The Pantanal area of Brazil offers you the best wildlife watching in the western hemisphere. There is tremendous abundance and diversity because the area is a floodplain not unlike the Okavango delta of Botswana. The water collects in pans, oxbow lakes, streams, creeks and rivers and is a magnet for all forms of life including predators such as ocelot, puma and jaguar. Caiman are very common as are capybaras and deer. Tapirs, anteaters and anacondas can be seen. Bird life is diverse and plentiful with several colourful species of macaws. It is very large, about 150,000 km sq. and more open that the Amazon area making the larger mammals far more frequently seen.
There are several fazendas (ranches) participating in a program to preserve the Pantanal by altering their cattle management strategies and by offering accommodation and tours. Several fazendas have participated in biological research and species restoration projects such as the hyacinth macaw nesting project. The other reason for this program is to diversify income and employment for the local workers who have been slowly migrating to the large cities of Brazil in search of opportunities. Some fazendas have opened schools for the children of the area and guests are welcome to visit and make donations if they wish.
The pousadas (country inns) are located on the fazendas and are authentic buildings formerly used by the cowboys. Rooms are clean and comfortable, but not fancy. Each pousada has an old ranch style kitchen producing wonderful food of the region which is consumed family style in the dining room. The language spoken is Brazilian Portuguese with guides being fluent in English, German or French.