Brazil: Pantanal – the wetland paradise

A few days after leaving the driest place on Earth, we headed towards probably the wettest area in the world – Pantanal and Amazonia in Brazil.

The stories tell that in 1870 a Brazilian minister visited Bolivia and presented the Bolivian president Melgarejo with a white horse.  Melgarejo was stunned by the horse and decided to give something back. He pulled out a map of Bolivia, traced the horse’s hoof and gave that land away to the Brazilian government.  That’s why today the Pantanal National park is in Brazil instead of in Bolivia.

Pantanal is a region of about 150,000 square kilometres surrounding the world’s largest tropical wetland area. It is a paradise for anglers and all kinds of animal lovers. There are 160 different species of fish living in this relatively small place. In the entire Europe, there is a total of 150 fish species. Unfortunately, we are not into fishing, but we didn’t miss the chance to taste some.

We may not be into fishing, but we enjoyed the abundance of wildlife surrounding us.


Capibaras, the largest rodents on Earth, are all over the place. Often they stay on the side of the road enjoying the sun and allowing us to get very, very close.

These two giant otters probably have plenty of fish around them, but they didn’t mind getting some more from us and posing for pictures.

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The most amazing of all are the birds of all colors, sizes, and shapes.

And especially those beautiful toucans.


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I was in love with the butterflies.

I love parrots and the cherry on the cake for me were these magnificent Hyacinths Macaws.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the famous Pantanal jaguars. At this time of the year, the water level is too high and the places where the jaguars could be seen are very hard to reach.

We crossed Pantanal by 150 kilometres of dirt road, with probably more than 100 wooden bridges over rivers and wetlands.

Sometimes the bridges were destroyed,

so we crossed the rivers after checking the depth-first.


The road ends in Puerto Jofre, a small fishermen’s village on the Parana river in the middle of nowhere. It was not very easy, but we found the only place renting rooms. Looks like the rooms were intended for devoted anglers and were equipped with an almost commercial-size freezer.

As gringos travelling with a funny-looking car and without any fishing gear, we were probably the attraction of the month there. Brazilians are in general very curious and always ready to start a conversation with a stranger. Fortunately, the owner’s daughter spoke some English and we had an amazing time talking about Brazil, Canada, politics, and everything which could be explained with basic English and hands.  

Sunset on Parana river:







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