Trip Start Feb 23, 2008
Trip End Apr 28, 2008

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

After arriving at Campo Grande hoping to be swamped by tour operators trying to sell me a tour of Pantanal. I was a little disappointed that all the offices were close by 6:30pm. I ended up checking out Pantanal Trekking as I know they do provide cheap accomodation overnight at least. I spoke to some tourists that just returned from the Pantanal, unfortunately their English wasn┤t great but they sort of expressed they had a good time. The guide then showed me photo of the lodge there and mentioned there will be 2 English tourists starting the tour tomorrow. I rather be in a group with some English speaking tourist than a group where nobody could communicate properly. I went to the bus station to check out other panatal companies but had no luck. I took a gamble thinking I rather not spend an extra day at Campo Grande to decide on which company to go with. I signed up for a "3 days" program which means an afternoon excursion on day 1, a full day 2 and a morning excursion on the last day before returning to Campo Grande. I booked my bus ticket to Foz do Iguašu. I wasn't brave enough to take the overnight bus immediately after returning from the Pantanal as I have read reports of people returning late and missing their bus. So I decided to take the morning bus the next day. Some people rather take an overnight bus and save a night of accomodation and a day of sightseeing. Sleep is too important for me, I rather waste a day travelling!

I arrived at Pousada Santa Clara in the afternoon. It is located by the Aboral River close to Miranda and Paraguay Rivers. It is actually closer to corumbß than Campo Grande but logistically it makes little difference which city to travel from. The guides I had were a husband and wife team. Carlos is a local and his wife Trudi is an Australian. When we arrived they were only expecting 2 persons and there were 6 of us! All the dietry information provided to the agency were of course not communicated to the people that matters. Bottle water is available for sale not provided as per the Ecological Expedition. But despite all this I had a great time.

I went straight for Piranhas fishing on arrival. I caught 4 and they weren┤t that difficult to catch. However some memeber of my boat did not catch any. The wildlife here is amazing. It can easily be compared to the wet land of northern Australia. I have never seen a swarm of dragonflies so dense before. Birds are everyehere you look many different spieces. Including the rare Hyacinth Macaws. I even saw my first Tucan. They are such cool looking birds and it is amazing they can actually fly with such a large beak. We also saw a few monkeys and some Jaguar┤s foot prints.

Next morning I was awoke by a concert of bird calls. After breakfast we went on a boat ride upstream. we saw lots of Kingfishers, some Tiger Herons, a family of capybaras, the world largest rodents. An adult may weight up to 50kg! More Howler Monkeys were spotted from a distance. On the return trip we were offered the option of swimming/floating downstream. This was the same river we went fishing for Piranhas afterall and it is also full of Caimans. The day never warmed up as the sky remained overcast. It was so unusually cold that we didn┤t see many wildlife on our walk in the afternoon. By night time it was so cold I had to put my termals on!

For my last day at Pousada Santa Clara, I went for a drive and more wlking. I saw heaps of animals. I spotted a Yellow Armadillo, got some good photo of a Tucan, saw a family of Racoons, a small deer, some wild pigs and lots and  lots of Caimans. It kind of made up for a poor sighting the day before. After lunch I was dropped off aty Buraco Das Piranhas where I had to take a bus back to Campo Grande. I recognised the company Andorinha on my my to Pousada Santa Clara. I believe it actually may be possible to get to Pousada Santa Clara directly and avoiding the agencies. I was glad the I did not take the overnight bus option has my bus from Buraco Das Piranhas did not arrive until 8pm. I can highly recommend Carlos and Trudi as guides. Pousada Santa Clara offers a basic, yet acceptable level of service and acccomodation. What makes Pantanal great is the wildlife and there is plenty where Pousada Santa Clara is located.

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