10.23.2010 - 10.30.2010 35 °C
We finally stayed another 3 days in Rio before heading into the Pantanal. We stayed at our friend Rafael and enjoyed the beach, the food (mostly cheese and chicken pastries), the drinks (fresh natural fruit juices and of course some more caipirinhas) and a bit of night life in Rio (from what we remember, the night out in Lapa was really good... but everything got a bit hazy after only 2 caipirinhas on empty stomachs).
The 22h bus journey to Campo Grande went very well. We ate and slept most of the time in this comfy bus and felt fine when we arrived.
We expected travel agencies to fight to enrol us on a tour into the Pantanal as described in the guide books but instead of that we really struggled to find any kind of tourist information or tours companies to arrange our trip. We found some leaflet, got to the wrong place to arrange for the transportation to the place mentioned in the leaflet but fortunately someone helped us there and we managed to sort everything out for a 4 days / 3 nights package into the Pantanal starting the day after. Campo Grande was quite uninspiring and the only sight of interest was probably this phone booth pictured below.
On the day after, we left for the Santa Clara lodge in the middle of the Pantanal where after another 4-5h bus journey we were greated by our guide for 3 days. The activities there included boat trips, piranhas fishing, trekking safari and horse riding.
This area was very rich in wildlife and we got to see Toucans, Macaws, Caymans, Monkeys and numerous other type of birds. A group saw jaguars but we were not lucky enough to spot one. The photos below will give you a better idea of what we saw:
Tuiuiu (the symbol of the pantanal)
We had a really great time in the heat of the Pantanal spoting wildlife in the morning and relaxing by the pool in the afternoon.
We are now in Bonito, an important center for ecotourism in Brazil (or shall I say a big money-making business center?), where we have been on a snorkeling trip floating down rivers with crystal clear water and "abundant" fishes. It started raining heavily again here and we are now thinking about heading into Paraguay one day earlier than planned (to save money and escape the rain) or just take a rest day here in Bonito to chill-out and plan the rest of the trip.