South America Travel

The Pantanal Region

The wetlands of the Pantanal as seen from above For wildlife enthusiasts, the Pantanal is a must-see. With a vast expanse of swampland that alternates between dry and wet seasons, this is home to a vast array of wildlife, including alligators, jaguars, anacondas, and hyacinth macaws, just to name a few. This region is the largest inland swamp in the world, covering 200,000 square km of area. It is situated in West Brazil and stretches along the borders of Bolivia and Paraguay, and extending into the two countries.

Brazilian Pantanal
The Brazilian side makes up the most of the Pantanal region, with an area about the size of France. It is a great place for wildlife spotting, which can be done on horseback, on a boat trip, or by trekking through the wilderness with a knowledgeable guide. Some animals you may find are giant otters, marsh deer, capybara, as well as many endangered bird species, including the anhinga, great egret, jabiru, wood stork, roseate spoonbill, and the striated heron. Along the banks of the rivers you'll also find rainforests populated with monkeys such as spider monkeys and black gibbons.

It is best to take an organized tour, since there are only a few obscure roads that can take you across the swamp. Tours can be arranged from three main surrounding towns. Campo Grande, Corumba, and Cuaiba all are excellent starting points since airports, travel agencies, and lodging are available. For even deeper exploration another option is to stay overnight at a fazenda-lodge, which is usually a converted ranch house.

Bolivian Pantanal
The Bolivian Pantanal makes up about 10% of the region and is situated in the Santa Cruz region. In addition to acres of swampland, the area is also covered in large expanses of dense, untouched forests, which make up the western border of the region. This unspoiled landscape makes it an important ecosystem in the area.

A wild sunset in the heart of the Pantanal The best places for wildlife spotting are at the Caceres Lagoon, which is located just outside of Port Suarez and serves as an outlet to the Paraguay River. Here there are an abundance of fish, yacares (alligators), exotic birds, and other wildlife. Just a few miles from the Port are the Motacucito Caves, where you can see stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over thousands of years. Towards the south you'll find the beautiful mountains of Mutun, which are abundant in natural resources. The best way to access the area is through Port Suarez via land or railroad.

Pantanal Weather
The rainy season occurs between January and April when the three main rivers, the Paragui, Taguari and Cuiaba flood the plains and create a thriving environment for a variety of wildlife. The best time to travel here is during the dry season between August and January, with the swamp transforming into uncovered plains where cattle is often raised.

For Further Information Visit:

The Pantanal Travel Guide:
For all the information about sights in Brazil along with lodging, history, transportation, dining and entertainment visit: -> The Pantanal Overview

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