Many people who go to the southern Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul like to combine their trip with a few days in Bonito, a beautiful area to see waterfalls, caves and many other things, in the same state. It is an easy trip to combine. Ans this is actually one of the reasons why they choose the southern Pantanal over the northern Pantanal, which is in the state of Mato Grosso. But did you know you can find something similar to Bonito in Mato Grosso as well? Nobres is just as beautiful but has fewer tourists, and combines very well with a trip to the Pantanal.
What to do in Nobres?
The area of Nobres has many things to offer. There are beautiful caves and waterfalls to explore, and an activity that’s particularly popular is “flutuação”: basically you’re floating downstream in a crystal-water creek surrounded by forest, spotting fish and under water life as you go. It’s worth a try! While it’s not the most spectacular activity, I found it very peaceful and unique 🙂
My favourite activity, however, was the Lagoa das Araras – a lake where macaws gather around sunset. As a tropical bird lover, I just had to go there. It was amazing – I loved seeing so many of my favourite birds flying around!
While the area is fantastic, tourism and the activities themselves are not for the true adventurer. Tourism in Nobres is very focused on the Brazilian tourist, which means that (without being judgmental) there’s an overkill of safety procedures, you will often be in large loud groups, the tempo is slow and the main side activity of the actual activity is eating (many of these places offer lunch). All the activities are on private grounds so you’ll need to pay to get entrance, and you should do this in advance as they often fill up.
I would suggest renting a car from Cuiabá to give yourself some more freedom and explore areas on the road as well (although if you can’t, there are travel packages available from Cuiabá). Renting a car also gives you the option to go to Chapada das Guimarães on the way back. The roads to Nobres are fine, and you don’t need a special (4×4) car. The roads around Nobres are sand roads, and it is possible to get a flat tire, as I know from experience. Bring an extra one!
There are also plenty of places to stay. We stayed at Pousada Akaia, just outside the village. Although it was a little hard to find, it was a beautiful and very peaceful area to stay in. The pousada was simple but fine, and the owners were very friendly.
All in all I had a great time in Nobres.
It is a nice, (to foreigners) unknown area that makes a great addition to your Pantanal trip. Combine it also with Chapada das Guimarães, and you have a perfect roadtrip in Mato Grosso. For tips on deciding your destinations in Brazil, make sure to read my blog on the perfect itinerary for beginners.