The Pantanal is a large tropical wetland, located in the state of Matto Grosso in Brazil. If you like nature and watching animals in the wild, the Pantanal is a great place to add to your travel list.
It’s best to go on a guided tour to the Pantanal area. You can start your trip from Corumba or Campo Grande. We took a flight from Sao Paulo to Campo Grande. We didn’t book any tour in advance. We met Rodrigo, the manager of Ecological Expeditions at Campo grande’s airport. He offered us a price for 2 nights tour to the Pantanal. We decided first to check the price of another company, Santa Clara, which I read some good recommendations about. Santa Clara offered us a much higher price so we decided to take the tour with Ecological Expeditions.
The Pantanal tour with Ecological Expeditions cost us 540 Reais per person (240 USD) and included:
- 1 night in a private room at their hostel in Campo Grande (the night before the tour).
- 2 nights, 3 days tour in the Pantanal with an English speaking guide, in a private room, with meals.
- Transportation to the Pantanal area and back to Campo Grande.
On the first day of our tour we had a long 6 hours ride to our base house at the Pantanal with Johnny, our guide for this tour. As deeper we drove into the Pantanal we started to spot more animals. We arrived the house, had a simple dinner and watched the beautiful sunset over the river. We did a night tour on a boat and tried to spot some animals.
On the second day we woke up early and did another 4 hour boat tour searching for animals. Johnny spotted a lot of animals and it was really nice. We saw some birds and parrots, capybaras, caimans, nutria. And of course, the most common animal in the Pantanal, mosquitoes!
After eating lunch and rest for a while, we went again on the boat to fish piranhas. For me, it was the first time fishing, so I thought I probably won’t catch anything. BUT…I was the first one to catch a piranha! In total I caught 5 piranhas! Beginners luck. Later they fried the piranhas and I tried to eat it. It was quite hard though, because the piranha has lots of small bones.
On our last morning we woke up early and drove to a big tropical forest. We walked about 2 hours and a half in the forest and saw for the first time some beautiful toccans, arara parrots, capybaras, caimans, and a big family of coatis. I was real fun.
After a lunch break we went so a place with lots of hammocks to rest. Later we went back to Campo Grande, straight to the bus station to catch our night bus to our next destination, Iguazu falls.
The Pantanal tour was a great experience. We love animals so we found it interesting even though the activities are not mind blowing and the guides were’nt so informative. You should keep in mind that animal spotting in the wild is completely different than going to a zoo. You never know exactly which animals you’ll see and when. You need a lot of patience and also to be quiet if you want to see more animals. We enjoyed our tour with Ecological Expeditions company, but keep in mind that this is a budget option.
Our rating for the Pantanal experience is 7 out of 10.