This region is worldwide known by its great diversity and concentration of flora and fauna. The Pantanal is considered the cradle of a great variety of animal species, from birds to reptiles and is a unique place in the world, with plentiful aquatic resources and vegetation. These characteristics give the Pantanal some important titles like the Third Largest Biosfera Reserve of the World and Natural Patrimony of Humankind (UNESCO). Wildlife in its most primitive form and men with their cattle farms share the same space. Along with the Amazon, the Pantanal is considered an example of the best of Brazil – untouched nature, ready to be seen and appreciated by those willing to treat themselves to this gift. It is in fact an amazing mixture of ecosystems with different sandscapes such as fields, floodplains and forests that may resemble the Amazonian Forest, Cerrado and Caatinga.
The Pantanal covers a very large region in Central West Brazil (it is comparable to the size of Portugal) and a great part of it (138.000 square kilometers) is located in the west part of the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. It is by definition the largest floodable prairie of the planet, crossed by many rivers, connected to the Paraguai river. It is a paradise for wildlife watchers and photographers because you may encounter a concentration of the many species living in the Pantanal. As many as 230 species of fishes, 650 species of birds, 80 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles have already been identified: the biggest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. In fact, many species that live in the Amazon and are next to impossible to see there can be viewed here in abundance. It is also an important migrating route for a number of bird species.
A short list of animals that you frequently see:
Birds: tabiru, heron,white necked heron,tiger-heron, toucan, blue macaw, hawk, caracara, kingfisher, lapwing, screamer, spoon bill, hornero, cardinal, jacana, greater rhea, seriema, parrot, parakeet, cormorant, necked ibis, woodpecker, etc.
Reptiles: alligator, etc.
Mammals: capivara, pampa deer, deer, coati, otter, great otter, wild pig, bugio, ant eater, etc.
Bonito: here nature is still incredibly untouched, offering a multiplicity of ecosystems. The center of and the number one destination for ecotourism in Brazil. Few places in the world have kept nature so pure and generous. Ecological tourism has recently unveiled the quietness of Bonito, located near the Pantanal. Bonito is a unique place, where forests of secular trees live together with a diversified fauna and fresh water rivers.
Lying in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the city of Bonito and its neighbour Bodoquena with its National Park are the most fascinating natural areas of water leisure in the world. A little paradise at the south of the Pantanal. Being here is to enjoy the unforgettable moments in harmony with nature at its plainest and most beautiful state. Hundreds of waterfalls, lakes and rivers of pristine waters, over 80 caves (dry and flooded), and endless species of fish and other wild animals are some of the attractions of the place. And they can all be reached without much trouble. The main activity is certainly diving into great lakes of fresh and crystal clear waters, where a great variety of fishes calmly swim among visitors, in a dazzling display of color and movement. Snorkeling, scuba diving, light rafting, abseiling, horseback riding, caving, mountainbiking and trekking are just some of the fun things to do in these places.
Famous in this region is the Blue Lake Cave, impressive because of its geological formations and its blue-coloured lake. This cave has woken up the attention of tourists and researchers from all over of the world. Sunbeams permeate the lake, producing a spectacle of breathtaking beauty. Both the caverns roof and bottom are full with speleological formations of different shapes and sizes. The bottom of the cavern harbors prehistoric skeletons of a giant ground sloth and a saber tooth tiger.