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Discovering the Hidden Gems of South Pantanal: A Wildlife Adventure

South Pantanal, Mato Grosso Sul – Midwest , Brazil

Largest extension of floodplains on the planet, the Pantanal Sul-Mato-Grossense (South Pantanal) is an oasis of water and wildlife in impressive quantity and variety, and it is the meeting place of many rivers. The Pantanal is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, one of the last intact ecological paradises.

Flavio Pereira, our co-worker in operations and specialist in Brazil, departure in an adventure last May 2023 to discover all the hidden gems South Pantanal has to offer us. And here he tells us all the important informations you have to know to prepare an itinerary to Pantanal:

The first question that is asked, what is the best period to visit?

In fact, the whole year is a good time to visit, the important thing is to know what you want to see in the Pantanal: the wetlands? the wild life? or are you a bird watcher?

Every month of the year there are attractions, specifically the Pantanal South region, the seasons are well divided between:

  • Summer is rainy, and it is the water season when the Pantanal is flooded, but it is possible to see birds of aquatic habits, and the sunset is more beautiful.
  • In the autumn in Brazil or during the Vazante period, the water level begins to drop and ponds are formed that hold many fish, so it is a feast for birds.
  • In winter , extending to half of spring, that is, from July to October , it is the driest season, it is the best period to observe wildlife and it is easier to travel by land.
  • And finally, the period of the floods, November and December , is the period of reproduction of the birds, very common to see chicks feeding with the parents.

However, the transition period between spring and the end of summer is the rainy season, hot, there are many mosquitoes, and because it is rainy the swamp is flooded, these are the characteristics of the “Pantanal”.

It is important to emphasize that you you should have the purpose of the trip in mind, what are the interests of the tours, so that the trip is well prepared as well as the logistical accesses and if you are going at the right time.

The most recommended period to be able to see the animals is between the months of “June to October”, although another phrase that was heard there and that defines it well, “nature commands”, that is, it is not 100% guaranteed that any specific sighting will be possible, but the chances are immense in this period, as the rivers start to recede and the animals start to leave the waters and the forests in search of food, on the other hand the climate is milder, and the walks during the dawn and at night they are cold.

How to get there?

Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, is the gateway to the South Pantanal, and has regular daily flights from Rio de Janeiro,  São Paulo and Campinas, other entry points are Corumbá and Bonito with lower frequencies.

The regions of Pantanal:

1. Aquidauana: Located on Serra de Maracaju, It is known as City of Nature, due to the variety of flora and fauna. Possessing many attractions, the city enchants with its unique scenarios. It provides an excellent view of the plain from the Piraputanga and Maracaju mountains.

The city has several rivers for fishing, among the most fishy in the country, and several spots for photographic safaris and ecological tours. However, the river that gives its name to the city is the main one. Hiking, horseback riding or boating offer fantastic leisure to visitors, as well as moments of beauty and emotion as they come into contact with one of the largest concentrations of birds and animals on the planet.


2. Miranda: Entry point for those coming from Campo Grande at the beginning of the South Pantanal Biome is called the old town of the Pantanal, the focus of this trip was to explore from Miranda, the Tours in the Pousadas of the Pantanal, the Salobra Project with boat trip and animal sighting and birds, and the Pantanal Experience, which is to experience authentic Pantanal life.


  • Projeto Salobra: Located 20 KM from the Hotel Pantanal, in the center of the city of Miranda, the project itself is focused on sustainability, it is a totally preserved area, where fishing is prohibited, it is a great biodiversity of Mato Grosso do Sul, this tour is possible when the river at a lower post-rain level, you will see stingrays, fish from the region, alligators, it is a river that meets the Salobra river with more crystalline waters, which is the desired point of the tour. The Miranda River is almost 500 km long and flows into the Paraguay River in Corumbá.
  • Pousadas Pequi and Aguapé: The Pousadas Pequi and Aguapé, are rustic, centenary inns and are very well preserved, offer rates with Full Board and include two tours per day of the guest’s choice, such as: Ecological Walk, Livestock Work, Alligator Spotting, Photographic Safari, Piranha Fishing, River Tour, Carriage Tour and Bird Watching (Birds of the Pantanal) the latter requires an appointment and has an extra cost, as it comes with a specialized guide to inform you about more than 600 species already registered and catalogued.
  • Pantanal Experience: Located 22 km from the center of Miranda, or 63 km from Aquidauana, it is a true experience as the name of this incredible place rightly calls for those who want to experience an adventure riding as if they were in a root entourage. Starting with the site of the centenary pottery “Cerâmica Santa Cecília”, the farm has the Agachi museum, which preserves and rescues the history of the construction of Miranda, in this place of excellent structure, it is possible to spend a day and have the feeling of being a cowboy, leading the cattle like a true Pantanal man, passing through trails, rivers, rural paths at the same time with the possibility of sighting species from the region, and ending with a real entourage lunch. It is also possible to take other tours such as the Farm Tour, trails in forests and farm fields, getting to know plants that are natural inputs for the development of medicine.


3. Bodoquena: City at the foot of Serra da Bodoquena, southeast of the Pantanal Complex. The region has a very rich hydrography and nature, this characteristic of the region allows visitors to enjoy ecotourism and have a lot of contact with fresh air and with scenarios that make anyone forget the noise of the big city and be at peace in the presence of God.

  • Pousada Cachoeiras Serra da Bodoquena, with modern chalets, located 5 km from the central region of the city of Bodoquena, is a great lodging option and a starting point for attractions offered by the inn itself, the main one being the trail that starts from the headquarters from the farm, on a 2,500m route, visitors will enjoy eight stops, some excellent for bathing in the natural pools of the Betione River. Highlighting one of them is the Waterfall of the Grotto, an unmissable stop to bathe and feel the fall of the waters.
  • Nascentes da Serra is 25km or 30 minutes from the Inn, it is the place where the Flotation of about 600 meters is made, access to the source first by a trail and then by motor boat that leads to a Deck where we will start the descent. Beforehand, visitors receive all safety equipment, and appropriate diving suits with Snorkel, it is also possible to rent GoPro cameras on site, or even purchase protective covers for cell phones that are waterproof. Nature is so splendid that the limestone waters make the water so clear that it is possible to “float” observing different species of fish and plants, an enchantment is this fluctuation in the magical crystalline waters.
  • Waterfall Boca da Onça: also leaving the Pousada Cachoeiras da Serra, about 45 minutes of travel towards the city of Bonito, it is another full day adventure tour, it is a well-structured place with tours for all the family and age, such as hiking, 4.5km trail passing by 08 waterfalls with stops for bathing at Buraco do Macaco, Poço de Lontra and the waterfall that takes the name of the tour, Boca da Onça, which is the highest in the State with 156m in height, or do Rapel, whose platform is the largest in Brazil at 90 meters high, with a breathtaking view of the Salobra River Canyon and the small caves in the wall. At the headquarters of the Complex there are restrooms, restaurants with regional foods, swimming pools for those who do not choose to take the tours or part of them. Rappelling is done very safely. The experience of doing Rappelling is something unforgettable, from the beautiful view next to the Boca da Onça Waterfall, where it is possible to bathe and appreciate a little more of God’s work of art.

Boca da Onça Rapel

4. Bonito: usually a trip to the South Pantanal is combined with Bonito, the main tourist town in the Serra da Bodoquena region, with so many activities that it will remain for a future post.

Do you want a similar experience like this?

See an example how we can prepare an itinerary specially for you:


What to pack for a trip like this?

  • Cold Jacket for cold nights and a windbreaker for mornings;
  • Light clothing, light colored T-shirts with long sleeves, bathing suits and microfiber towels;
  • Long pants for trail, cargo and trekking, sunglasses, caps, hat;
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen and cream repellents preferably (in rio azul it is forbidden to use);
  • Camera and diving equipment (although locally it is possible to rent or buy) such as – Snorkel – Neoprene clothing and shoes – GoPro camera or protective cell phone covers.