Travel south to the Pantanal.
After breakfast we travel by van two hours, descending to the
traditional town of Poconé, on the edge of the Pantanal. One of
the world’s last great wilderness areas, the Pantanal is a premier
destination for observing the wildlife of South America. Named
by UNESCO as both a World Biosphere Reserve and a World
Heritage of Humanity site, it is the world’s largest wetland. This
complex of ecosystems is influenced by the savannahs of
Bolivia and Brazil, the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests and maintains a stunning concentration
and diversity of wildlife including some 650 species of birds, 500 species of moths and
butterflies, 400 fish, 30 frog, 80 reptile, and 75 mammal species. Additionally there are
hundreds of plant species.
Just past Poconé, the Transpantaneira park-road begins. This
dirt road provides good access into this amazing ecosystem.
The Pantanal has a subtle topography and the difference
between the land that floods during the wet season and that
which stays dry is only a few feet! The dry season runs from
July through December while the wet season goes from
January through June with the months at the edges of these
seasons being transitional. During the dry season much of the
land is open for hiking while in the wet season these same lands will be covered with two or
three feet of water and boats become the more common form of transport. During all seasons
there are still many lakes, and rivers. There isn’t a “best” season to visit the Pantanal as each has
its diverse concentration of wildlife and ways to access the area. . Activities vary slightly
As we drive south from Poconé we stop to observe the richness of the fauna and flora. By late
afternoon we arrive at the Araras Eco Lodge, one of the original lodges in the area built in
harmony with the region. Our first excursion is a moderate walk to the lodge’s private
observation tower offering a birds-eye view of the area and wondrous sunset. After dinner we
head out on foot for a night safari with hopes of seeing deer, foxes, ocelots and nocturnal birds.
Sometimes, with luck, we may even see a jaguar! Overnight at Araras lodge. B, L, D.