Slap in the centre of Brazil is the world’s largest wetland, a mix of wilderness and cattle ranches with savannah, swamps and sluggish rivers. Just one road (the Transpantaneira) leads into the heart of the region, giving access to farms and eco-lodges.
You could spend a week or more in the Pantanal but 3-4 days can provide a memorable experience of its remarkable wildlife and inexplicable beauty. Stands of trees are scattered, so that the huge array of wildlife: birds from giant storks to macaws, mammals from capybara to anteaters and reptiles from caimans to anacondas are easily viewed by nature enthusiasts exploring by boat, on foot and on horseback. Flooding after the rains brings vast lagoons reflecting apricot sunsets; the dry season reveals walkable trails.
The Mato Grosso region has much more to offer besides: the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park near Cuiabá is endowed with waterfalls, ridges and tablelands, a magnet for birders. Closer to Campo Grande, a nucleus of labyrinthine rivers and caves has turned Bonito into a soft adventure destination.