Overview

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.

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Things to do

Wildlife spotting is the main activity in the Pantanal, and you can do this on foot, on horseback or by boat. Speak to an expert or enquire online.

Where to go when - our guide to The Pantanal

Pantanal

The weather in The Pantanal is wide and varied

The world’s largest wetland is home to a huge array of wildlife: from giant storks to macaws, capybara to graceful jaguars. From January to March, heavy rainfall results in widespread flooding of the wetlands, with wildlife packed onto islands above the water level. April - June the waters recede and water-birds return to the isolated lakes, while July - September (winter) wildlife is at its most abundant. Winter is the optimum time to spot wildlife, especially mammals, though they can take cover during cold snaps.

View our The Pantanal weather guide

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Sally Dodge
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Juliet Ellwood
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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