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Heavy, seasonal rainfalls and flooding characterize the region and allow for the thriving growth of wildlife. And thrive it does; the Pantanal is home to over 700 species of birds (and is also an important migratory area for North American birds), 100 species of mammals, 260 species of fish and 80 reptile species. This environment sets the stage for one of the best bird and wildlife-spotting experiences imaginable. For the best times to go, please see below.
One of the best ways to explore the Pantanal is as the locals do; on horseback. There are very few roads that exist in the Pantanal and horses can carry you into areas that otherwise couldn't be reached due to flooding and other conditions. Other methods of transportation are usually boats, four wheel drive trucks, and the occasional footpath.
When is the best time to visit Pantanal?
The scenery of the Pantanal changes with every new season, but it remains always exuberant. Each one of the seasons has its own characteristics, varies year-to-year according to the presence or absence of rain. The average annual precipitation is 1500mm, the majority of which falls between the months of November and March.
Wet Season (January through March): With the summer rains, as parts of the Pantanal are flooded, the fauna and flora reinvigorate and Pantanal reveals one of its most lively seasons. The main characteristics of this season are the beautiful water landscapes, and many water birds such as the Jabiru Stork, Woodstorks, Limpkins, ducks, teals and egrets. Among the common mammals we can find the Capybaras, Crab-eating Foxes, and the Grey-brocket and Pampas deer. The water plants are in bloom with different shapes and colors throughout the lakes and rivers. Also abundant are butterflies and other interesting insects. The wet season is also the best time to watch the most beautiful sunset of the year.
Intermediate Season (April through June): In April, the rains stop and the water level begin to recede, giving rise to lagoons and water puddles. Here, thousands of fish are trapped, providing a food banquet for the water birds which concentrate in these regions. The temperature becomes milder and the night skies are filled with stars. The mammals, which dispersed in the wet season, start to come back and show themselves. Species such as the White-lipped Peccaries, Collared Peccaries, Marsh Deer and the Howler and Capuchin Monkeys can often be seen.
Dry Season (July through October): The best time to observe wildlife. The lack of rain diminishes the lagoons, revealing the flat grounds and aiding transportation by land. The fields begin to dry, providing vast grazing areas where mammals search for food and water in the remaining water puddles. From August on, the Tabebuia trees blossom – locally known as Piuvas (with pink flowers) and Paratudos (yellow flowers). This is the breeding season for birds – their plumage is at their best condition and their calls can be heard throughout the Pantanal. This is also the best season to observe Giant Anteaters, Crab-eating Racoons and South-American Coatis.
Rainy Season (November through December): The period when there is a lot of rain in the Pantanal, but not enough to flood. Due to the long dry season, it takes a while for the soil to saturate to the point of flooding. It is also a season of a great abundance of food for birds that started their breeding in the past months. It is very common to see chicks being fed by their parents.
Pantanal Wildlife and Holidays with Abercrombie & Kent, let our experts design the perfect holiday for you.
Best time to be there
Before you visit Brazil decide what you want to see: Brazil is a continental country, with large temperature variations from north to south. Visit the Pantanal from July to December, the Amazon Jungle from March to August, Rio de Janeiro from September to May and the Northeast year round.
Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro (British Airways)
14 hours 15 minutes
GMT -3 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an infected area
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
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Graeme, Charlie, Melissa, Dave, Kerry and Kelly are experts in designing the perfect holiday in Latin America to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of our hotels and resorts featured in our portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout the region, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
To find out more about our Latin America team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 701 or enquire online
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