The mythical Amazon can only be described in superlatives. It covers an area of more than 5 millions square kilometers of which 80% is on Brazilian territory and it spreads for eight States, one of them is the State of Mato Grosso. It is the largest and most preserved rainforest region in the world. Through this large area, flows an extensive drainage system of more than thousand rivers, which account for 20% of the world’s fresh surface water.
The heartland of Brazil covers an area equal to Western Europe (2,000,000 sq km), and its original vegetation is called “Cerrado”, considered the richest savanna in the world, due to its high plant diversity and endemism. Most of Brazil’s great rivers find their sources here. It’s an area of enormous ecological importance with many areas of spectacular beauty, as the National Park of Chapada dos Guimarães, only 55km North East from Cuiabá airport. Its biodiversity is home of 837 birds species, 161 mammals, 120 reptiles and over 10.000 vascular plants. 44% of them are endemic.
The Pantanal, one of the last great wildernesses, is the largest continuous wetland on the planet, declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, is South America’s primary wildlife sanctuary. With a total area of 240,000 sq km located in the center of the continent, the Pantanal is a biogeography mixing bowl, containing elements of the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforests, the Brazilian Savannah and the Paraguayan Chaco. This fantastic biodiversity refuges 698 bird species, 100 mammals, 177 reptiles, 40 amphibians and over 250 fish species.
1st Day – Departure from Cuiabá airport to amazon
Meeting and greeting at Cuiaba airport. At 13h20, departure to the Amazon ecosystem (290 km on paved federal road– approximately 4.5 hours). Arrival by late afternoon. Welcome drink and check-in at Jardim d’Amazonia EcoLodge. Dinner and overnight. (D)
2nd Day – exploring and discovering
After breakfast, follow the trails through this area, a transition from the Savanna to the Amazon Forest, getting to know not only the local flora and fauna but the history of the rubber extraction industry – a former important part of the local economy. This trekking will be followed by a fish barbecue and you may even relax on a hammock. Later, canoeing on the Claro River, exploring the Anaconda Lake and enjoying the solitude of the jungle and its different life forms: (muscovy duck, long tailed tyrant, cormorant, Amazon kingfisher, green and rufous kingfisher, swallow tanager, herons…). Dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
3rd Day – jungle trails
After breakfast, amazing trails will take you deep into the forest, where you will be shown more of its exuberant fauna and flora. Good chances of meeting the tapir, the largest mammal in South America as well as numerous birds (solitary tinamou, royal flycatcher, silver beaked tanager, etc.).
4th Day – Departure to Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
Breakfast and departure to Chapada dos Guimarães. Passing by impressive rock formation sculpted over million years by the wind, stunning scenario for observation. By the end of the day check-in at the charming Park Eco Lodge. Dinner and overnight.
5th Day – Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
Day devoted to wonderful hikes through the National Park. The wind and rain sculpted intriguing shapes in the sand stones covered with rich “Cerrado” vegetation, its birds’ songs and crystal clear waterfalls makes your experience a rare peace of joy. The hike ends at the 86m high water fall “Véu de Noiva” where we’ll savor a traditional meal at the local restaurant, looking down to a huge canyon. Late afternoon light hike to sun setting above the 850m high “São Geronimo” Peak in front of the Lodge. Dinner and night at the Lodge. (B,L,D)
6th Day – Amazon to Pantanal
Breakfast. Today we are headed to Pantanal, Araras Eco Lodge. This transfer is divided into two different stages. The first is a journey on a paved road along farms and cattle ranches. After reaching Poconé – a small mining town and the gateway to the Northern Pantanal, we take the Transpantaneira Park Road at km “0” (108 km / 67.1 mi. from Cuiaba). This is a park road at its best, allowing us to drive above the water level, watching the flora and fauna of the Pantanal ecosystem – a photo safari along 32 km of dirt road with several stops along the way for photos and information. Arrival at the Loge, welcome drink and accommodation. Dinner followed by a night walk. (B,L,D)
7th Day – Canoeing and trekking
After breakfast, take a photo safari through private dirt roads towards the Clarinho River. Reaching its banks, board a canoe and paddle down the river, exploring the forest that grows by the riverbanks and mangroves. Here lives a colony of “ariranhas” – giant river otters. With some luck, you may spot a family playing with their babies and teaching them how to swim and fish. Chance of fishing the elusive piranha, not an easy task, but fun. Return to the Lodge in time for lunch. Returning in time for the afternoon tea. Later on, trek the Howler Monkey trail to the Howler Monkey Tower, our highest observation point – 25 m high -, for a magnificent view of the sunset. After dinner, join a night truck safari drive in search of nocturnal animals. (B, L, D)
8th Day – Horseback riding and trekking
After breakfast, enjoy a horseback ride, which will allow you to explore the diversity of the Pantanal landscape including some flooded areas of the Pantanal plain. The Pantaneiro horse are docile and has adapted, through the centuries, to eat with its nose underwater. In this region, the horse is the Pantaneiros’ best friend, a daily companion during work and leisure. Return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, trek at the Rondon Trail towards the 13 m high Jabiru Stork Tower, where you can watch a Jabiru Stork nest. Return to Araras Eco Lodge for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
9th Day – Photo-safari and trekking
In the morning, breakfast and walk get to know a different area of Araras Private Natural Reserve, by trekking the Ronco trail. After lunch, join a 2 to 3 hour photo safari towards the South of the lodge, on a safari open truck, in search of the fauna along the Transpantaneira Park Road. After dinner, check a list of the wild animals you have seen, with your guide. (B, L, D)
10th Day – Pantanal > Cuiabá airport
Another sunrise walk to witness the dawn of this amazing ecosystem. Return to the Lodge for breakfast. Departure to Cuiabá by 7:00 or 12:30, depending on your flight time. (B)