The World's largest Wetland
Welcome to the Pantanal! Home to 150kg/330 pound Lioness sized Jaguars and home to 10 million Yacare Caimans! This is a wild place, a very wild place!
The Pantanal is the World's largest wetland with an estimated size of 200,000 Square Kilometer (80,000 square miles) bigger than many countries stretching from Brazil to Bolivia and Paraguay.
There really is no other place like the Pantanal, the abundance of wildlife is astonishing and its remoteness is thrilling. The Pantanal is still visited very little compared to other major wildlife hotspots which partly is due to how isolated it is and how few people live in the area. Besides a few ranch families and small villages there really is not much of a population to speak off. The Pantanal is also one of the few places in the Americas where you have a very good chance to see a Jaguar in the wild.
So what can you really expect to see in the Pantanal? On our last trip we saw 4 different species of macaws including the Hyacinth macaw, Tapir, Armadillo's, Crab eating foxes, Coatis, Giant Anteater, deer, Rhea's (ostrich), Giant river otters, Neotropical otter Agouti, and many species of birds. Of course we also saw Yacare Caimans and Capibara everywhere we looked.
The Pantanal is rich in wildlife all year round but the best time to visit would be towards the end of the dry seasons from July - October when the animals concentrate around the waterholes. We do not recommend to go during the wet season as the amount of mosquito's is quite crazy. If you do go make sure you were UV proof clothing as mosquito's in general can not sting through the fabric. I wore a regular long-sleeved short at one point in the morning and returned back to camp with my back covered in a hundred or so bites.
HOW TO GET THERE
Depending on the time of the year you can either arrive by plane or by 4x4. Normally we recommend the overland trips but in this case the plane is also a very cool option. Being able to see the Pantanal from above is truly stunning. From the Northern Pantanal planes leave from Cuiaba and from the Southern end from Campo Grande. Getting to either of these cities is easy from Sao Paolo or Rio.
If you get the same pilot we had a few years back and when he asks if you want "the motion" then first check out this video before you say yes or no! We had a heck of a time flying just a few meters above the river!
The Pantanal really has a lot to offer and most 4 day stays will include a lot of boating and 4x4 safaris. Most places also include a kayaking and horseback riding safari which can get you really close to to the animals. Last but not least is of course fishing for Piranha's which is always lots of fun! While Kayaking we have a bit of a run in with one of the Caimans.
Going through the Pantanal on horseback is something else. Not only are you following in the footsteps of the cattle ranchers how been calling this wilderness home for the last couple hundred years it is also is amazing way to see the wildlife and get extra close.
As a real nature lover the Pantanal can not be missing from you bucket list. It is one of the best places in the world to see wildlife and hands down the best place to see many of the Iconic South American animals in one place where they are very visible.