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The Pantanal

Why go to the Pantanal?

South of Brazil's Amazon is a vast area of land known as the Pantanal. It is a curious combination of wilderness and cattle farming lands. You can see amazing wildlife alongside the ranching culture of the pantaneiros
Highlights of the Pantanal include:

  • See jaguars in the wild by the Cuiaba River
  • Giant otters are frequently seen in the same region as the jaguars.
  • Other excellent wildlife includes capybara, caiman, tapirs, various monkey species, and great birdlife such as rare hyacinth macaws, herons, spoonbills and the symbol of the Pantanal, the jabiru stork.
  • See the cattle ranching culture of the pantaneiros sitting alongside the wilderness areas and wildlife. 
  • Drive on the famous Transpantaneiro Highway. 
  • Take boat trips on the Cuiaba River at the south end of the highway. 

The Pantanal: How to do it

The Pantanal is in effect split up into the north and south in terms of what you can reach from which access point. 

Northern Pantanal: You fly into Cuiaba then drive south into the northern Pantanal. This area is particularly famed for its jaguars.  To reach them it is a non-stop drive of about 6 hours so most people split the journey either one or both ways.   
This region combines well with Chapada Guimaraes National Park, which is about 3-4 hours drive north of Cuiaba. It's an impressive area of table mountains. Have a look at Park Eco Lodge. 
Southern Pantanal: Fly into Campo Grande.  Most lodges are 3-4 hours drive from here, but the very best wildlife lodges are more remote and take about 6 hours (only possible in dry season - June to October). For this reason, it's common to fly into small airstrips to stay at these lodges.
It's easier to get to the southern Pantanal than the north, and it links very well with Bonito, which is only a roughly 4 hour drive. 

Where to stay in the Pantanal

Some of our favourite lodges in the Pantanal include Southwild Flotel (because of the proximity to the jaguars), Araras Lodge (for its good eco-credentials, horse riding and lots of other activities) and Fazenda Barranco Alto (for its remoteness and excellent wildlife). 

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The Pantanal accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT -3 hours

Flight time:

Most flights go to Sao Paulo but some airlines have direct flights to Rio de Janeiro, and to North-eastern Brazil. British Airways and TAM have direct flights from London and many European carriers also offer flights to Brazil.

Language: Portuguese is the official language. Spanish and English are understood quite widely.


Not required for British nationals.


There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if you are coming from an infected area. Malaria prophylactics are recommended in the rainforest.



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