Pantanal Tour Activities – A Closer Look

In our previous post we took a look at the details of a 4 day, 3 night Brazilian Pantanal tour. This was one of our favourite activities during our time travelling through Brazil and we would encourage everyone to do it if you get a chance. As well as seeing amazing wildlife and taking part in fun activities, it’s a great opportunity to meet fellow travellers!

The activities involved and wildlife spotted during the tour are numerous to say the least! There is far too much to say for it all to be included in the overview of the tour. So we thought we would do a second post. Here we can highlight in more detail the Pantanal tour activities involved and showcase some of the beautiful members of the animal kingdom you will see.

pantanal tour activities

Pool Noodling Down the Miranda River

This was the first of our Pantanal tour activities that we took part in and it was great fun! We began by clambering in to a 12-seater motor boat, with our swim gear on, carrying two foamy pool noodles each.

Pantanal Tour Activities - Pool Noodling

Our guide Luis powered the boat a few kilometres down the river, whilst we gasped in awe as Toucans flew over the trees on either side of the bank. Eventually the engine died down and Luis turned the boat around. Then it was time to jump in! The water of the river was surprisingly refreshing without being cold; we were then free to grab our noodles and let the relatively strong current of the Miranda river take us. It was wonderfully relaxing and also a great opportunity to chat with the other guests. Overall a fantastic start to the array of Pantanal tour activities on offer.

Night Safari & Cayman spotting

Pink lightning storms in the far distance, fireflies in the river bank hedges and more stars in the night sky then we had ever seen. This was a  beautiful evening for a boat ride.  Watching the sunset was amazing and so peaceful; sitting in silence reflecting on the day and enjoying the scenery. As the boat zoomed back to the lodge, Luis turned on the searchlight and began scanning the river banks, looking out for the tell-tale signs of the speckled cayman – orange eyes. Having only caught glimpses for the most part, we were amazed when the boat slowed down and drifted into a patch of reeds right next to the lodge; sure enough there was a cayman just lying in the water.  It was the first of what would be many cayman sightings over the next few days!

Horse Riding

This was a first for me, having never ridden a horse before. In fact I’d go so far as to say I was  a bit scared of horses to be honest! We jumped on the back of a jeep, rattled down a dusty stoney road constantly on the look out for deer, birds and other small mammals and arrived at another Pantanal lodge/ranch.  We were kitted out, introduced to our mounts and given some brief instructions on how to make it go, stop and change direction.

Pantanal Tour Activities - Horse Riding

As a first time horse rider it was perfect as the horses were very well trained so no riding knowledge was needed. The ride took us through flooded fields where the water reached the horses under belly, through small woodland where we met wild cows and across muddy tracks. Overall it lasted about an hour to an hour and a half and we saw plenty more wildlife including some rare hyacinth macaws.

Canoeing

If you’re staying right next to a really long river, it would be remiss not to get out on it and canoe. So on the second evening we were really happy that we would get the chance to do. After a long ride in the boat up the river we carefully climbed into the canoes.

Pantanal Tour Activities - Canoeing

We were pretty much left to our own devices from this point. We were free to power down the river using the current and paddle power, or we could veer from side to side trying to spot an elusive capybara. The sun began to set as we approached the lodge which was a lovely end to the day’s activities.

Boat ride & swimming

This was probably our least favourite Pantanal tour activity out of all of them. The whole group jumped in the boat and we motored down the Miranda river (something which by now we had down countless times already). This time we went much further, past the point where it meets the Red River. After stopping to look at a monkey in the tree, which was too small to see properly, and gazing over a heron nesting ground we headed back. On our return trip Luis banked the boat and we had a chance to get out an swim for a while.

C got caught in the current and had to be rescued to avoid her being swept off down stream!

Piranha Fishing

Pantanal Tour Activities - D Piranha Fishing

This is something that I was really excited about (C not so much!). After a brief jeep ride down the bumpy track we jumped off and were given our rods. They were really long, simple bamboo poles with a line attached ending in a small hook. Luis showed us how to do it: 1. Attach chunk of raw meat to hook. 2. Dangle in water. 3. Wait for a tug on the line. 4. Yank!

Despite getting off to a very unsuccessful start, in the end I caught two piranhas! After a very quick photo we carefully put the fish back in the water. It was good fun, competing against the other guests to see who could catch the most. The fish were quite scary looking too!

guided wildlife walk

On the final morning we were taken for a guided wildlife walk. This was a chance to spot some of the wildlife we hadn’t yet had a chance to see. Luis our guide, who was born and raised in the Pantanal, had an uncanny knack of spotting well camouflaged critters. From Coati’s and monkeys to armadillos and cayman. It was a great way to end our Pantanal Tour Activities.

the wildlife

If we’re honest, you need to visit to truly appreciate the beauty and sheer amount of wildlife surrounding you. We would wake up in the morning to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees. Birdsong was continuous throughout the day; a family of Capybaras would nest on the bank right in front of our room. When seeing a sunbathing Cayman and flying toucans become normal, you know you’re in a paradise. Below is just a small selection of the wildlife just waiting for you:-

Pantanal Tour Activities - Wildlife

Which of these Pantanal tour activities would you be most excited about? What is your favourite animal to spot whilst travelling? Get in touch in the comments below.

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Pantanal Tour: 4 Days 3 Nights in the Brazilian Pantanal

Family, friends and regular readers will know that we began our round the world trip in South America. Among the large number of amazing things we got up to, one of our favourites was a Brazilian Pantanal tour. Until now we have only written one post about the Pantanal, being a #PhotoFriday post. We would love others to share the fantastic experience we had. The following two posts will therefore be a review of the tour followed by an overview of the activities together with some great photos.

the brazilian pantanal

Whilst planning our trip, we read various travel blogs and checked out backpacker tourist routes. We discovered an opportunity on our route through Brazil to Bolivia that we couldn’t pass up.

The Pantanal, from the Portuguese word “pãntano” meaning wetland, is a massive, (140,000-195,000 sq km) natural land area, encompassing the world’s largest wetlands.  It is a veritable cornucopia of wildlife just waiting to be discovered, whilst indulging in some fun activities!

Pantanal Tour - Map

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Least favourite things about travelling for 350 days

Our amazing adventure of traversing the globe for a whole year is almost at an end. As our previous post indicated we have been on the road for over 350 days. We’ve seen loads of different countries, witnessed awesome spectacles, eaten exotic food and met some brilliant people. But it hasn’t all been roses and kittens; On request from one our readers here are some of our least favourite things about travelling for 350 days.

least favourite things about travelling - sad C & D

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A Romantic Day in Sucre

Sucre is one of the most beautiful cities in Bolivia. There is no better place to use as your base for a romantic stay in the country. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or just to spend some extra special time together, Sucre is the place to do it.

Today is the one day you don’t want to get up early. There are loads of really amazing apartments to choose from on AirBnB in Sucre. We stayed in a beautifully modern apartment a short walk from the city centre. Alternatively, check into a gorgeous hotel – there are plenty to choose from. This morning, have a lie-in and drink your coffee slowly while looking out over the beautiful White City. Continue reading

Photo Friday: Around The World

This week’s Photo Friday is going to be a little bit different from the norm.  You have probably already seen our favourite photos from Chiang Mai (if not, go have a look!) and we are still there, having been working hard – so no new photos!

Photo Friday RTW

So, rather than leave you all in the lurch and not write a post for this week, we thought we would get in contact with some of our blogging friends to bring you some awesome photos from every continent – hence the title “Around The World”.

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A Day at Machu Picchu

When traveling through South America, the majority of people will include Peru on their itinerary, and the biggest tourist attraction by far in Peru is Machu Picchu!

Machu Picchu Passport Stamp.jpg

“It’s super-awesomely-amazing!”

D was in charge of planning this bit of our trip, and if there’s one thing D is bad at, it’s planning.  Ideally, you need to book the Inca trail at least six months in advance – if that is  your chosen route to Machu Picchu – but D didn’t know that. Luckily for us it turned out that almost all tour companies offer one day trips. So we booked ourselves a full day tour, and got ready for the trip of a lifetime.

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Ilha Grande: Island Paradise or Tourist Trap

Ilha Grande or “Big Island” lies approximately 11 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in Brazil, South America. An island with a rich history and relatively new tourism industry, it is already a popular holiday destination for Brazilian and foreign travellers alike.

The Lonely Planet guide describes Ilha Grande as “a fabulous island retreat…..pristine condition“. In some respects this is true, but in others this statement can be misleading. Ilha Grande appears on many backpacker tourist routes and attracts cruise ship day trippers. As a result the island has adapted to deal with this influx of travellers.

The question is whether Ilha Grande should be considered an island paradise or just another tourist trap?
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Amazing First Time Experiences Whilst Travelling

We have been fortunate enough to have some amazing first time experiences whilst travelling round the world. From spectacular sights and meeting lovely people, to eating weird and wonderful foods and try new activities.

We wanted to share with you some of the experiences whilst travelling, that we have had the pleasure to do for the first time:-

Our Favourite Experiences Whilst Travelling
Activitiesexperiences whilst travelling - D on horseback

Horse riding – D had never before ridden and a horse and was actually a bit scared of horses! But as part of our 4 day Pantanal tour we went on a horse ride trek and D loved it.

Pirahna Fishing – Also in the Pantanal D tried his hand at Piranha fishing and managed to catch one! (don’t worry, it got thrown back in afterwards unharmed)

Overnight Bus Ride – Our journey from Sao Paulo to Iguacu Falls was the first time we had spent all night on a bus. Considering the chairs reclined to almost flat, it was not the worst experience in the world!

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Visit Cerro Rico- Five Reasons Not To | The Silver Mine of Potosi

Cerro Rico towers over Potosi. The town was built up around the mountain because of the abundance of silver inside that was extracted and sent to Spain. Tourists visit Cerro Rico to go on a mine tour, and visit the miners who work inside and now extract tin.

The tours are the only reason most tourists visit Potosi. Although a few people recommended going, I always knew I wouldn’t. Eventually D decided he wouldn’t be going either, so we had a nice time seeing a few other things that the city has to offer.

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Visiting A&E Abroad: A Trip to Peruvian A&E

Whenever bad things happen I always remember the conversation we were having at the time. It’s never about world politics or feeding the hungry, it’s always some mundane thing that haunts me whenever I think about how stupid it was.

This is what I was thinking, while I sat in the wheelchair in the stark whiteness of an accident and emergency department in Lima, reflecting on the conversation I’d been having with D about the time I’d once had too many shots of rum on a night out.

visiting A&E abroad - metal protruding from ground

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