Pantanal – Brazil

In Manaus i was searching for an adventure in the jungle but when I looked at all the tour agencies and what they offered it all looked exactly what I did in Peru 3 years ago. There in Iquitos (a jungle city only accessible by boat or plane) i was further into the jungle and it was much more basic than Manaus. Manaus even has a McDonalds ( the panicle of commercialisation). I decided  that doing a jungle tour here will only disappoint me and could not top Iquitos anyway.. So I took a plane to Campo Grande to go into the Pantanal.

The Pantanal is a tropical wetland and the world’s largest wetland of any kind. It lies mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul but extends into Mato Grosso as well as into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area estimated at between 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 sq mi) and 195,000 square kilometers (75,000 sq mi). 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping support a dense array of animal species. The name “Pantanal” comes from the Portuguese word pântano, meaning wetland, bog, swamp or marsh. Thank you Wikipedia  😎

 

DSC02994.jpgA friend of mine was so kind to write me an complete guide ranging from with posada to take to what the daily excursions involved. I decided to take her advice and booked a 4 day stay at “Santa Clara” with a guy called Gill. He was a weird character but he only picked me up from the airport so it was OK. They took us to Praque da Piranha in a private transport and here we switched trucks to go to the posadas. All the people in the bus went to different posadas and I think we really made the best decision with “Santa Clara”. Some people got dropped off right at the beginning of the pantanal but we went all the way into the pantanal (1 hour drive over dodge roads and bridges). The road was sometimes washed away and when we got close to the Posada we got stuck in the mud. A tractor from the posada stopped next to us so we could jump over and finally arrive at Santa Clara. Big adventure already with a nice sunset.

The farm (posada) was really nice and clean, the food was great, they were the only ones with horses and the activities where great. For the next 3 days I relaxed and did all the activities except fishing (I find it boring and wanted to see the surroundings more). Here is the complete schedule:

DSC03197.jpg1º Day: Campo Grande / Pantanal

Assistance at the airport or bus station in Campo Grande and transfer by public bus to Buraco das Piranhas (police station where the bus stop). The Pousada’s car will be waiting for you at Buraco das Piranhas. The local transfer to the Pousada is done in open car and you already have the opportunity to spot some wildlife on the Pantanal Park Road (way to the pousada). Arrival at Pousada and check-in. Rest of the day free. Go for a walk around of the Pousada and visit the camping to spot the Abobral River. After dinner you will go out for a Night Tour – look for the nocturnal wildlife, it trips can be done by Jeep 4×4 or motor boat and takes about 1 – 2 hours. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

 

2º Day: Pantanal

After breakfast Boat Trip – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours riding on motor boats equipped with life jacket and comfortable swivel seats. The boat trip is done in the Abobral River and you have chance to see and learn about the local flora and fauna. It tour is recommended for people of all ages. Lunch on the Pousada and rest.

After lunch you will go to Piranha Fishing – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours and you have the opportunity to get very close of the feared piranhas of the Pantanal. It tour is done in lakes, bays and rivers using simple fishing rods. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

DSC03241.jpg

3º Day: Pantanal

After Breakfast Horseback Ride on typical pantaneiro horses (from Pantanal). It is a 2 – 3 hours tour through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. You may see marsh deer, feral pigs, blue macaws, toucans and many other bird species. Lunch and rest.

After lunch you will go to a Photografic Safari – It tour happens on the Pantanal Park Road where you ride for about 1h30min looking for the animals. The jeep 4×4 makes a stop and you go for a Nature Trekking – on this activity you will spend about 1h30min walking through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. The walk finishes at the jeep. In the way back to the Pousada you will do a Night Tour using a big light to look for the nocturnal animals. You have chance to spot marsh deers, toucans, capybaras, armadillo and other animal species. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

 

4º Day: Pantanal – Campo Grande

After Breakfast Nature Trekking – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours walking through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. When the Pantanal is flooded you walk in wet places turning an unforgettable tour. After lunch transfer from the Pousada to Buraco das Piranhas where you’ll take the Public bus to Campo Grande or Bonito.

DSC03271.jpgWe walked barefoot across the pantanal. We saw allot of animals like caiman, king fishers, toucans,  deer, pigs, monkeys, armadillos, woodpeckers  and more birds than I knew existed. Since the Pantanal was flooded I couldn’t do the safari tour do. We did tubing instead with involves relaxing on the river in a rubber tube when you check out the caimans on the shore (lol). I got bitten by mosquitoes pretty good on the last day as well on the one place I didn’t put mosquito repellent… My poor feet still itch like hell….

After the Pantanal i took the bus to Bonito (Spanish and Portuguese for beautiful/pretty) for some hardcore activities!

 

Nederlandse vertaling:

In Manaus was ik op zoek naar een avontuur in de jungle maar toen ik alle tours bekeek waren ze allemaal bijna hetzelfde als wat ik 3 jaar geleden in Peru heb gedaan. In Iquitos (een jungle stad alleen toegankelijk met boot of vliegtuig) was ik veel verder in de jungle en was het veel eenvoudiger (lees armer) dan in Manaus. Manaus heeft zelfs een McDonalds (de uiterste vorm van commerciële exploitatie?). Ik besefte dat een jungle tour hier me toch alleen maar tegen zou vallen gezien ze Iquitos nooit zouden kunnen toppen… Ik heb daarom het vliegtuig gepakt naar Campo Grande om de Pantanal te bezoeken.

De Pantanal, vroeger bekend als de Laguna de Jarayes, is het grootste draslandgebied ter wereld. De regio, waarvan de naam is afgeleid van het Portugese woord “pântano” (wat “moeras” betekent), bevindt zich in Zuid-Amerika, voornamelijk in Brazilië. Verder bestrijkt de Pantanal delen van Bolivia en Paraguay. In totaal bestrijkt de Pantanal een gebied van 150.000 km. De Pantanal stroomt over in het regenseizoen, waardoor 80% van het gebied onder water komt te staan. Daardoor bevat de Pantanal ’s werelds rijkste collectie aan waterplanten. Er wordt vermoed dat de Pantanal het dichtste flora en fauna ecosysteem ter wereld heeft. Het gebied wordt echter vaak overschaduwd door het Amazoneregenwoud. Thank you Wikipedia 😆

Een vriendin van mij was zo vriendelijk om me een compleet overzicht te maken van de Pantanal van welke Posada ik moet nemen tot welke dagelijkse excursies er waren. Ik besloot haar advies te volgen en heb 4 dagen geboekt op een boerderij genaamd “Santa Clara” via een kerel genaamd Gill.

DSC02994.jpgHij was een erg vreemde vent en de verhalen op internet waren niet lovend maar hij was de goedkoopste en hij zou me alleen van het vliegveld ophalen. De volgende dag ging ik naar Praque da Piranha met een privé transport waar we van auto’s wisselden om naar de Posadas te gaan. Alle mensen in de bus gingen naar andere Posadas en ik denk echt dat ik de beste keus heb gemaakt om naar Santa Clara te gaan. Sommige mensen werden gedropped aan het begin van de Pantanal maar wij gingen diep de Pantanal in (1 uur rijden over zeer slechte wegen en bruggen). De weg was soms totaal weggespoeld en toen we bijna bij de Posada waren kwamen we vast te zitten in de modder. Een tractor van de posada stopte naast ons zodat we over konden springen en we eindelijk aankwamen in Santa Clara. Een mooi avontuur met een mooi zonsondergang.

De boerderij (posada) was erg mooi ,schoon, het eten was goed, ze waren de enigste met paarden en alle activiteiten waren goed uitgevoerd. De volgende 3 dagen heb ik alle activiteiten gedaan behalve het vissen (is mij te saai en ik wou liever rondlopen). Dit was het hele schema:

DSC03197.jpg1º Day: Campo Grande / Pantanal

Assistance at the airport or bus station in Campo Grande and transfer by public bus to Buraco das Piranhas (police station where the bus stop). The Pousada’s car will be waiting for you at Buraco das Piranhas. The local transfer to the Pousada is done in open car and you already have the opportunity to spot some wildlife on the Pantanal Park Road (way to the pousada). Arrival at Pousada and check-in. Rest of the day free. Go for a walk around of the Pousada and visit the camping to spot the Abobral River. After dinner you will go out for a Night Tour – look for the nocturnal wildlife, it trips can be done by Jeep 4×4 or motor boat and takes about 1 – 2 hours. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

 

2º Day: Pantanal

After breakfast Boat Trip – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours riding on motor boats equipped with life jacket and comfortable swivel seats. The boat trip is done in the Abobral River and you have chance to see and learn about the local flora and fauna. It tour is recommended for people of all ages. Lunch on the Pousada and rest.

After lunch you will go to Piranha Fishing – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours and you have the opportunity to get very close of the feared piranhas of the Pantanal. It tour is done in lakes, bays and rivers using simple fishing rods. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

 

DSC03241.jpg3º Day: Pantanal

After Breakfast Horseback Ride on typical pantaneiro horses (from Pantanal). It is a 2 – 3 hours tour through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. You may see marsh deer, feral pigs, blue macaws, toucans and many other bird species. Lunch and rest.

After lunch you will go to a Photografic Safari – It tour happens on the Pantanal Park Road where you ride for about 1h30min looking for the animals. The jeep 4×4 makes a stop and you go for a Nature Trekking – on this activity you will spend about 1h30min walking through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. The walk finishes at the jeep. In the way back to the Pousada you will do a Night Tour using a big light to look for the nocturnal animals. You have chance to spot marsh deers, toucans, capybaras, armadillo and other animal species. Overnight at Camping or Pousada Santa Clara.

 

4º Day: Pantanal – Campo Grande

After Breakfast Nature Trekking – on this activity you will spend about 2 – 3 hours walking through diverse habitats such as grasslands and higher areas with dense wood vegetation that serve as refuge to animals and birds during the wet season. When the Pantanal is flooded you walk in wet places turning an unforgettable tour. After lunch transfer from the Pousada to Buraco das Piranhas where you’ll take the Public bus to Campo Grande or Bonito.

DSC03271.jpgWe liepen blootsvoets over de pantanal en we zagen veel dieren zoals kaaimannen, ijsvogels, toekans, herten, varkens, apen, armadillo’s, spechten en meer vogels dan ik namen weet. Gezien de pantanal onder water stond konden we de safari tour niet doen. We hebben in plaats daarvan tubing gedaan. Dit houdt in dat je in een rubberen binnenband op de rivier meedrijft terwijl je uitkijkt naar de kaaimannen die aan het relaxen zijn op de oever. Ik heb alleen 1 avond gigantisch vaak gestoken door muggen op de laatste dag. De enigste plaats waar ik geen deet heb gesmeerd uiteraard….. Men voeten zien eruit als gatenkaas….

Na de pantanal heb ik de bus naar Bonito (spaans en Portugees voor mooi/schoon) voor een paar echte hardcore activiteiten!