May 30, 2010

Pantanal, a world for animal lovers

by Antonella Kann

Are you filled with patience and a good zoom? Because these are the only things humans are supposed to bring to the Pantanal, the land of the blue araras, the crocodiles, many species of monkeys, and birds with strange names, like tuiuiús.

These wild animals belong to one of the most protected environment in Brazil but you can easily spot them at certain moments of sunset and dawn… and even sometimes out of the blue moon.

The Pantanal region offers a unique opportunity for animal lovers. Although there´s a range of places to choose from, one of the easiest to reach is the Transpantaneira, located very close to Cuiabá´s airport, in the State of Mato Grosso.

Actually, the Transpantaneira (below) is a straight ( yes, no curves!) 196 kilometers dirt road, which begins in Poconé and finishes in Porto Jofre.

On the way, there are a few pousadas, but the best is Pousada Araras Eco Lodge, at km 28,5.

The pousada belongs to a close friend of mine, Hungarian André Von Thuronyi, and his charming wife, Akhila, who comes from Slovenia. They are an adorable couple who will make your stay a memorable one. And I am not saying this for a personal reason, but because their hospitality reflects the dedication they have to nature since they have settled there more than 20 years ago.

The first thing that you learn is that in the Pantanal there´s only one rule, the animal´s. That´s why you´ll end up getting used to wake up at 5 in the morning, because no wildlife sleeps after sunrise.

So if you want to enjoy everything the Pantanal has, you can ride, walk, bike and even sleep in a hammock, the pantaneiro way. But this is something you´ll have to settle with André, because it´s a special experience reserved to special visitors.

 you can ride in the bush for hours


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