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Some of Mato Grosso’s main attractions

Article - September 5, 2011
Covering an area of more than 48,000 square miles across three countries (Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia), and with an average altitude of just 100 meters, the Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world.

The Pantanal:
the world’s largest wetland

This immensely rich system of biodiversity is thought to be home to 1,000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species, and over 9,000 different subspecies of invertebrates. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of Mato Grosso’s biggest tourist attractions, just a couple of hours drive from Cuiaba, the state’s capital city.

Chapada dos Guimaraes
National Park

Declared a national natural heritage area over 100 years ago, the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park, just 42 miles from Cuiaba, is a paradise for trekkers and travelers in search of the thrills of adventure tourism. Covering 1,275 square miles, the park is home to spectacular canyons, waterfalls, caves, lakes and archeological sites. The park has excellent infrastructure, with a diverse offer of places to stay and agencies that organize various tours and adventure sports, from rock climbing to rafting. 


Even the name of the state’s capital city, Cuiaba, refers to the practice of fishing. In fact one of the interpretations of the name refers to the Bororo Indian word Ikuiapa, which means “place of the ikuia”, an ikuia being an arrow-shaped harpoon used by the Bororo Indians to fish. Today Mato Grosso’s many rivers, wetlands and lakes are internationally renowned for their excellent recreational and sporting fishing.

History, culture and cuisine

As well as being a paradise for nature lovers and eco-tourists, Mato Grosso has a rich and diverse culture with European, African and indigenous influences. The fact that the state was almost completely isolated from the rest of the country until relatively recently has contributed to the uniqueness of the state’s cultural identity. Visitors can enjoy a wealth of local folklore and traditional music and dances, whilst at the same time exploring Cuiaba’s growing nightlife. The city has a great variety of bars and nightclubs, and its selection of restaurants boasts one of the most original and diverse cuisines in the country, being particularly famous for the delicate sweet-water fish dishes. Finally, Mato Grossense arts and crafts, particularly the pottery and weaving handicrafts, make excellent souvenirs.