In Brazil, lies the world’s largest tropical wetland named Pantanal. Within the wetlands are sub-regional ecosystems that exist, each with its own ecological, hydrological and geological characteristics.
During the rainy season, 80% of Pantanal floodplains find themselves submerged, nurturing an unbelievable collection of gorgeous aquatic plants that support a dense display of animals. The ecosystems here are similar to those of the Amazon rainforest.
Pantanal vegetation is a mixture of a variety of plant communities including tropical rainforest plants, woodland plants, forests and grasslands. The ecosystem is the home to an amazing 3500 species of plants. In addition to the vast array of plants, 100 bird species, 400 fish species, 480 different reptiles and over 9000 species of invertebrates live in Pantanal.
Pantanal is known as the most humid location on the planet and is one of the most diverse and richest natural reservations in the world. The size of Pantanal is equivalent to Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Hungary all wrapped up in one. It is marshy with rivers, lakes and bays and during April through June the area becomes a feeding ground for all of the animal life. This is said to be the best time to visit. It is nice and hot and the animals are not shy to come out and get their pictures taken.
If your visit to Pantanal is geared toward fishing, then you should visit August through October when all of the fish return to the rivers. This phenomenal occurrence is referred to as “lufada”.
When visiting Pantanal you will want to spend time with some locals to learn about their culture. Some say the best way to truly experience the area is to stay on a cattle ranch. There are plenty of cozy B & B’s here and the cowboys are happy to show you parts of Pantanal you might not otherwise find. This is very expensive but well worth it!!
Deciding what to do first in Pantanal is the toughest decision. Aside from all of the trails to explore, there is rafting, swimming, camping and fishing. A must see is the city of Bonito. It is filled with waterfalls, lagoons, caves, springs and bays. The Blue Lake Cave is a journey that takes you deep down a crystalline lake that finds itself surrounded by unrealistic amounts of geological formations. There’s even a spot to watch alligators.
The five day trek through Pantanal is the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences you will ever have. If you are looking to see animals and plants that you will never find anywhere else, come visit Pantanal. You will never want to leave.