Mato Grosso means ‘thick forest,' though that's not exactly what you'll find here. Part of the highland plain that runs through Brazil’s interior, it’s a dusty land of rolling hills, endless plantations, abundant savannas and some of the best fishing rivers in the world. It's Brazil's third-largest state and three of Brazil’s major ecosystems – the Pantanal, Amazon and cerrado – meet within its borders.
Wildlife-watching in the Pantanal and at Alta Floresta is a major pulling point, while the rockscapes of the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Guimarães and snorkeling with freshwater fish at Bom Jardim are further reasons to love the outdoors. The state capital, Cuiabá, is short on sights but long on friendliness, eating and drinking.