Mato Grosso Travel
Dominated by three distinct ecosystems – including the Amazon – the state of Mato Grosso is rich in wildlife, biodiversity and outdoor pursuits.
Being situated towards the centre of Brazil, it could be said that Mato Grosso is at the geographical heart of the country. A visit to this vast chunk of Brazil will take you through a multitude of cinematic landscapes, each as intriguing as the next. From the wetlands of Pantanal to the southern Amazon Basin, and beyond to the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park – known for its dramatic waterfalls and rusty red cliffs – Mato Grosso is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, which will bring the call of the wild right to your front door.
The beauty of Mato Grasso is that it plays host to such an extreme variety of different habitats and natural wonders, not to mention a colossal amount of flora and fauna that flourishes in this bountiful region. Among these almost totally untouched, carefully balanced eco-systems are the wetlands of Pantanal; the largest in the world, spreading over nearly 200,000sq km. Apex predators including millions of Caimans thrive here, giving a clear indication of the undeniable ecological wealth of the area. Elsewhere, the national parks are like playgrounds for anyone who loves to be amongst nature. You can hike to unparalleled vantage points in Chapada dos Guimaraes, or head to Cristalino State Park and enter the Amazon to uncover its secrets!
On the other hand, while Mato Grosso isn’t known as a cosmopolitan hub, the state capital of Cuiaba acts not only as an excellent launchpad into the stunning surrounding areas but also as a vehicle to introduce you to local culture. As well as many restaurants serving delicious produce, including freshwater fish, there are several museums in the city centre that provide interesting insights to the state’s background. The Museu Rondon de Etnologia e Arqueologia is one such place, preserving artefacts going back centuries belonging to the indigenous population of the area, so a visit here makes for an excellent start to your tour of Mato Grosso.
Explore the Pantanal Wetlands
Wetlands, more often than not, attract a wild and wonderful assortment of animals, which in turn draws in eco-tourists, keen twitchers and wildlife lovers, and the Pantanal is no exception. Your time in these marshlands is likely to be spent on the water rather than beside it with many of the smaller roads cut off during certain times of the year, thus giving you a real insider's view of this unique environment. Keep an eye out for the rare Hyacinth Macaw, whose wingspan can stretch to over a metre, as well as majestic mammals such as the Jaguar and Capybara; the world’s largest rodent. Be sure to have your camera at hand as you never know which resident will be making an appearance next!
Follow a trail in the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park
Roughly an hour's drive away from Cuiaba lies the red sandstone cliffs and magical waterfalls of Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park. Weave through the vegetation on foot, with a knowledgeable guide leading the way. As you go you will discover countless lookout points, rock formations and of course come face to face with many of the animals that inhabit the area. The 86-metre Veu de Noiva is perhaps one of the most iconic waterfalls in the park and well worth the relatively short walk to reach it.
Begin an Amazonian adventure in Cristalino State Park
Butterflies, Sloths, Toucans, Anteaters and even the endangered Giant Otter are just some of the species who are being protected under the forest canopy of the Cristalino State Park. Take part in a photography safari, enjoy a boat ride along the river or even head out after dark for a spot of nocturnal wildlife watching and marvel as you go at the transformation of the forest floor once the sun goes down, with Amazonian birdsong serving as magical background music.