Pantanal: discover the main eco-tourism destination in the country

Brazilians began to discover the Pantanal through the small screen of the TV, with the overproduction of the soap opera Pantanal, over thirty years ago, which was presented on the disappearance of Rede Manchete, becoming one of the main destinations of ecological tourism in the country; and now Rede Globo, in his remake of the novel, brings back to the eyes of this country that world beyond all we know, with a unique color palette: the largest floodplain on the planet, which is painted in its only two seasons, full and dry, with colors that mix with each sunset, resulting in pictures of a surprising beauty, making it, without a doubt, one of the most desired destinations.

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It has a length of 250,000 square kilometers, spread across the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, and neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay.

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

The best time to visit

The flood season takes place from November to March, when many roads are flooded and it is not possible to carry out activities. The best time is from April to October, when the rains are less constant.


For those who want to know the Pantanal area called “north”, the entrance gate is through Cuiabá (MT), and passing through Transpantaneira, with a length of 147 kilometers, connects Poconé with Porto Jofre. A dirt road with many bridges, many still wooden and having great tourist attractions around you. It was created to connect MT to MS, but was not completed and ends in Porto Jofre. On the shores of Parque Road, you can see many free-living animals.

For those looking for the southern Pantanal, two options to get by air, Campo Grande, the capital of the state of Mato do Grosso do Sul, from where transfers to Aquidauana and Miranda depart; and Corumbá, with a port ready for the departure of large ships.

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


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Transfer to Campo Grande

There is much to see and experience in the Pantanal

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For decades wetland attracts foreign tourists to discover this unique biome, and they continue to be 80% Dutch, French, Danish, among others.

There are many things to see and do in Pantanal and there are many hotel options that offer everything from the comfort of a luxurious five star hotel to inns of various sizes, farms that open their doors to jungle huts and boats. hotels.

Almost all hotels offer experiences such as piranha fishing, where the fish turns into a delicious broth; riding in swampy areas, with an average duration of an hour and a half, to better understand the life of local pedestrians.

photo safari

The photo safari, which can be done in a special car or by boat, is the time to get to know some of the animals in the region. Luckily, you will find ants, pampas deer, wolves, hummingbirds, otters, giant armadillos, which can reach 3 meters in length, countless alligators and the largest of the American cats, the famous jaguar; with a high concentration of its population in the region of Porto Jofre (MT) and present especially in the region of Miranda (MS).

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wild camp

There are hotels that offer the one night option in a wild camp, where after a few hours of sailing along the river, the tents are pitched by a river, away from any civilization. Usually at night, the capybara and other animals pass through the camp, making the experience even more unique.

Jaguar in the Pantanal
Jaguar in the Pantanal

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aquatic activities

Rowing and floating are options for aquatic activitiesas well as focusing, a night walk along the river, to get to know the habits of animals that have at their peak activity at night, such as alligators.


Boating at sunset is a magical moment. The sunset brings hitherto unseen colors, with mixtures that seem unlikely, such as the sky painted purple and orange, or red of various shades, creating a natural setting where it is seen only in the Pantanal. Suddenly, as if a curtain had been drawn back, night falls, and with it thousands of bright spots spread, creating an innumerable starry sky.

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Mato Grosso

Mato Grosso do Sul

Barca Hotel

Pantanal has been considered a World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve
Pantanal has been considered a World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve

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Pantanal cuisine is strongly influenced by the natives and gaúcha, with their own flavors, based on fish, beef and roots.

Macarrão de Comitiva and Carreteiro rice are typical dishes of the entourage that accompany the shepherds who cross large areas of land to take the cattle to dry places during the floods in the Pantanal. They are responsible for feeding pedestrians throughout the journey. They make unique dishes, cooked in a single pan and high in protein.

Macarrão de Comitiva has the dough first fried and then cooked, adding beef; is a version of the famous Arroz de Carreteiro, which mixes several ingredients in addition to rice and meat – usually dried meat – such as vegetables. A popular accompaniment during meal trips is Paçoca Pantaneira, made with chopped dried meat mixed with onion, garlic and cassava flour.

crooked pause

Quebra-Torto is a very common breakfast on the farms of Mato Grosso do Sul, consisting of Carreteiro rice, eggs and farofa. It is common for hotels and inns in the region to serve Quebra-Torto as an afternoon snack for guests.

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Paraguayan soup
Paraguayan soup

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Piranha Soup and Paraguayan Soup

Typical of the region, Caldo de Piranha, a type of soup made with minced fish meat, which is said to be an excellent energy drink and an excellent aphrodisiac.

A legacy from the Paraguayan war, it is present in the Pantanal menu with Paraguayan Soup, which, although it is called “soup”, is actually a corn cake with cheese and onions, eaten mainly for breakfast and afternoon tea.


Also of Paraguayan origin, Chipa is present at the pantaneiros’ table. Similar to a cheese bread, it has a firmer consistency and a unique flavor.


It is impossible to talk about Pantanal cuisine without mentioning Sarrabulho, based on beef organs, olives and red wine, pepperoni and sausages, accompanied by the Pantanal grill, the latter learned from the people of Rio Grande and adapted to the local culture, after as well as Tererê, the cold version of chimarrão.

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Saltenhas bolivieni

Saltenhas Bolivianas, a breaded chicken with potatoes, raisins, which have a slightly sweet dough, were also incorporated into the Pantanal kitchen, as well as, in the capital Mato Grosso do Sul, Sobá, a Japanese ramen noodle, which received in 2006 the status of intangible cultural property of Campo Grande, cataloged by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage.

desserts and fruits

Desserts include traditional pumpkin sweets in syrup and milk, and the Pantanal fruit list includes bocaiuva, araçá, guariroba, jatobá, jenipapo, roua, pequi, araticum and acuri – the latter two are highly prized by the country.


Mato Grosso

  • Barara (Poconé) – Phone: (65) 9998-4781
  • Tradition Steakhouse – Phone: (65) 3345-1060

Mato Grosso do Sul

For more tourist information, visit:

* By Patricia Campos

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

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