Today I see another magnificent sunrise. It is muted by the haze that comes from the river. It feels like God is closer in this place. This is right where I am meant to be at this exact point in my life.
Breakfast in the Pantanal Wetlands
We have a lovely breakfast, and I grab a few spare bananas for the day. Then, we head off in the first boat that crosses the river.
Today we have an exploration of the Pantanal Wetlands with our lovely Italian friend and well she just makes me laugh and long for Italy.
Everyone makes their way to the riverbank and waits for the next boatload of luggage and companions.
This is the greatest tour group and I wish we were with them for a week, not a day. We then load ourselves into a pickup truck.
Here I have found new answers to life:
- To let go of struggles
- To enjoy and connect with people from all around the world.
These people are all so amazing. I notice there are only 3 ladies, and the rest are all men.
So, as we start this day in the Pantanal Wetlands, my son decides it is time to be ‘a man’ and not ‘a boy’ – oh no!!
Thank goodness we have sensible guys here to help. He is sitting on the roof of the truck for the expedition as it bumps over dirt roads.
Now let me tell you. Life in the Pantanal Wetlands is really not a time to be glamorous. So have your hair pulled back and also have no makeup due to the dripping perspiration. You also need long sleeves and pants to ward off the mosquitoes so do not come here thinking you will dress like a model for Instagram.
I am so stressed as I watch my sons boots hanging from above the level of the windscreen.
But more stressed when we stop on a no sided bridge, with wide gapped planks and a myriad of caiman underneath – yikes!
Here is one of our little friends with his mouth open – ready for breakfast in the swamp below. Wetlands are black waters that act as mirrors.
Water pigs are swimming with the caiman.
We have a bit of a ‘wild guide’. He’s many a scar on his body and face and that worries me. He tells us stories of snake bites, caiman, and other endurance. So as our vehicle stops, he teases a snake.
He is pretty good and he already had a stick ready; like it was a pre-arranged event. Gross – he wipes the venom on some poor English guys backpack. This guide was NOT impressed, and I wouldn’t be either.
For the first time, I get courage and hold the snakes tail. Why I will never know. I hate, and I mean ‘hate’ snakes and this is going to be the last time in my life!.
We see many unusual animals. This guy is just sitting on the road and I am told he is not too well.
Again we get to see my toucan friends. I love the way they fly off with their long colorful beaks forward and are so majestic.
The road ahead here in the Pantanal Wetlands is bumpy, dusty, hot, and long. My son is still on the roof of the pickup truck and is having a blast and he has grown up so much. Today really has matured him already.
Next, we stop by a three-forked river and my mouth drops open as we stop. I have never seen so many caimans in all my life and it is a freaky place to be. So, I hold my son tight and get ready to do a dash as they are all around us. We are assured, “they are lazy and don’t bother humans and will not go after us”. Let’s hope he is right!
I later send my son off to sit in the truck and I stand about as close as I am going to get. “Heck – take that picture fast – will you?”
Picking Up a Caiman
Next, the crazy tour guide is dared by an Israeli to pick up a caiman for 20 Reais – $10 USD. So quick as a flash, he has it in a neck lock.
But seriously, check out how many are here. There are literally hundreds of caiman. This tour leaves our Amazon Jungle trekking for dead.
Next, the wacky tour guide takes us on a hike through the Pantanal Wetlands. I have no idea why, where, or what this hike is about all. One of the lovely guys from England is amazing with my son. He pulls out caiman teeth from skulls lying on the ground and gives to him, and they pose with skeleton heads. I am so pleased with how great this tour group is!
‘The hike to nowhere’ continues. When I ask the guide what we are looking for, he breaks guide rule ‘number one’. He thinks I am complaining and keeps on going on at us to head back up a track and find the truck. A good guide will never tell you to leave the group, but then we figure already he is not a good guide.
Well – there is no way we would ever leave a group and find this suggestion absurd. Let alone in caiman-infested wetlands, with other wild animals. I am definitely going to voice my concerns about this guy to the tour coordinator or in my finishing report if I get one, though somehow I doubt that will happen.
Trekking Through The Pantanal Wetlands
Thankfully the tour guide comes good and snaps out of his mood. Excitedly, we see a heap of blue macaw and other birds, but after we think blue macaws are rare – thanks to the movie ‘Rio’. We are impressed – especially when we find a feather.
We also spot an owl, but the (‘Dingbat’ as one of the group calls our leader) tour guide makes deliberate loud and stupid noises and scares it off. This really annoys one lady in our group as she loves owls. It is rare to see an owl in the day, as you know and now she is really cranky at ‘Dingbat’.
Sitting On The Roof
The Farm and Camp
We arrive at the farm/camp where we will have a rest and lunch. It was nice to look around the farm and to relax in one spot.
While most grab a hammock and rest, I find myself with a son full of energy. These are the times when it is hard to be a single Mum as I am exhausted, and almost fall asleep. Not my boy, however, as he jumps on me!
Explorason swings the hammocks and just exhausts me. But Explorason is on a high for life as he has loved today (and I am really pleased he is happy).
He has discovered the joys of outdoors. The exhilaration of exploring gives pure joy, and I would encourage any parent or single parent to have their kids to experience such things.
Enjoying Lunch And Good Company
Lunch is good and a great selection of food.
We eat up and then drop some off to do horse riding. The rest of us are back in the pickup truck and heading to the drop off bus zone. I am pleased as a guy from Mexico spends time with my son.
So, we say our goodbyes and I wish this was a longer tour of the Pantanal Wetlands as I have loved the group so much, but honestly can’t rave out a lot of the unprofessional behavior.
We are not asked our thoughts or given a questionnaire to complete, which we do find the more professional tour groups give out at the end.
Mini Van To Bonito
This is an expensive van ride to Bonito but then a lot of Brazil is not cheap. They talk about the ‘A.B.C.’s of South America – that being Argentina, Brazil, and Chile as being expensive countries.
We pass Ant mounds and it feels oh so much like Australia. It has been a really long day exploring the Pantanal Wetlands and my son has a good two-hour nap on the way there.
But, we have no accommodation booked but we have a choice of two but as we drive we discover the van is owned by one of the two Guest Houses we had to choose from so he calls ahead and organizes us a private room at Catarino’s Guest House.
We’d met someone who stayed at this Guest House and told us they make the biggest breakfasts in the world so we are keen to stay here if we can.
We crawl out of the van and instantly make new friends at the Guest House even before we have checked in. I have to say that it is so nice having friendly travelers here.
Questions and Comments
- Have you ever been on a tour where the tour guide acted in a less than professional manner?
- What did you do?
- How important do you think recommendations are from others when selecting accommodation?
Pantanal Wetlands Brazil