Pantanal: discover the country’s premier eco-tourism destination

Brazilians began discovering the Pantanal through a small television screen when, more than thirty years ago, the super-production of the telenovela “Pantanal” was shown, which was presented on the extinct Rede Mancheta, becoming one of the main eco-tourism destinations in the country; and now Rede Globo, in its remake of the novel, brings back to the eyes of this country that world, different from everything we know, with a unique color palette: the largest floodplain on the planet, which is painted in just two seasons, full and dry, with colors that blend with every sunset, resulting in pictures of amazing beauty, making it one of the most desirable destinations without a doubt.

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Its length is 250,000 square kilometers, it is located in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, as well as in neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay.

Listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve, it has magical weather it makes those who live there, or even those who pass by, connect with its natural essence through connection with nature in its purest simplicity.


The flood season runs from November to March, when many roads are flooded and some activities are not possible. The best period is from April to October when the rains are less constant.


For those who want to get to know the area of ​​the Pantanal, called “north”, the gate passes through Cuiaba (MT) and passes through the 147 kilometers long Transpantanheira, connecting Pokone with Porto Jofre. A dirt road with many bridges, some of which are still made of wood and which great tourist attractions around you. It was created to connect the MT to the MS, but was not completed and ends in Porto Jofre. On the banks of the Park Road you can observe numerous animals living in freedom.

For those looking for the southern Pantanal, there are two options for arriving by air: Campo Grande, the capital of the state of Mato do Grosso do Sul, from where transfers depart to Aquidahuana and Miranda; and Corumba with a port prepared for the withdrawal of large ships.

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  • Cuiaba (Marshal Rondon International Airport)
  • Campo Grande (Campo Grande International Airport)


  • Gol Linhas Aireas, Azul and Latin America

Transfer to Campo Grande

There is something to see and live in the Pantanal

(A photo: )


For decades swamp attracts foreign tourists to discover this unique biome, and they are still, in the proportion of 80%, Dutch, French, Danes and others.

There is so much to see and do in the Pantanal, and there are several hotel options that offer everything from the comfort of a five-star hotel with luxurious rooms, to hotels of various sizes, farms that open their doors, to jungle cabins and boats. hotels.

Almost all hotels offer activities such as piranha fishing, where the fish is turned into a delicious broth; horse rides through the marshland, an average of one and a half hours, to better understand the life of local walkers.

photo safari

Photo safari, which can be done in a special car or boat, is the time to get to know some of the animals of the region. If you are lucky, you will find anteaters, pampas deer, maned wolves, capybaras, otters, giant armadillos that can reach 3 meters in length, countless alligators and the largest of the American cats, the famous jaguar; with a large concentration of population in the Porto Jofre region (MT) and also mainly in the Miranda region (MS).

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wild camp

There are hotels that offer one night option in a wild camp where, after several hours of swimming on the river, tents are set up on the banks of the river, far from any civilization. Capybaras and other animals usually pass through the camp at night, which makes the holiday even more unique.

Jaguar in the Pantanal
Jaguar in the Pantanal

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water activities

Canoeing and swimming are options for water activitiesand also a trick, a night walk along the river, so you can get acquainted with the habits of animals for which the night is the highest point of activity, such as alligators.

Boat trip

A boat ride at sunset is a magical moment. The sunset brings never-before-seen colors, with mixtures that seem incredible, such as the sky tinted in purples and oranges, or reds in various hues, creating a natural base that can only be seen in the Pantanal. Suddenly, as if a curtain has been pulled back, night falls and with it thousands of bright spots creep out, creating a sky with so many stars that it is impossible to count.

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Mato Grosso

Mato Grosso do Sul

Boat Hotel

The Pantanal has been designated a World Natural Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.
The Pantanal has been designated a World Natural Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

(A photo: )


The cuisine of the Pantanal is heavily influenced by local dishes and gaucha, with its own flavors based on fish, beef and roots.

Macarrão de Comitiva and Carreteiro rice are typical retinue dishes that accompany shepherds who traverse large tracts of land to lead cattle to dry places during the Pantanal flood. They are responsible for feeding pedestrians throughout the journey. They make unique dishes cooked in one pan and rich in protein.

In Macarrão de Comitiva, the dough is first fried and then cooked with beef; it is a version of the famous Arroz de Carreteiro that mixes several ingredients in addition to rice and meat – usually dried meat – such as vegetables. A popular accompaniment to a meal on a trip is Paçoca Pantaneira, made from minced jerky mixed with onion, garlic, and cassava flour.

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Quebra-Torto is a very common breakfast on the farms of Mato Grosso do Sul, consisting of carreteiro rice, eggs and farofa. Hotels and inns in this region usually serve quebra torto as an afternoon snack for guests.

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Paraguayan soup
Paraguayan soup

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Piranha broth and Paraguayan soup

Typical of the region, the caldo de piranha, a type of soup made from minced fish meat, is considered an excellent energy drink and an excellent aphrodisiac.

A legacy of the Paraguayan war, it is on the menu of the Pantanal, along with the Paraguayan soup, which, although called “soup”, is actually a cornmeal tortilla with cheese and onions, eaten mainly for breakfast and afternoon tea.


Chipa, also of Paraguayan origin, is present at the pantanheiro table. Like cheese bread, it has a firmer texture and a unique flavor.


It is impossible to talk about pantanal cuisine without mentioning the sarrabulo, based on beef offal, olives and red wine, pepperoni and sausages, accompanied by a pantanal barbecue, the latter borrowed from the inhabitants of the Rio Grande and adapted to the local culture, as well as Tererê, a cold version chimarrao.

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Bolivian Salteñas

Saltenhas Bolivianas, breaded chicken with potatoes, raisins that has a slightly sweet dough, have also been included in Pantanal cuisine, and in the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, Sobá, Japanese ramen-type noodles. which received in 2006 the status of intangible cultural property of Campo Grande, listed by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage.

desserts and fruits

Desserts include traditional pumpkin sweets in syrup and milk, while the list of Pantanal fruits includes bocaiuwa, arasa, guariroba, jatoba, genipapo, dew, peki, aratikum and akuri – the latter two are highly valued by ara.


Mato Grosso

  • Barara (Pocone) – Phone: (65) 9998-4781
  • Traditional Steakhouse – Phone: (65) 3345-1060

Mato Grosso do Sul

For other tourist information visit:

*Patricia Campos

Text originally published in Qual Viagem (Issue 98, Year 8, April 2022).

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