Paraguai River basin and the Pantanal
A small country that invokes mystery and due to its isolation a strange history has taken place in the hands of charismatic leaders.
The indigenous language , Guarani, is officially recognised and activelly spoken.
The capital city Asuncion is a charming colonial city at banks of the Paraguay river located on an inlet and unkown to many, it could be the starting point of an amazing trip into the Pantanal.
What is the Pantanal?
If you’re travelling to South America and want to see wildlife, you have to visit the Pantanal , a huge wilderness region of swamps and marshes – floodlands created by the seasonal overflow of the river Paraguai and its many tributaries. Though it extends into the border areas of Bolivia and Paraguay, the bulk of the area is in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.
The rivers rise in the rainy season, October to March, flooding the area which was once an inland sea called Xaraés by the first Europeans to come across it. In the dry season, April to late September, the land dries out, leaving only a few waterholes where a fantastic array of wildlife gather.
The Pantanal is wonderful year round, but is during the dry season that most birders, ecologists, and other wildlife fans come to see birds such as the hyacinth blue macaw, jabiru woodstork, toucans, rhea, river otters, iguanas, anacondass, cougars, tapirs, crocodiles called caimans, deer, anteaters, dourado, jau and piranha fish, howler monkeys, capybaras (large rodents) and jaguar.
From Paraguay it is possible to visit the Southern part of the Pantanal, this can be done by land or by riverboat. By land you cross the border at Pedro Juan Caballero into Ponta Poré and then drive to Campo Grande. One of the most exciting ways to arrive is on a river boat from Asunción to Corumbá. A great voyage that will alow you to discover a seldom visited area full of wildlife viewing opportunities.
Other attractions in Paraguay are the many remains of Jesuit Mission settlements in the south, the mighty Iguassu Falls and the worlds largest hydro dam- itaipu.