Published: March 6th 2011March 5th 2011
Another HUGE spider
Crawled right out from under me on the curb at the bus stop
Well. The Pantanal.
An awesome adventure in the wild!
We heard from another pair of travelers that Santa Clara offered an amazing experience of the Pantanal. So we exchanged a few emails and headed on a 14 hour overnight bus ride to Campo Grande (which they pronounce Campo GahnGeee). There, Magaly, from the office met with us and discussed the details of our trip as she readied us for another ride out into the state of Mato Grasso where we would meet our guide. After about 4 and a half hours, the bus driver dropped us off, literally at a little hut on the side of the road. So, we waited......
....and in about half an hour, an Indiana Jones-like character jumped out of a super muddy truck and greeted us. We rode for another hour on a bumpy dirt road to the farm.
We passed the lodge for house guests and went down the road close to the river where there's a second structure with an outdoor kitchen, dining area and bar, with an upstairs screened in and loaded with hammocks. The first night we opted for a tent outside, as 32 German biologists
From the shack on the road side
Hoping someone would come our way
had taken over the hammocks. The local staff, who live there year round, made an incredible dinner. We got settled, had dinner and a caiparinha, made some friends, and called it a night.
Day 1: Our guide Tom met us for a boat ride. We boarded the SS Canoe with 6 others and headed down the Miranda River. Of course, it began raining cats and dogs. Or maybe it was raining coaties and toucans, I can't quite remember. Anyhoo, it was the first that morning of the daily torrential downpours we've been experiencing in a late raining season in SA! But, our dedicated guide forged on. For 2 and a half hours in the driving rain, we sought animals and birds while the guide bailed out the boat, which filled with water every so often. We saw toucans, river otters, cayman, kingfishers (bird), howler monkeys, capibara and even a partridge in a pear tree (not really, but in my mind---get it, Andrea, Eryn and Jess?). Problem in sharing all that fabulous wildlife with you all was a. Getting the camera out would mean drowning it in water and ruining it (which I've already done to my poor camera)
and 2. By the time you'd be camera ready, the animal/bird had disappeared. Still have some to share, though.... Truly awesome.
We later boarded a big truck and went on a safari into the wetlands/jungle. We were ATTACKED by mosquitoes from this point on (See disgusting photo below). But, we saw a snake, more cayman and birds. And the coolest thing was that we continued on after sunset, in the dark in the middle of nowhere! We saw an owl and fireflies and the headlight lit eyes of tons of cayman and it was awesome! Of course, all this in the driving rain which was, at this point, a relief from the REDONKULOUS mosquitos!
Went back for another amazing meal and this time retired to the hammocks, which were actually quite nice!!
Day 2: This time we met our guide for a horseback ride. Saw a parrot and other birds, this time only in a mist of rain. Went back for another delicious meal and then headed out of the Pantanal to the shack from where we had begun, and awaited our bus back to Campo Grande.
Amazing trip, even though I
had to seek prescription relief from the mosquito bites. (106 from waist to toe on my left leg alone!!!) Recovering, and John too, though he seemed a little less tasty to the bugs. :-)
There are more photos below