Pantanal Matogrossense National Park

The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, Brazil, is an exceptionally diverse ecosystem located in the state of Mato Grosso. With its impressive variety of flora and fauna, this natural paradise is home to 700 species of birds and 90 species of mammals. Its tropical climate provides an ideal habitat for many species of wildlife and plants, and it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Wetland of International Importance, included in the Ramsar List. It serves as a refuge for Brazilian biodiversity and wildlife.

Pantanal Matogrossense National Park

Pantanal Matogrossense National Park

Geographical Location

Located in the central-western region of Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso, the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park can be found at the geographical coordinates of 17°43′00″S latitude and 57°22′00″W longitude.
The main entrance to the park is located in the municipality of Poconé, about 102 km south of the capital of the state of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá.

Park’s History

Established on September 24, 1981, by Decree No. 86,392, the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park covers an area of 135,000 hectares.
The park’s headquarters are situated on a plateau, which protects it from the frequent floods that occur in the Pantanal. Here, you can find administrative facilities, including offices and functional residences for park personnel. They also have boats used for transporting staff and conducting environmental protection activities in the area.

It is important to note that, although the Pantanal Matogrossense has administrative facilities, it does not have a Visitor Center at its headquarters. This means that, while it is an incredible tourist destination, visitors should plan their routes and activities in advance to ensure a rewarding and environmentally respectful experience.

Since its creation, Matogrossense has been a crucial refuge for the conservation of the rich biodiversity of the Pantanal and a source of wonder and admiration for those fortunate enough to explore its natural wonders. Through responsible management and active protection of its environment, the park remains an invaluable treasure for wildlife and for those who long to connect with the beauty and splendor of this unique ecosystem.

Geography and Climate

Overview of Geography

The park encompasses a vast region of the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland. Rivers and marshes create a water maze, while dry lands feature forests and savannas.

Relief

The park’s relief stands out as a vast accumulation surface covering the entire region. It is characterized by an extensive and very flat plain, making it prone to periodic floods. This plain results from sedimentation over the years and creates a unique environment that is exceptionally rich in biodiversity.
During the rainy season, the waters from rainfall and surrounding rivers overflow, covering extensive areas of the Pantanal, creating swamps and flooded areas that are vital for the region’s wildlife. These floods are essential for ecological balance and the maintenance of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that support a wide variety of species.

The Pantanal drains its waters into the Paraguay River, making it a significant contributor to the hydrological system of the Plata Basin. This interconnectedness between the Pantanal and other bodies of water in the region also facilitates species exchange and wildlife migration, contributing to the incredible biodiversity that characterizes this ecosystem.

Climate

The climate in Pantanal Matogrossense is continental tropical, characterized by average temperatures ranging between 23°C and 25°C. The average annual precipitation is around 1000 mm.
The park follows a typical tropical rainfall pattern. The dry season extends from May to September, while the rainy season lasts from October to April. During these latter months, especially between December and February, the highest levels of precipitation are recorded.

This clearly defined seasonal pattern has a significant impact on the Pantanal Matogrossense ecosystem. During the rainy season, swamps and low-lying areas flood, creating a favorable environment for aquatic life proliferation and attracting abundant wildlife, including migratory birds and mammals. On the other hand, during the dry season, water levels decrease, concentrating animals around the remaining water sources, making them easier to spot for park visitors.

Park Biodiversity

Biodiversity in Pantanal Matogrossense National Park in Brazil
Matogrossense is a biodiversity sanctuary, housing an astonishing number of species. In this unique ecosystem, you can find 90 species of mammals, 700 species of birds, 160 species of reptiles, 260 species of fish, and 45 species of amphibians.

Pantanal Matogrossense holds the prestigious recognition as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, highlighting its international value and uniqueness.

However, this rich ecosystem faces serious threats due to uncontrolled tourism, recreational fishing, hunting of endangered species, and deforestation. These irresponsible human activities endanger the conservation of species and the integrity of the ecosystem.

It is essential to take effective conservation measures and adopt sustainable practices to protect Pantanal Matogrossense and ensure that its incredible biodiversity and natural beauty endure for future generations. Preserving this natural treasure is a shared responsibility to ensure that these species and their unique habitat continue to thrive.

Flora

It is characterized by being an ecological intersection between two phytogeographic regions: the savanna or "Cerrado" and the seasonal forest. This unique combination of environments results in a diversity of vegetation cover in the park.
Flora of Pantanal Matogrossense National Park in Brazil
The grassy-woody savanna is one of the types of vegetation found in the Pantanal. This savanna is mainly composed of grasses and shrubs, and it adapts well to the flood-prone soils and characteristic periods of drought and rainfall in the region.

The alluvial deciduous forest is another type of vegetation found in the park. This type of forest develops in flood-prone areas near rivers and is mainly composed of deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season.

You can also find the lowland deciduous forest in the Pantanal. This type of vegetation is present in higher areas less prone to flooding. It consists of trees that also lose their leaves during the dry season.

Fauna

The park is especially important for globally vulnerable species such as the marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). It is also the habitat of the endangered giant otter (Pteronura brasilensis).
Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) in Pantanal, Brazil
The favorable environmental conditions of the area allow for the presence of other mammal species such as the capybara, marsh deer, jaguarundi, otter, and agouti, among others. These animals find in the Pantanal a suitable habitat for their survival and reproduction.

Caiman in Pantanal Matogrossense, Brazil
Among the birds in the protected park area, the cocoi heron and great egret stand out, as they find in the Pantanal’s marshes and rivers an ideal place for feeding and nesting.

Birds in Pantanal Matogrossense, Brazil
It is also possible to observe a large number of reptiles in the park, with caimans being one of the most emblematic species. These reptiles, adapted to aquatic environments, are common in the waters and riverbanks of the Pantanal.

Tourist Attractions and Activities in the Park

The main attraction of Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is wildlife observation, carried out aboard boats. You can also enjoy fascinating sightings of colonial birds in their nests and dormitories in the area known as Baía do Burro.
Tourist attractions and places to visit in the Pantanal of Brazil

Conservation and Challenges

Despite being a National Park, Pantanal Matogrossense faces conservation challenges. Deforestation and illegal hunting are constant threats to the park’s fauna and flora.

Current Conservation Status

Despite its status as a National Park, Pantanal Matogrossense faces conservation challenges. Deforestation and illegal hunting are constant threats to the park’s fauna and flora.

Threats and Conservation Challenges

The park is threatened by human activities such as deforestation for agriculture and livestock, illegal hunting, and overfishing. These challenges require effective management and adapted conservation strategies.

Conservation Programs and Initiatives

Several conservation initiatives are underway to protect and restore Pantanal. These include wildlife monitoring programs, reforestation initiatives, and environmental education for local communities.

Visitor’s Guide

To reach the park, you can fly to Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso, and then take ground transportation. There are various accommodation options nearby, from rustic inns to luxury hotels.

How to Get to the Park

To visit Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, it is necessary to obtain a special advertising license, as the park is not yet open to the public without special permission.

By Plane

You can access the park using the airstrip at Fazenda Acurizal (RPPN/Fundação Ecotrópica). From there, it takes approximately an hour by flight and another 30 minutes by boat to reach the park.

By Road

Road access is possible via MT-060, starting from Cuiabá towards Poconé, covering 102 km on a paved road and then continuing on the Transpantaneira Highway, an unpaved road, for another 147 km until you reach Porto Jofre, located on the banks of the Cuiabá River.

By Boat

Access from Porto Jofre to the park is only possible by water, sailing for approximately 4 hours to reach the destination.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Pantanal Matogrossense National Park is during the dry season, which spans from May to September. During this period, rainfall decreases significantly, resulting in a drier and more pleasant climate for visitors.
Average temperatures range from 23°C to 25°C, making the visit enjoyable.

Park Entry

It is important to note that due to access restrictions and regulations to protect this valuable ecosystem, it is necessary to be accompanied by a private guide and obtain prior park authorization to explore the area. Respecting these measures ensures the conservation of Pantanal Matogrossense National Park for future generations and allows you to enjoy this natural wonder responsibly.

Entrance Fees

Entry to the park is free. There is no admission fee, meaning you do not need to pay a fee to enter the park.

Nearby Accommodation Options

There are several accommodation options near the park, ranging from rustic inns to luxury hotels. Many of these accommodations offer tours to the park and other activities in the Pantanal region. Some nearby localities to Pantanal Matogrossense include:

  1. Poconé: This city is located about 102 km from Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso, and is the closest entry point to the park. Poconé offers various accommodation options, including rustic inns and hotels, providing convenient access to the Pantanal.
  2. Porto Jofre: Located on the banks of the Cuiabá River, Porto Jofre is a strategic locality for those wishing to explore Pantanal Matogrossense National Park. From here, you can organize excursions and tours to the park, as well as find nearby accommodation options.

Travel Preparation

Given the tropical climate of the Pantanal, it is essential to bring lightweight and water-resistant clothing, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. Additionally, it is advisable to get vaccinated against yellow fever before visiting the park.


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