The Transpantaneira dirt road, lined with fazendas, is the gateway to the Northern Pantanal. The lakes and rivers in the northern half of Brazil's immense Pantanal wetlands are home to a huge array of wildlife, from bats and birds, to caimans and capybaras - the world's largest rodent.
Birds are especially prolific here. Jabiru storks, egrets and herons can often be seen from the road or the grounds of fazenda lodges. Staying at one of these cowboy ranches is a great way to experience the Northern Pantanal, with the possibility of joining guided hikes and jeep safaris, and horse riding among the waterways.
Cuibá, the state capital of Mato Grosso and the warmest city in Brazil, is the starting point for many Northern Pantanal tours. In the far north of the state much of the Pantanal and the Amazon rainforest that it fringes have been cleared for extensive soya plantations, and this is a continuing threat to these vitally-important ecosystems.