5 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Pantanal in Brazil

Deep within the heart of Brazil lies a mesmerising natural paradise that beckons explorers and nature enthusiasts alike. The Brazilian Pantanal is a vast and enchanting wetland region, holding a treasure trove of experiences to awaken a traveller’s spirit of adventure. From its remarkable biodiversity and vibrant wildlife, to its ethereal landscapes and rich cultural tapestry, the Pantanal stands as a testament to nature’s awe-inspiring beauty and capabilities. 

Considered to be one of Brazil’s best-kept secrets, the Pantanal has countless species nestled within, some considered to be highly endangered. In fact, unbeknownst to many, the Pantanal offers you a better chance of spotting these remarkable creatures than in the Amazon rainforest. 

This guide will take you on a virtual journey through the reasons why the Pantanal should top your list of must-visit destinations. Whether you’re an avid wildlife lover, a curious traveller seeking authentic cultural encounters, or someone who wishes to step into the picture frame of nature’s most genuine form of beauty, the Pantanal’s allure knows no bounds. 

Where is the Pantanal in Brazil? 

Sat in the centre of South America, the Pantanal sprawls across the western regions of Brazil, predominantly encompassing the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. Contrary to common belief, the Pantanal isn’t part of the Amazon rainforest; it’s a distinct and separate ecosystem characterized by its expansive wetlands, diverse habitats, and unique flora and fauna.

To reach the Pantanal, your journey typically begins by flying into major Brazilian cities like Cuiabá or Campo Grande. From there, you can arrange ground transportation or guided tours that will take you into the heart of the Pantanal’s natural wonders. 

Another great way to reach this part of the world is with Undiscovered Destinations. We offer the Pantanal Explorer tour, where guides will take a small group of visitors into the depths of the Brazilian wetland for 11 days, providing a completely life-changing and authentic experience.

When booking one of our tours, although flights aren’t included, all transfers are built into the price. We generally opt for private transport on our tours so we can stop for photos along the way, although sometimes we utilise the region’s public transport. The adventure of reaching the Pantanal is as much a part of the experience as the destination itself.

Tips for Exploring the Pantanal in Brazil 

It is possible to travel to the Pantanal without a guide, although you may find difficulty in navigating the region safely and properly. Before you travel, you should seek medical advice about any potential health precautions you’ll need such as a vaccine. 

Once arrived, in order to ensure your safety, travellers must respect wildlife, observing them from a safe distance and not attempting to feed or disturb them. You should also familiarise yourself with cultural norms in order to have respectful interactions with locals, and always be responsible for the conservation efforts at play, never leaving a trace of your presence. 

It is expected that visiting a region so far removed from our everyday lives could raise uncertainties about safety when there. This is why it’s certainly recommended to seek a reputable tour guide to not only be assured of your own safety, but also to make the most of your trip. Either way, you should keep yourself informed about the area, the current local conditions, the weather and any potential safety concerns. 

Reasons to Visit the Pantanal in Brazil 

Biodiversity and Wildlife 

The Brazilian Pantanal beckons to those with a deep appreciation for the natural world, hosting a mesmerising display of biodiversity and wildlife. Imagine a place where nature’s masterpiece unfolds before your eyes: jaguars stealthily prowl through dense foliage, capybaras graze peacefully on riverbanks, and caimans, their eyes just above the water’s surface, bask in the sun. 

Every step through the Pantanal reveals a world brimming with diversity. This extraordinary ecosystem isn’t just a visual spectacle; it’s a sanctuary of coexistence. 

Every species plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of nature. From the giant otters that navigate intricate waterways to the enigmatic tapirs that roam the savannas, the region’s inhabitants offer a glimpse into the tapestry of life that exists here. 

Beyond the sheer wonder of encountering these animals lies the deeper importance of conservation. The Pantanal acts as a refuge for countless endangered species, offering a chance for survival and resurgence. Undiscovered Destinations regards respect for the environment with the utmost importance, making every effort to ensure travellers don’t disrupt the way of life for the Pantanal’s inhabitants.

The experience of witnessing these creatures in their natural environment will undoubtedly foster a profound connection, spurring a desire to protect and conserve. Each moment spent here is a lesson in the vitality of our planet’s ecosystems and a reminder of our responsibility to safeguard them. The biodiversity and wildlife of the Brazilian Pantanal are guaranteed to take you on a transformative journey that awakens a sense of wonder and fosters a lasting commitment to our natural world.

A Birdwatching Paradise 

The skies of the Brazilian Pantanal come alive with vibrant feathers and melodious calls, making for an unparalleled paradise for bird enthusiasts. Close your eyes and picture stepping into a world where toucans and their oversized beaks perch in trees like living rainbows, and where scarlet ibises take flight against the backdrop of a setting sun. Here, the Pantanal’s wetlands, forests, and grasslands merge to create an ecosystem that nurtures a staggering diversity of winged species.

Birdwatching in the Pantanal is a chance to witness the most exotic of bird species that would otherwise only be seen through a lens. It also offers the opportunity to see a series of birds considered to be endangered species. From the elusive Jabiru stork, to the delicate hummingbirds that hover among the blossoms, the Pantanal really showcases nature’s creativity at its finest. The seasonal migrations further amplify this spectacle, providing an opportunity to witness the ebb and flow of the birds of the Pantanal on a grand scale.

Of course, birdwatching here plays into the all-important narrative of conservation. The very act of observing these winged wonders in their native environment becomes a testament to the Pantanal’s ecological importance and the need to safeguard it for generations to come.

Unique Aquatic Experiences 

The Pantanal’s aquatic offering is an undeniable reason to journey to this unique region. Envision yourself gliding silently in a canoe along the waterways, where the mirrored surface reflects the foliage above and the vibrant life below. 

Fishing enthusiasts find their paradise in the Pantanal’s rich waters, where the thrill of the catch is rivalled only by the scenic surroundings. Cast a line into the depths and engage in a duel with piranhas and catfish. Canoeing becomes an adventure of discovery, where caimans and capybaras pause to watch you pass slowly through the waters.

Venture out on a river safari, where the banks teem with life, and the water’s edge is a stage for wildlife interactions. Marvel at the herons as they spear fish with precision, and be amazed as you spot a jaguar lounging on the shore. 

The Pantanal Explorer Tour includes several boating expeditions, each one showcasing a different perspective of the Pantanal’s waterways. Whether it’s a boat ride to a fishing village where you can learn from the experts and witness the natives live off their land. Or a 3-hour cruise down the Mutum River to explore the banks of the bay, search for the legendary jaguar and watch the sun descend into the horizon. There is something that will appeal to everyone and enhance the aquatic experience. 

Ethereal Landscapes and Flora 

The Brazilian Pantanal offers the chance to see the natural world in a new light, presenting travellers with an awe-inspiring canvas of captivating landscapes. Walk through what seems like a living mosaic, where vast wetlands interlace with drier savannas and lush forests. This very allure makes the Pantanal’s diverse and ever-changing scenery a compelling reason to journey to this natural wonder. 

The Pantanal’s flora is an intricate part of this masterpiece. Water lilies and aquatic plants transform calm waters into vibrant carpets of colour, attracting a myriad of species to the surface of the waters. Variations of palm trees sway gently in the breeze, casting shadows on the ground below, while vibrant orchids and bromeliads add splashes of beauty to the landscape. 

It’s no surprise that the Pantanal is part national park, and partly a UNESCO World Heritage site with its diverse range of flora and fauna and integral role in supporting a thriving and very special ecosystem. 

Each season brings its own symphony of colours and textures, from the rich vibrancy of the wet season to the golden hues of the dry season. The ebb and flow of water not only shapes the landscape but also moulds the behaviour of its inhabitants. Witnessing this dynamic relationship between the land and its life is an experience that you will never forget, and is an affirmation of the boundless wonders our planet holds.

Cultural Encounters 

Stepping into the Brazilian Pantanal isn’t just a journey into the wilderness; it’s a gateway to authentic cultural encounters that enrich your travel experience. The Pantanal culture is a compelling reason to venture to this side of the world, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who call this vibrant region home. 

You could be sharing stories with the Pantaneiros, whose legacy intertwines with the land they’ve tamed for generations. As you engage with these locals, you’ll gain insights into their traditions, forging connections that bridge worlds and cultures.

The warmth of the Pantanal’s inhabitants is a testament to the region’s hospitality. Whether you’re savouring a homemade meal or joining in the rhythms of a traditional dance, the people of the Pantanal extend a heartfelt welcome that makes you feel like part of the family.

When visiting the Pantanal with Undiscovered Destinations, locally owned accommodation and locally based guides are used wherever possible. This means your tourist spend stays local, benefiting the communities and people that you visit. 

However, this does sometimes mean that the best accommodation option may not be a four-star hotel in town, but a small comfortable guesthouse, a traditional longhouse or a tented camp set amongst exquisite desert surroundings. 

The Pantanal’s cultural encounters are an invitation to understand the relationship between people and nature. Whether you’re helping with cattle herding or learning the art of crafting local handicrafts, you become a participant in a living heritage that’s as resilient as the land itself. The Pantanal’s cultural dimension certainly adds depth to your adventure, reminding you that travel is as much about the people you meet as the places you explore. 

With that said, Undiscovered Destinations understands that local culture can be quite easily influenced by external factors such as tourist groups visiting, and strives to avoid an area changing in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. The aim is to visit an area as a friend, not an intruder; the expert tour guides work to ensure this balance is upheld, and that authentic local culture will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.


Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough reasons to take the leap and visit the Pantanal in Brazil. It’s clear that this Brazilian gem is a destination that defies description; it’s a symphony of life, a sanctuary of coexistence, and a testament to the delicate balance that sustains our planet’s most precious ecosystems. 

Whether you’re drawn to its extraordinary wildlife, its vibrant avian inhabitants, its immersive aquatic experiences, its ever-changing landscapes, or its warm cultural encounters, the Pantanal offers a variety of experiences that few places can rival.

If you are considering a trip to the Brazilian Pantanal, our Pantanal Explorer tour invites you to discover the depths of this wetland’s breathtaking beauty. Curated for those who want to experience the most magnificent corners of the world, hear the untold stories of this region’s past and push the boundaries of adventure travel. For 11 days, our tour guides will take you on an unforgettable journey through the Pantanal, showcasing all the best parts and sites of the region that you could only dream of.

Reach out to a member of our team today to enquire about exploring one of nature’s most prized creations.

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