, this city offers access to the southern Pantanal.
- Cuiabá: The capital of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá is a popular starting point for visiting the northern Pantanal.
- Corumbá: Located on the border of Bolivia, Corumbá provides access to the western Pantanal and the Paraguay River.