Mato Grosso & Mato Grosso do Sul
Mato Grosso was once Brazil’s wild west, a land known only to indigenous hunters, poachers, gold seekers and naturalists. Today, some of Brazil’s most photogenic wildlife and incredible scenery make it a prime destination for ecotourists and anglers.
The Pantanal, one of the most important and fragile ecosystems on the planet, truly shines as Brazil’s top destination for animal-spotting and bird-watching. The attractions don't stop there: the crystal-clear rivers and cave lakes around Bonito and Bom Jardim allow you to explore a remarkable underwater world by donning a scuba tank or snorkeling mask.
In the far-north town of Alta Floresta, the cerrado (savanna) morphs into the Amazon; in the south near Bonito, the Serra da Bodoquena is a breathtakingly beautiful, watery wonderland. In between the two, the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Guimarães has some of the most commanding plateau views in Brazil.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mato Grosso & Mato Grosso do Sul.
The impressive Véu de Noiva, an 86m free-falling waterfall, provides the park’s characteristic postcard moment. A small trail leads to the lookout, perched on top of rocks with the canyon below. This is one of Chapada’s most dazzling spots; no guide necessary. It is around 9km west of Chapada town. You can get off the bus from Cuiabá at the park turnoff, spend a couple of hours, then flag down the next bus to Chapada. The visitors center here has a restaurant.
These two gentle, pretty waterfalls are reached via a 1km trail from the carpark at Véu de Noiva. They are very popular with local families as they have safe bathing for children and the closest beach is a thousand miles away.
If you can’t tell a pacu from a piraputanga, wade through this makeshift aquarium of Pantanal peixes. A rainy day activity.