Pantanal, Brazil

Day 1:

We arrived in Campo Grande bright and early at 7:30am. I hadn’t slept that well, but I was feeling okay, and today we were looking for a tour for Pantanal. We found a company we had been recommended by someone we met in Iguassa Falls called Pantanal Trekking. After being advised that it was actually only 6:30am as we were now 5 hours behind the UK, (so strange being in a country with more than one time zone) we arranged our trip and were on our way.

Most of the day consisted of more travelling – much to our delight… The trip to Pantanal and our lodge would take between 6/7 hours :'(. To get to Panatanal itself was about 4 hours, and then to our lodge another 2. However, the last 2 hours weren’t too bad as we got to see wildlife along the way. The first thing we saw was a Caiman.

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There were loads along the road we were travelling hiding in the different swamps. 14068222_10210844006442894_1389687379890500443_n

We were allowed to get out and take pictures a couple of times, but we needed to keep moving to get to the Lodge before 5pm. When we arrived, we were shown our rooms, and told to get ready to go and watch the sunset, and have a small night walk before dinner.

The view from the lodge itself was so nice and peaceful.

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Once we were ready we headed out from the lodge to catch the sunset. When we were walking around we saw some blue macaws.

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You can just about see them in the picture in the centre of the trees! We also saw a group of cabybara’s, but they were much further away so the picture wasn’t great.

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We wandered around a lot of the surrounding area, and into the bush to see some more wildlife. We saw this really cool tree, called a Strangler tree, which supports itself by wrapping around another tree and essentially killing the other tree by “strangling”it.

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We left the bush to catch the last of the sunset.

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The picture definitely does not do it justice. As the sunset the mosquito’s decided to make an appearance. I thought I would be protected from them as I was wearing black sports leggings and had used insect repellent on my arms. Wow, was I wrong. Apparently mosquitos love black leggings as they can still bite through the material. Something we were not told UNTIL we were being eaten alive!

Once the sun had set we got to walk around in the dark with a flashlight and see some cooler animals. One of which was a tarantula !

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This one was only small, but there were loads around the tree and a big one hidden within. It reminded me of Harry Potter when Harry and Ron go into the forbidden forest to look for Aragog. Yuck.

We also saw some tree cutter ants, in a huge line, each carry peaces of branch and leaves back to their nest.

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One of the best things we saw though was a rattle snake! We were heading back to the lodge when our guide leapt back, because one had just crossed into our path.

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Apparently they are really venemous and could easily kill a human if they weren’t given the proper treatment in time. We gave it a very wide berth.

We headed back to the lodge for dinner, and I had to force myself to stay up past 9pm. I was absolutely exhausted.

 

Day 2:
After a great nights sleep, we were woken up about 6am for breakfast. We were actually woken up by some of the girls in the hostel singing Happy Birthday to Annabel, as she was 21 today!!  We were starting the day with a long walk around the Pantanal to spot some wildlife.

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As you can see, it was a lovely day for it. Which was good, as we had to go wading through some of these ponds to get around, almost up to my chest!

We walked through a lot of the “bush” area in between the trees to see the most wildlife, and some cool trees as well.

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In the next picture, that is a monkey in the middle – you can just about see her in between the trees.

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Hopefully you can see it! We also saw this huge lizard, hiding in with some branches, and its tail went all the way down a hole

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It was pretty well camouflaged in between all the branches, so lucky our guide spotted it! By the time we had finished walking it was about 11am and it was getting really hot. So we stopped for lunch and had a bit of a break to avoid the midday sun. The Spanish couple in our group had a siesta!

In the afternoon the plan was to go Piranha fishing. For this we were about chest deep in a lake by our lodge. We all had to pick our fishing rods and then attach the bait – which was some type of beef. It was so much fun! You would drop the bait in and literally within seconds you could feel the piranha’s nibbling and you’d have to quickly pull the rod out before it ate all the food and swam off. They were pretty clever, and would figure out to eat around the hook.

While we were fishing there were a few caiman’s in the water, which kept ducking underneath which was pretty scary because you didn’t know where they were. We were told they wouldn’t attack us though – they just wanted to eat our piranha’s!

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Myself and Annabel caught the most, each catching 7! I was in the lead until the last minute when Annabel caught up with me :(.

Our piranha’s ready for cooking.

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The one’s we caught and didn’t think we would eat either got thrown back in to live another day, or were fed to the caiman’s!

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I certainly wouldn’t want to feed them! The piranha’s were grilled on the BBQ and covered in a lime sauce.

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I wasn’t sure if I’d like them as I don’t usually like fish… but they were actually really good! I don’t know whether is was just the lime sauce that made them taste good, but they were really nice. Except for the fact there were so many little bones you had to pick through.

After we had eaten our fill of the piranha’s we walked up the road to catch the sunset.

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We actually missed the sun setting, but the sky looked pretty, especially reflected off the lake.

In the evening we had dinner, and myself and a couple of girls from the lodge had organised a birthday cake and some caiprinha’s for Annabel’s birthday. The cake was so nice and tasted amazing. The caipirinha however was SO strong. You could barely drink it, so we had water it down and add sugar to it! But, it was good fun and a nice way to celebrate Annabel’s 21st!

 

Day 3:

The plan for today was for a boat trip in the morning and then horse riding in the afternoon. When we got up for breakfast the sky was looking a bit grey, but we didn’t think too much of it. Our guide advised us to bring our raincoats with us though just in case. When we got to the river though, it was a completely different matter. It started absolutely pouring it down and thundering and lightning. We got into the boat, and when we were going out there was a flash of lightning and a huge crack of thunder right above us! In the end it was decided it was too dangerous for the boat trip, so we headed back to the lodge.

On the way back, we did see this little guy crossing the road though.

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By the time we got back to the lodge, the skies had cleared and the sun was out – typical! Although, it was good as we could hang our stuff out to dry.

In the afternoon Annabel and I were off horse riding. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any pictures, but it was really nice going off into the Pantanal. The horses had to wade through some water at points, and I swear mine was splashing as much as possible, so my shoes got drenched!

The evening was a lot quieter as the other group, and half of our group had left, so it was just me and Annabel left and a few new people. So we headed in for an early night, ready for our last day.

 

Day 4:

Today was our last day in the Pantanal, and I’d had such an amazing time! This morning, we were going back out for the boat trip as the weather was a lot better than the day before. Prepare for some very far away photos …

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Up in the tree is a kingfisher. We saw quite a few of them throughout the trip.

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A slightly better picture…

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We saw a lot of different birds on the way round but it was really hard to get pictures of them. I got one of a stork as it flew off.

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And of course there were caiman’s hanging around.

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We also saw some giant otters splashing around. We waited for ages for them to come out so we could see the properly, but they were just too fast and would dart under the water before we could get a photo.

After the boat trip, we headed back to the lodge for some lunch, before packing up and heading out for the 6 hour trip back to Campo Grande. I’d honestly had such a great time and seen so many cool things, I would definitely recommend it to anyone travelling in Brazil!

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