Aerial view of floodlands in Pantanal, Brazil (Nat Photos/Photodisc)

Road by The Pantanal (iStockphoto)


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What to do in Pantanal

The Pantanal—a vast, seasonally flooded wetland shared by Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil—has been called South America’s Serengeti. Capybaras, doe-eyed rodents the size of Labradors, graze the forests and grasslands alongside giant anteaters, tapir, white-tailed deer, and bands of pig-like peccary. Caiman bask on river beaches, blue macaws sit in nearly every tree, and there is nowhere better on Earth to see a jaguar. Brazil’s swath has the best facilities, with numerous tour companies in Miranda or Cuiabá. For total immersion, stay in a ranch house (fazenda ) in Mato Grosso or Mato Grosso do Sul, where you’ll wake to the call of the chacalaca bird. Take a horseback ride through the cerrado forest to spot maned wolves, marsh deer, and the ostrich-like rhea—or jump on a boat to see jabiru storks, six-foot-long otters, and piranha.

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