Getting to Know: Mato Grosso do Sul

Continuing with our journey across South America, this week we’d like to introduce you to Mato Grosso do Sul, Fazendeiros.

This Brazilian state is located in the central-west of the country, covering a massive 137,891 square miles. It’s roughly the same size as Germany!

History 

Mato Grosso do Sul means ‘Thick Bushes of the South’ in Portuguese, getting its name due to the thick savanna vegetation that covers the land. It was scarcely populated before the mid-1900s, at which point people moved there to prospect for gold and diamonds that were hidden away in the land.

Surrounded by thick vegetation (Image credit - Ric Netto)

Surrounded by thick vegetation (Image credit – Ric Netto)

After the land was mined for these valuable resources and interest declined, settlers began to set up cattle ranches, but many others moved elsewhere to settle down. Due to this, this state has one of the lowest population densities in the whole of Brazil.

Climate 

Thick vegetation is fuelled by a humid, tropical climate. Summer can reach up to 34 degrees Celsius, and is often accompanied by lots of rainfall. Winter temperatures can vary, but it’s a rare occurrence for this state to get very cold.

Campo Grande 

The capital and largest city of this state is an intriguing location. It’s known as the Cidade Morena (loosely translated as dark-complexioned city) due to the dark, red earth below the towering high-rises and restaurant-lined streets.

The beautiful city (Image credit - Pantanal Escapes)

The beautiful city (Image credit – Pantanal Escapes)

In Campo Grande, the indigenous Brazilian culture is robust. It’s the perfect city to visit if you love art, due to the authentic handicrafts on offer from various stores, such as pottery, fans, and embroidery.

 Things to do 

Bonito 

This ecotourism hub is known for its crystal-clear rivers, like the Rio de Prata, which can be found throughout the region. It’s a very popular place to snorkel, with waters being perfect for marine life, meaning there’s an abundance of amazing fish to see.

Exploring the fascinating waters (Image credit - Hotel Urbano)

Exploring the fascinating waters (Image credit – Hotel Urbano)

One of the main attractions is the Abismo Anhumas. This massive cavern is covered in stalactites, and is often abseiled into. The bottom holds a beautiful secret; a hidden underground lake that you simply have to dive into if you visit.

It's eerily beautiful inside the cavern (Image credit Loleplanet)

It’s eerily beautiful inside the cavern (Image credit Loleplanet)

Finally, there are many hiking routes through this area, meaning there’s so many hidden gems to be discovered throughout popular routes. This place will leave you speechless, Fazendeiros.

Pantanal 

Pantanal is a beautiful area of natural land, encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetlands. Located mostly in Mato Grosso Do Sul, it covers a massive 70,000 square miles.

Wetlands as far as the eye can see (Image credit - Toda Materia)

Wetlands as far as the eye can see (Image credit – Toda Materia)

Interestingly, this place holds the highest concentration of wildlife on the continent – even more than the Amazon rainforest.

A jaguar prowling in Pantanal (Image credit - The Telegraph)

A jaguar prowling in Pantanal (Image credit – The Telegraph)

Common inhabitants include jaguars, howler monkeys, and green anacondas. If you can brave the wilderness, it’s the perfect place to get up close with nature and is often considered one of the prettiest places in the world.

It's a tranquil and pretty place (Image credit - Rough Guides)

It’s a tranquil and pretty place (Image credit – Rough Guides)

Would you ever consider exploring Mato Grosso do Sul, Fazendeiros? Which place would you like us to explore next? Share your thoughts with us via the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.