Where We Be
Pantanal, Brazil -- By Horseback & Canoe
We mentioned in our previous post that a hand-
ful of pousadas, or lodges, are located along
the Transpantaneira offering a good meal, a
bed for the night, and the chance to explore
the countryside
along the way. We stopped at
one of these, Pousada Canto do Arancuan,
about halfway along our route. After settling
into our simple room (but with AC!), we had
lunch and went for a swim in the delightful pool.

Our guide Luis kept us busy
the rest of that day
and into the next. By late afternoon we were
horseback riding through the Pantanal
. At this
time of year (mid-November) large parts of th
e
wetlands are dry, but we've seen photos of
f
olks riding through knee-deep water in rainy
season! After dinner
we went on a night walk
and saw a tarantula,
a great potoo owl, and
hundreds of shining, unblinking caiman eyes.
By 5:30 the next morning we were hiking a trail
s
pying marmosets and capuchin monkeys in the
trees.
Then it was on to breakfast and a canoe
ride filled with more birds and butterflies than
you could i
magine. After lunch and a final swim
in the pool
, it was back to the van to finish our
drive along the Transpantaneira to Porto Jofre.
The best part of Pousada Canto do Arancuan: the pool!
Country living Pantanal style
Our guide Luis seemed to know every
bird and beast in the Pantanal by name
We'll never forget our first glimpse of these brilliant blue hyacinth macaws
Along the way we saw brocket deer, marsh deer, and, best of all,
an
armadillo running with surprising speed through the grass
We got to hold one of the tortoises in our hands.
They're surprisingly heavy -- no wonder they're so slow.
We finished up our ride at sunset, saddle-sore but happy
We also saw several tortoises during our ride
After dinner we went on a night walk
and saw this tarantua crossing the road
Early next morning we went for a hike and met a group
of capuchin monkeys who were quite curious about us
After breakfast we went on a serene
canoe ride down a quiet stretch of river
Our friends looked like they might never
escape this dense patch of water hyacinth
We saw more trains of butterflies
than we've ever seen before
I doubt we'll ever see as many herons and
egrets again as we did in the Pantanal
A night heron and a rufescent tiger heron were just
two of the many bird sightings during our canoe trip
Back on the road, we spotted a large herd
of capybara just beyond the pousada grounds
Who knew large rodents could be so cute?
Now on to Porto Jofre where the road comes to an end
A quiet side road leads from the
Transpantaneira to our bed for the night
We enjoyed the cameraderie of riding with new
friends from Poland, Spain, and the Netherlands
My horse Thunder didn't really live up to the name,
but we did manage a trot and canter now and again
Lodging here is simple, peaceful,
and filled with birdsong
Luis crept up on this nightjar and caught it
in his bare hands before releasing it again
For some strange reason they
seemed to avoid
these trees
This fish hawk kept following us, croaking
"feed me" -- clearly he's been fed before!
The canoe ride was our last activity at the
pousada, other than lunch and a final swim