Until recently the area known as the Pantanal, to which Cuiabá is a gateway, has been relatively unknown outside the borders of Brazil, yet thanks to the improvements in access and the accommodation on offer, the region is now being discovered by the more adventurous travellers that have an interest in nature.
Located in the geographical heart of South America, the Pantanal stretches across the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul and west in to both Bolivia and Paraguay, it covers an area of 75,000 square miles (195,000 sq km), making it the world’s largest wetlands.
Covering an area nearly the size of the United Kingdom, the Pantanal, is made up of a collection of ecosystems that house one of the planet’s greatest variety of flora and fauna, including an immense diversity of bird and wildlife. It is thought to have the greatest concentration of animals in the Western Hemisphere and UNESCO has designated parts of the Pantanal as a World Heritage Centre. The World Cup takes place during the most popular period for bird watching.
Large quantities of over 250 species of fish have been catalogued in the rivers and waters of the Pantanal and are a major attraction for fishermen.
The host city of Cuiabá in the north of the Pantanal is one of the main gateways to the region and it will be a crime for people to visit Cuiabá during the World Cup and not go on to explore the Pantanal.
Ramblers should head to the west of Cuiabá, to the Chapada dos Guimarães, the canyon and national park that are the geographic centre of South America.
Cuiabá’s 43,000 seater Arena Pantanal, has been built especially for the World Cup and will host four matches.
Arena Pantanal – Schedule:
Friday, 13 June, 18.00 (Chile x Australia)
Tuesday, 17 June, 18.00 (Russia x South Korea)
Saturday, 21 June, 18.00 (Bosnia-Herzegovina x Nigeria)
Tuesday, 24 June, 16.00 (Colombia x Japan)