The Brazilians began to discover the Pantanal through the small television screen, with the super production of the Pantanal telenovela, over thirty years ago, which was presented on the extinct Rede Manchete, becoming one of the main ecological tourism destinations in the country; and now Rede Globo, in his remake of the novel, brings to the eyes of this country that world apart from everything we know, with a unique color palette: the largest alluvial plain on the planet, which is painted in its only two seasons, full and dry, with colors that mix with each sunset, giving life to images of surprising beauty, which undoubtedly make it one of the most popular destinations.
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It is 250,000 square kilometers long, distributed in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil, and in neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay.
Considered by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, it has a magical climate which connects those who live there, or even those who are passing through, with its natural essence through a link with nature in its purest rusticity.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The flood season takes place from November to March, when many roads are flooded and some activities cannot be carried out. The best period is from April to October, when the rains are less constant.
HOW TO REACH THE PANTANAL
For those who want to know the area of the Pantanal called “north”, the door is through Cuiabá (MT), and passing through the Transpantaneira, with 147 kilometers in length, connects Poconé to Porto Jofre. A dirt road with many bridges, many still made of wood and which have great tourist attractions around you. It was created to connect MT to MS, but was not completed and ends in Porto Jofre. On the banks of the Parque road it is possible to observe numerous animals living free.
For those looking for the southern Pantanal, two options to arrive by plane, 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 prepared for the departure of large ships.
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- Cuiabá (Marechal Rondon International Airport)
- Campo Grande (Campo Grande International Airport)
- Gol Linhas Aéreas, Azul and LATAM
Transfer to Campo Grande
For decades, the humid area it attracts foreign tourists to discover this unique biome and they continue to be, in a proportion of 80%, Dutch, French, Danish, among others.
There is a lot to see and experience in the Pantanal and there are several hotel options offering everything from the comfort of a five-star hotel with luxury accommodations, to inns of various sizes, farms that open their doors to lodges. in the jungle and boat-hotels.
Most hotels offer experiences such as piranha fishing, where the fish turns into a delicious broth; horseback riding in marshy areas, lasting an average of an hour and a half, to better understand the life of local pedestrians.
The 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. With a little luck you will find anteaters, pampas deer, maned wolves, capybaras, otters, giant armadillos, which can reach 3 meters in length, countless alligators and the largest of American cats, the famous jaguar; with a large concentration of its population in the Porto Jofre region (MT) and also present mainly in the Miranda region (MS).
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There are hotels that offer one night option in a wild camp, where after a few hours of sailing along the river, tents are set up by the river, far from any kind of civilization. Usually at night, capybara and other animals cross the field, making the experience even more unique.
Canoe and float are options for water activitiesin addition to the focus, a night walk along the river, to learn about the habits of animals that have the night as the highlight of their activity, such as alligators.
The sunset boat ride is a magical moment. The sunset brings colors never seen before, with mixtures that seem unlikely, such as the sky tinged with purple and orange, or red of various shades, creating a natural framework where it is only seen in the Pantanal. Suddenly, as if a curtain had been pulled back, night falls and, together with it, thousands of luminous points expand, creating a sky with so many stars impossible to count.
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PLACES TO STAY
Mato Grosso do Sul
Hotel by boat
Pantanal cuisine is heavily influenced by natives and gaúcha, with its flavors, based on fish, beef and roots.
Macarrão de Comitiva and Carreteiro rice are typical dishes of the entourages who accompany the shepherds who cross large tracts of land to bring their cattle dry, during the floods of the Pantanal. They are responsible for feeding pedestrians during the journey. They make unique dishes, cooked in a single pan and with a rich protein power.
Macarrão de Comitiva has the mixture first fried and then cooked, adding beef; is a version of the famous Arroz de Carreteiro, which mixes different ingredients in addition to rice and meat – usually dried meat – such as vegetables. A popular accompaniment to meals while traveling is Paçoca Pantaneira, made from shredded dried meat mixed with onion, garlic, and cassava flour.
Quebra-Torto is a very common breakfast on farms in 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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Piranha broth and Paraguayan soup
Typical of the region, Caldo de Piranha, a type of soup made from minced fish meat, is said to be a great energy drink and a great aphrodisiac.
Legacy of the Paraguayan war, it is present on the Pantanal menu with the Paraguayan Soup, which, despite taking the name of “soup”, is actually a cornmeal cake with cheese and onion, mainly consumed for breakfast and tea afternoon.
Also of Paraguayan origin, Chipa is present at the pantaneiros table. Similar to cheese bread, it has a firmer texture and a unique flavor.
It is impossible to talk about Pantanal cuisine without mentioning Sarrabulho, based on bovine offal, olives and red wine, peppers and sausage, accompanied by the Pantanal barbecue, the latter learned from the people of Rio Grande and adapted to the local culture, as so like Tererê, the cold version of chimarrão.
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Saltenhas Bolivianas, a breaded chicken with potatoes, raisins, which has a slightly sweet dough, as well as, in the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, Sobá, a Japanese ramen-type noodle, have also been incorporated into the cuisine of the Pantanal. in 2006 the status of cultural property of an intangible nature of Campo Grande, registered by the Institute for National Historic and Artistic Heritage.
sweets and fruit
Among the desserts, the traditional pumpkin sweets in syrup and milk stand out, and the list of Pantanal fruits includes bocaiuva, araçá, guariroba, jatobá, jenipapo, dew, pequi, araticum and acuri: the latter two are very popular with macaws.
RESTAURANT OPTIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Barara (Poconé) – Phone: (65) 9998-4781
- Tradition Steakhouse – Phone: (65) 3345-1060
Mato Grosso do Sul
For other tourist information, visit:
* By Patricia Campos
Text originally published in Qual Viagem magazine (Edition 98, Year 8, April 2022).
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