Level of Experience
Number of people
2-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12
Type of ride
Pantanal is the largest continuous wetland in the world. It has an area of 140.000 square kilometers of floodplain in Brazil and it also spreads through Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. It was formed between 02 and 05 million years ago, as a large sedimentary basin and now is an isolated plain surrounded by several mountain areas. An area more than a third the size of France. The name translates loosely as “big swampy place,” pântano being the Portuguese word for swamp, but the Pantanal is really an alluvial plain, one so nearly flat that rainwater just loafs across it, flooding it in the full season, draining away in the dry. It is a World Heritage Site.
Pantanal has a diverse aquatic animal life, hundreds of different fish guarantee a rich bird population (more than 600 species live in the area). There are also huge population of reptiles and mammals such: caimans, capybaras, monkeys, jaguars, armadillos, coatis and anteaters.
Over a period of more than 200 years of occupation by farmers, the Pantanal’s biodiversity and landscape are basically the same as they were in their ancestor’s time. The Pantanal is an untouched and beautiful wilderness with open grasslands, “vazantes” (low-lying areas that are often seasonally flooded), “brejos” (swamps), “capões” (which in the Tupi Indian language means: caa = forest + pon = round that are patches of slightly elevated ground that are not subjected to inundation), “cordilheiras” (larger than capões), “corixos” and bays which are permanently flooded areas.
In these uncommon Pantanal habitats, there is a rich flora and exuberant fauna which delights everyone. Those who have the opportunity to visit this hidden tropical paradise in the heart of South America and to experience even for a lithe while, its wildlife and lush vegetation as well as to get to know the people, will see the world with different eyes.
• Tips are commonly paid in Brazil. Tipping is not essential, but if you are happy with the service you have been given, then it will be gratefully received.
• If you wish to tip, then we recommend a tip of c. US$10 per guest per night. (can be paid in local currency).
• Open May to October
• Set departures & private groups
• 6 nights / 5 days riding
• 3 – 6 hours riding per day
• Weight limit: 15 st 9 lbs (100 kgs) (219 lbs)
• Usual maximum: 2-12
• Nearest airport: Campo Grande
Type of ride
Location & Weather
The Pantanal is in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul in the central west of Brazil. The nearest airport Campo Grande.
The weather is hot most of the year. Summer is very hot and humid, usually a rainy season with the rains coming December to March. From April to November usually doesn’t rain. Sometimes there are cold snaps between June and August but they only last for a few days; the temperature may drop to 7º C.
Pantanal goes through three cycles every year that changes its landscape:
Rainy or Flood season: summer rainfall usually between November and March causes the flood. Most of the animals search for higher areas such as “caapões” and “cordilheiras”.
Vazante (intermediate season): it usually happens from April to June. The meadows start drying and the water collects in the bays and lakes; the fish, animals and birds stay around these areas. It is a good period to go through the flooded meadows on horseback.
Dry season: The land dries out and many species can be seen searching for waterholes. Different animals get together around the few remaining water pools.
Meet Your Guide
Daniel is a third generation Pantaneiro cowboy.
His family was one of the pioneers in the pantanal, he is descended from the marshal Rondon a Brazilian military officer who is most famous for his exploration of Mato Grosso and the Western Amazon Basin, and his lifelong support of Brazilian indigenous populations.
The first farm you will ride belongs to his father, a cattle farm deep in the tropical Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul . With his wife Pollianna they run the charming guesthouse you will saty the first two nights. Daniel is a very experienced guide and love to show his guests the best of Pantanal.
After the long journey, arrival at the Daniel’s BM. located in the Rio Negro region, the most preserved region of the Pantanal, with abundance of wildlife and nature.
In the afternoon a brief presentation of the Program before leaving for a boat tour on the Rio Negro/Black River. An idyllic setting that serves as an introduction to the Pantanal, the first opportunity to see Pantanal fauna (fishes piraputanga, golden, painted, pacu, piranha and stingray; also capybara, caiman, giant otter, otter and many birds, more than 360 are cataloged in this region).
After breakfast, go to the corral where the presentation of the troops will be following the tradition of Pantanal organizing the horses “online”. Start the ride by fields, savannas, forests, mountain ranges, bays and salt marshes that serve as the backdrop for bird and wildlife watching. Typical lunch in the field as is done in the cattle drives.
Around 5 hours ride.
Leave early to ride until reach Capao farm, where before lunch, we will visit an authentic school of Pantanal, Rio Negro School. After a good rest under the trees, we start our journey on horseback along the banks of Vazante Castelo, whose landscape changes as we left the Rio Negro region. We will ride about 3 hours to reach the Fly Camp Refuge Primavera, which as the name implies, is a true refuge in the middle of Pantanal. This night, you will have a unique experience sleeping in a hammock* with lighting lanterns, in the middle of Pantanal. The Refuge has a comfortable infrastructure: hall with screens to protect against insects, bathrooms and a kitchen.
PS:: it is very nice to sleep on hammocks, for those who don’t like it, we can provide a mattress instead of hammock (need to be informed when book the ride).
Around 5 hours ride.
You will wake up with the sounds of the birds in the trees around the Refuge. After an early breakfast, depart to BP Farm. We will ride along the beautiful landscape of Vazante Castelo, where we will enjoy the lush Pantanal flora and fauna with incredible and untouched scenery. We will ride through an open landscape, surrounded by native forest (cerrado), along the shores of Vazante. This is a great opportunity for bird and wildlife watching.
Pause for a tereré* (a drink typical in the mid-West of Brazil, made with yerba-mate and cold water) at Retiro Sao Luis, where the support vehicle will be waiting. A few more hours of riding up to the place where we stopped for a picnic lunch in the field. After a rest, we continue riding along the Vazante Castelo, until reach BP Farm, where we will spend the next days.
Around 6 hours ride.
After breakfast, we leave on horseback until the pasture where herds of Pantaneiro horses are breed. We will have the opportunity to observe the behavior of the stallion in contact with our horses, when they approach his “family”. Return to the Farm for lunch and after a good rest, in the afternoon we drive to the Bay for the experience of piranha fishing.
Around 5 hours ride.
Early departure after breakfast, we will enjoy the sunrise while we ride. On this last day, we will attend an authentic culture of the Pantanal, following the Pantaneiro cowboys on their work with cattle.
Around 5 hours ride.
Depending on your flight time, you still will be able to do some activity in the morning before return to Campo Grande.
• The Ranchs you will be riding on these days have more than 30.000 hectares and 20.000 cattle in total.
• The itinerary can be changed due to weather conditions.
On this ride you spend five nights at two different fazendas and one night sleeping in hammocks in a refugio.
About the Ranchs:
Fazenda Barra: Located in a very special and protected area, on the shores of the Negro River, Fazenda Barra shelters rich nature and wildlife, like capybaras, caimans, howler monkeys, tapirs, peccaries, marsh and pampas deer, armadillos, giant anteater, giant otters, and even the puma and jaguar walking around.
You will find an incredible birds variety everywhere, like storks, herons, egrets, ibis, hawks, kites, toucans, jabirus, kingfishers, the hyacinth, yellow and red macaws, parrots, parakeets, woodpeckers, woodcreepers, cuckoos, ducks, owls, nightjars, flycatchers and much more. The annual flooding cycle brings rich and diverse vegetation, which originate this extraordinary biodiversity of the Pantanal.
Fazenda BP Pantanal: is located on the shores of the Vazante do Castelo, an incredible natural open field area that concentrates amazing nature and wildlife. The “vazantes” are very important in the Pantanal’s water cycle, draining the waters from the flooded season through the rivers and making the land humid and precious for animal feeding and reproduction. You’ll be hosted by the original land owners and will have the chance to see the amazing diverse wildlife that lives in the surroundings. With more than 14.000 hectares and around 4.000 cattle herds, it is the ideal place for a cattle work.
I had very good time in the Pantanal – to my surprise managed to do a lot of cantering. The pousada is very well run, and the riding guide was excellent too.