The Pantanal

Located in the heart of South America, the world’s largest wetland covers some 81,081 sq miles (210,000 sq km). The majority is in Brazil, split between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. These open marshes are home to an immense variety of life – if you like to see animals in their natural environment, the Pantanal is an unmissable destination.

The Pantanal has few people and no towns. Distances are so great and ground transport so poor that people get around in small airplanes and motorboats; car travel is restricted by the seasons.

You can either penetrate the Pantanal from the north, where the Transpantaneira runs deep into the region, or from the south, where Estrada Parque cuts across the wetlands. The much-mooted road right across the Pantanal has long been shelved due to concerns about the general absurdity of having a road that's underwater for half the year.

Featured videos

A guide to watching wildlife in the Pantanal