Poconé-Mato Grosso, 78175-000, Brazil
GPS: -17.654768963837, -57.431607665362
Travel info for Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, with its humid subtropical climate, is located in the centre-west of Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso. This huge conservation area has long remained in the shadow of the immense Amazonian forest. Yet the biodiversity of the Pantanal has nothing to envy its illustrious elder. Its wetlands and marshlands are spread out at the confluence of a hundred freshwater rivers, meanders and tributaries whose main streams are the Paraguay River, the Cuiabá River and the São Lourenço River. Some of these rivers take several months to cross the vast Pantanal territory and create flooded areas as far as the eye can see. This abundance of water makes the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park one of the most biodiverse floodplains in the world.
The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is only a small part of the Brazilian Pantanal, a vast wilderness of 200,000 km² that extends into the neighbouring countries of Bolivia and Paraguay. Discovered by the first Portuguese settlers in the 16th century, the Pantanal region is the ancestral land of the Guató people, the only nomadic Amerindian people who settled on the border of Brazil and Bolivia. Threatened by cattle ranchers to establish their ranches, they were forced to leave the region in the 1940s and 1950s. The region is now inhabited by peões and pantaneiros, peasants and horsemen responsible for the transhumance of the millions of head of cattle in the Pantanal according to the seasons.
The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is the world’s largest wetland (covering 1,400 km²), made up of marshes, swamps, flooded savannahs and alluvial plains. It includes three private reserves (Acurizal, Penha and Dorochê) and serves as a breeding and nesting ground for many bird species. This ecological place is closely studied by naturalists and biologists in search of new endemic species. Threatened by animal poaching and gold mining, more than 80% of the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is literally underwater during the rainy season. Travelling by boat or by car through the Transpantaneira road (MT-060) are the best ways to see the park’s wealth of flora and fauna.