The Pantanal affords the richest wildlife viewing in the Americas. It's much easier to see the animals here than it is in the Amazon because they are more out in the open, as opposed to being hidden amongst the trees. We use lodging that affords the best viewing opportunities for Pantanal tours. We offer tours in both the southern and Northern Pantanal, accessed by different airports. We also offer several lodging options for people who specifically want to see jaguars.
Northern Pantanal (via Cuiaba)
Southern Pantanal (via Campo Grande)
Mato Grosso is the third largest state in Brazil with more than 900,000 km2 and within area are found three great and distinct eco-systems: Savannah or Scrubland, dominates the whole of the Brazilian Central Plateau and adjacent areas; the Amazon Forest, situated in the north of the state, where one of the largest indigenous reserves of the country is situated - the Xingu National Park - and, finally, to the southwest of the state is found the immense sedimentary plain part of the Silver (Platina) Basin, the Matogrossense Pantanal, a fascinating ecological sanctuary.
Cuiabá, the capital of the state founded at the begining of the 18th century as a consequence of mining, is located at the geodesic center of South America. Strategically positioned at the convergence of three biosphere (Savannah, Amazon and Pantanal), makes it the best starting point for Pantanal tour expeditions to any of these fantastic and fascinating worlds.
The Pantanal of Mato Grosso is an extensive plain of approximately 230,000 km2 and its area occupies territory of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay in the heart of South America. This sedimentary plain is still undergoing geological formation and so is influenced by its two cycles.
During the wet season (November to April), the region is flooded as a consequence of the overflowing of its numerous waterways (rivers, lakes and streams) which form the Silver Basin: this is the time of an explosion of colours in the rich flora. The animals, especially the mammals, look for “capões” - wooded mounds- where they shelter during this period. It normally rains for about 2 hours in the afternoon or evening and much of the water flows in from places many miles away.
In the dry season (May to October), the region presents small lakes, many of which are perennial, which constitute the food source for a great variety of animals including migratory birds from various parts of the Planet.
Approximately 700 species of birds; 100 of mammals; 80 of reptiles; 240 of fish as well as a great number of invertebrates sitll not classified, constitute the richest variety of fauna to be found in the Americas.
On the edge of the Brazilian Central Plateau stands the mystical Chapada dos Guimarães, a region of peculiar topography, at an altitude of 650m. Rock formations of various geological era and fossils of marine deposits from the Devonian Period, as well as reptiles from the Mesozoic Period, illustrate the various geolocial phases this region has been through.Situated at a point equidistant from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and being the watershed between the Amazon and Silver Basins, the region was used by the paleoindians during their wanderings through South America, leaving various marks as well as the remains found in the archeological sites. One of the most majestical emergent rock formations in the World is today the source of various rivers which, descending in waterfalls, find their way into the Pantanal.
THE PANTANAL IN ITS DIFFERENT CYCLES
Pantanal has distinct phases as it passes through its cycles. Involving the movement of the water, variations in access possibilities and principally, the migratory routes of the animals, we consider :
THE FLOOD (JAN/FEB/MAR) - Concentration of mammmals in small unflooded areas of land ( mounds and hills) *** Explosion of colours in the rich flora, especially aquatic plants *** Ideal means of transport: boat and canoe *** Fishing prohibited; caiman nests *** Few mosquitoes *** Fruits: guava, “seriguela” *** More difficult access *** longer days*** though it rains more during this time, it's usually only for an hour or two a day - the reason it floods is because such a large area drains into it
EMPTYING - DRY ( APR/MAY/JUN) : Beginning of the concentration of birds and reptiles. Return of migratory birds such as the Spoonbill and Wood Storks from the Everglades (Flórida/USA) *** Fresher climate, cooler nights *** Means of transport : boat, horse and cart *** In the beginning of the period, presence of mosquitoes at nightfall *** Production of milk and dairy products *** Birth of young caimans
DRY ( JUL/AUG/SEP ) - Concentration of birds and reptiles in the few water pools *** Blossoming of yellow, lilac and pink “ ipês”; production of bees honey *** Excellent for fishing *** Winter climate. Cold nights. Abrupt temperature changes *** Means of transport : boat, horse and cart, on foot, and tractor *** Easy access *** short days *** Poor visibility due to dust and smoke; August's “ cashew rain “ is the only exception *** Wood Stork and Spoonbill nests (migratory birds) and Jabiru Storks;
FLOODING ( OCT/NOV/DEC ) - Preparation of migratory birds for return *** Beginning of flowering of all vegetation, scent of flowers and bees *** Fruition of the majority of the vegetation ( jatobá, seputá,cactus, cashew, mango) *** Large concentration of small birds *** Means of transport : boat, horse, cart and on foot *** Mating time for the majority of animals such as jaguars, hyacinth macaws, toucans, deer *** Action of predators such as snakes, lizards, hawks, and jaguars *** Towards the end of this period, presence of mosquitoes at nightfall *** Cloudy skies - pretty sunrises and sunsets; Long days.