The pantanal wetlands and bonito
State: Mato Grosso do Sul
The state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in central Brazil, is typically agricultural and cattle raising oriented. Home of huge farms of up to 250.000 acres, the state also holds a few of Brazil´s most striking natural beauties. Our suggested itinerary will concentrate in two regions, Pantanal and Bonito, which pose a rare opportunity for visitors to be exposed to an astonishing landscape teeming with life, as well as to peculiar cultural and historical aspects. In 2013, Bonito was awarded “The Best Destination for Responsible Tourism” by the World Travel Market´s “World Responsible Tourism Awards” in London.
Internationally considered as one of the world´s last natural reserves, with an area larger than England and Scotland together, these seasonally flooded wetlands hold wildlife only matched by the African savannah. Here, man and fauna coexist, adapting to the annual flooding of this magical land. In terms of wildlife observation, the Pantanal provides fascinating experiences, and is one of the best spots on Earth for bird watching. The Pantanal is home for the hyacinth-macaw, a species that made a strong comeback after being one of the most prized species on the illegal trafficking of wild animals. Since encounters with jaguars are frequent, some important and successful big-cat conservation projects are carried out in the area.
Bonito is a small town of about 30.000 people, located 320 km (200 mi) from Campo Grande, the capital of the state of MatoGrosso do Sul. Since 1993, ecotourism has been growing, due the very special local ecological features, and Bonito was awarded for 11 consecutive times “the best ecotourism destination in Brazil”. Bonito is a reference in Brazil as far as responsible tourism is concerned. Ultra crystalline rivers teeming with plant and animal diversity cut through this region. Snorkeling, blue-water caves and trekking over the "Cerrado", a savannah-like environment, are the main activities. Bonito is one of the best places for the research and close encounters with anacondas and other important members of the aquatic fauna. Culture in Bonito, as well as in the Pantanal region, is mainly that of cattlemen origin, influenced by "gauchos" of neighboring Argentina and Paraguay.
Possible areas for studies:
Tourism Management and Sustainability
Geology of the Limestone Province of the Bodoquena Range
Wildlife observation and identification / Birdwatching
Ichthyology and River Ecology
River Dynamics and Profiles
Interaction with ongoing Wildlife Conservation Projects: Jaguar - Hyacinth Macaw - Tapir