Corumba & the Pantanal

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South America » Brazil » Mato Grosso » Pantanal
January 7th 2015
Published: February 19th 2015
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After finally making our way through Bolivian customs we headed to the Brazilian border town of Corumba, the gateway to the Southern Pantanal. The Pantanal is the world’s largest flooding plain (20 times the size of the Everglades) with hundreds of species of birds, insects, ranches of Brahma cattle and the world’s largest population of jaguars. Our hostel welcomed us with a dorm all to ourselves and a pool to relax in after the brutal heat of the border crossing. Since it was low season, there weren’t many tour operators in the area (most use Campo Grande as their base) so we took the advice of our host who also had connections in tour companies and ranches in the Pantanal. With a 3-day tour decided upon, we wandered into town for dinner and found an excellent restaurant for a fish dinner accompanied with chilled beers.

Departing the next day for our tour, we boarded a bus bound for Campo Grande and were told our stop would be in about 90 minutes. Sure enough, the bus pulled over after that time, albeit in the middle of nowhere and we disembarked and set up camp under a nearby tree. Our open tray truck arrived to take us 90 more minutes into the jungle to our ranch, LAGOA AZUL? . We had a private room with ensuite and AC, a pool, all meals included and activities for the 3 days including a night drive for nocturnal animal spotting (including an armadillo, capivaras, caimans, etc), a jungle walk (we saw black howler monkeys, another armadillo, etc), a river cruise (more black howler monkeys, amazing plant life and many birds), piranha fishing (Courtney: 4, Paul: 2 featuring black and white piranha & lambari) and some bird watching of the beautiful hyacinth macaws on our property.

Having already been to the Amazon, we weren’t sure how much overlap there’d be in plant and animal life but we’re glad we came to the Pantanal too. It’s a shame we couldn’t have spent a few extra days to go further into the area as the chances of jaguar sightings are increased the deeper you go. Seeing the variation of animals was also great as every new sighting was a surprise. Plus the victorious fishing trip was fun – especially seeing the predatory piranhas and caimans up close!

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