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The Amazon or the Pantanal - Which one is for you?

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Amazon - Boats, Jungle, Culture

WHAT: The Brazilian Amazon is famous for its unique ecosystem, stunning waterways and lush jungle vegetation. The rivers in the Amazon are vast, spanning 5 million km ² and spreading into 9 countries. Eighty percent of the Amazon is in Brazilian territory, along with the confluence of the "Negro" and the "Solimões" tributaries, which create the famous "meeting of the waters" phenomenon.

WHY: Who hasn't dreamed of walking amongst towering trees and floating on the legendary waters of one of the world's most famous rivers? The Amazon's diverse ecosystem is its best asset and the Amazon is home to an incredible array of lush jungle flora. If you are a plant lover the Amazon is the place for you. Adventure activities abound that are designed to explore the jungle from every angle; canoeing, canopy walks, piranha fishing and more.

Riverside culture is vibrant in the Brazilian Amazon. These communities are just as excited to welcome and meet people of different cultures as you are! You may be amazed by how simply many people live along the Amazon and what you can learn from them. Members of these communities are often best at spotting the elusive fauna of the area so make sure to heed their advice if you want to see birds, jaguars and the emblematic pink dolphin. 

HOW: The Amazon is a vast network of rivers both big and small. We like to think of it as a highway of rivers, making boats the best form of transport to get around. Boat journeys on the Amazon are iconic for the region; the slow pace, sleeping in hammocks, watching the river, forest and local life glide by. Boat options range from day trips to overnight cruises and you can even charter your own private ship to explore the region. There are other options including luxury hotels, rustic-chic jungle lodges, or even the once-in-a-lifetime experience of treetop hammocks.

One of our favorites: Cristalino Lodge

Offering the highest quality Amazon Jungle experience accessible from the Amazon, award-winning Cristalino Lodge is a luxury property situated in the middle of nearly 50 sq mile private reserve of pristine forest. Accompanied by expert guides, guests have ample opportunities to explore the diverse flora and fauna, hiking several different trails, ascending the 50 ft canopy viewing tower and traveling by boat (or paddling your own canoe) along the rivers. Clay deposits in the region attract several species of mammals that can be viewed from the shelter of a tree house. The lodge is only accessible via a combination of boat and van rides from Alta Floresta. 

Panatal - Wetlands, Jaguars, Conservation

WHAT: The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland and a protected UCESCO World Heritage Site. It spans three countries, (Brazil/Bolivia/Paraguay) and is larger in land mass than England. This unique ecosystem is home to an incredible array of diverse wildlife because of the unique mix of wetlands and seasonal flood lands.

WHY: The Pantanal is a wildlife lovers' dream. It is hands down, the best place to spot the elusive jaguar. The jaguar's population in Central and South America has reduced by 40% but it still thrives in the Pantanal, where the highest density of jaguars is found. The large, open wetland spaces make it easier to see the elusive cat and there are many experienced tour guides who know how to find the mighty felines. Besides jaguars, the Pantanal also boasts the largest variety of species in Brazil, including caimans, capybaras, tapirs, ocelot, and the manned wolf. Birdwatchers also love the Pantanal with over 300 species found in the region such as the Jabiru stork, Toco Toucans or Scarlet Macaws.

Conservation in the Pantanal is an added plus for many of our travelers.The vast area of the Pantanal is made up of mostly private properties, many of which were created to help preserve and protect this incredible & unique part of the world. There are many opportunities to learn about conservation practices, the history of conservation in the Pantanal, and how it balances with ecotourism today and in the future.

HOW: There are many ways to experience the Pantanal but lodges tend be a very important part of the whole experience. Lodges tend to be simple and focus on getting people out on excursions to see the jaguars. Options range from budget to luxury and all offer an array of activities to fit different interests and activity levels. Activities range from hiking, boating, or horseback riding to wildlife spotting tours and much more. 

One of our Favorites: Araras EcoLodge

A rustic and comfortable eco-lodge and working cattle ranch, Araras Ecolodge, has just 19 rooms. English speaking owners, staff, and guides ensure that you have a great wildlife viewing experience while exploring more than 3,000 privately owned hectares of wetlands, forest, and savannah. Explore on horseback, on foot, via jeep or while paddling a canoe. Araras Ecolodge is a particularly good place for viewing the brilliant blue Hyacinth Macaw as the lodge has been involved in conservation and breeding programs for several years. 

Interested in exploring the Amazon or the Pantanal? Check out our Ultimate Jaguar and Wildlife Adventure and see them both for yourself.

Questions? Give us a call at 800-345-4453.

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