Pantanal Escapes

Cuiabá

Cuiabá is the capital city of Mato Grosso state. Together with its sister city, Vázea Grande, on the other side of the Cuiabá river it's the prime metropolitan area of the state - with a combined population of approaching 1 million. If you're flying into the region then this will likely be your first stop. It provides a gateway to the northern Pantanal - plus the nearby Chapada dos Guimarães and other attractions. Cuiabá also has its own local culture and sights worth exploring.

Cuiabá is one of Brazil's hottest cities, literally, sometimes reaching 43 °C (110 °F). These high temperatures correspond with the wet season - also making it more humid. The city's name, Cuiabá, is believed to come from the Bororó indian word IKUIAPÁ - signifying "place of IKUIA". Ikuia is the name the Bororó used for their practice of fishing with a bow and arrow.

World Cup 2014


Cuiabá was one of 12 Brazilian cities chosen to host the 2014 World Cup, and a new stadium (the Arena Pantanal) was constructed for the purpose - taking over from the old verdão stadium constructed in the early 1970s. The stadium design aimed to ensure comfort in the city's high temperatures and, as befitting a stadium in a world renowned ecological area, demonstrate sustainability in its design and construction. Wood was obtained from certified sources, and the waste generated was reused wherever possible. The complex includes gardens in each of the four corners, and is set in a landscaped park.

It was one of several "at risk" stadiums highlighted by FIFA in the months preceding the event, but construction was completed in time - with the stadium successfully hosting four World Cup pool games. It has subsequently become the venue for local club games, although critics argue that it’s R$ 1 million ($320,000 USD) monthly maintenance bill makes it an expensive asset.

Pre-construction artist's impression of the Arena Pantanal stadium constructed in Cuiabá for the World Cup games. This is a multi-use stadium designed to serve the needs of the city for decades to come. Credit: GCP/Governo do Mato Grosso


Sadly, some other World Cup construction projects remain incomplete still a year after the event. The most significant example is the new light rail supposed to provide transport for spectators, and improve transport across the city. New trains were purchased, but laying of tracks has been delayed multiple times, and (as at June 2015) only one of the originally planned 32 stations has been built. The project is now targeted for completion in 2018. Although, the World Cup related infrastructure projects should eventually benefit Brazil, many Brazilians have been left wondering if it was worth it and if the money could have been better spent - given that the games and tourist benefit really only lasted a month. FIFA earned a massive USD 4.8 billion profit from the event whereas Brazilian taxpayers are set to continue paying for years.
tv_icon Video: Cuiabá prepares for World Cup 2014

History


Cuiabá was founded on 8 April 1719. This was the day that the Bandeirante Pascoal Moreira Cabral discovered gold in a local creek. A settlement was officially founded to secure the discovery for the Portuguese - in the midst of a territory which was then still part of the Spanish Empire. The influx of Portuguese settlers and development led to renegotiation of the borders - and of the Mato Grosso territory being incorporated into Portuguese Empire under the Treaty of Madrid in 1750. The town and region developed slowly due to its remoteness, and the difficult five month journey needed to get there. The initial journeys were tough overland treks, but later switched to seasonal river journeys (known as monções) since these were more practical for unseasoned travellers and the transport of goods. The gold which triggered the town's founding soon ran out, and the economy instead switched to cattle farming, sugar plantations, and the extraction of natural resources.

More significant growth began in 1835 when the Mato Grosso territory capital was shifted to Cuiabá from the even more remote town of Vila Bela. This triggered a new influx of administrators, and fostered the expansion of scheduled steamship services to the town from Rio de Janeiro via Buenos Aires and the Paraná/Paraguay/Cuiabá rivers. Further growth followed the Paraguayan War, when Brazil recognised the need to better develop and protect its far-flung outposts. Transport and communications services were improved, and the region now found itself supporting a large permanent military presence to guarantee it's security.

Even in the 20th century, Cuiabá remained remote. Through into the 1930s, the main route into Cuiabá was by train from the coast to Corumbá, then switching to a river steamer - covering the remaining journey along the Paraguay and Cuiabá rivers. This finally changed with the construction of improved roads, and the advent of air travel. Further development of the region was triggered with the relocation of the national capital to Brasília (constructed in the neighbouring state of Goiás) in 1960. These changes have now served to integrate the no longer remote city of Cuiabá into modern Brazil. The legacy of their long frontier isolation for Cuiabános is a spirit of independence and strong identity as being "matogrossense" ahead of Brazilian. Those with a good ear for Portuguese will detect a slight regional dialect and pronunciation infused with Spanish and indigenous terms. In more recent times, the region has seen an influx of newer immigrants from Spain, Italy, Japan and Germany so that (in addition to it its own traditions), Cuiabá is truly representative of the cultural melting pot that is Brazil.

Things to See and Do


Artíndia (FUNAI)
Rua Pedro Celestino, 301
Open: 8-11:30am / 1:30-5:30pm (Mon-Fri)
This shop, run by Brazil's indian agency, FUNAI, contains traditional craft works produced by various indian tribes from across Brazil. Watch out for works by regional tribes such as the Xavante, tribes from the Xingú Reserve in the Amazon area of northern Mato Grosso, and brightly-coloured ceramics from the Kadiwéu of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Palácio da Instrução
Rua Antônio Maria Coelho (Praça da República), 151
Open: 8am to 5pm (Mon-Fri)

This building, whose name translates as the Palace of Education, was constructed in 1914 as home to two educational institutions: the schools of Pedro Celestino and Barão de Melgaço, as well as a Museum of Natural History and Anthropology. However, in 1975 the building was repurposed to house the State's cultural secretariat and public library library - with mandate of preserving the State's cultural traditions and heritage. The library has a collection of 35,000 books divided into different rooms based on theme, as well as exhibition and workspaces open to the public. The small museum contains stuffed animals, fossils, archaeological pieces, and historical items.

The old State Treasury building (Tesouro do Estado) now housing the Museo Histórico de Mato Grosso. Credit: Mateus Hidalgo


Museu Histórico de Mato Grosso

Praça da República, 131
Open: 8am to 8pm (Tue-Fri); 8am-3pm (Sat)

Originally located in the Palácio da Instrução, but moved in the the old State Treasury building down the road, this museum contains works associated with the pioneer, Marshal Cândido Rondon, the Paraguayan War, slavery, and a variety of other items related to the early history of Cuiabá and the Mato Grosso territory.
computer_icon_black Museu de Histórico de Mato Grosso

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho
Praça do Seminário, 239
Located on the site of an older 18th-century cathedral, the current cathedral was constructed in 1918 and was inspired by the gothic style of the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
computer_icon_black www.arquidiocesecuiaba.org.br

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Bom Despacho in Cuiabá. Credit: Mateus Hidalgo


Metropolitan Cathedral of Cuiabá
Praça da República
Also known as the Catedral Metropolitana Basílica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Cuiabá, this is the city's biggest cathedral. The original building was constructed in 1722 with a thatched roof and walls of wattle and daub and thatched roofs. It was succeeded by a series of other buildings. The current cathedral dates from 1968, and of sufficient size to cater for the growing city. Although it has a somewhat drab concrete exterior, the colourful interior and stained glass makes a visit worth the effort.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Cuiabá, also known as the Catedral Metropolitana Basílica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Cuiabá. Below: Interior view of the same cathedral.
Credits: Mateus Hidalgo


Museu de Artesanato (Art Museum)
Rua 13 de Junho, 315
Open: 8.30am to 5pm (Mon-Fri); 8.30am-1pm (Sat/Sun)
Originally opened as a school in 1910, the building reopened as the city's Casa do Artesão (craft house) in 1975, and then as a museum. It exhibits a wide range of crafts pieces produced by locals as well as indigenous communities - including works in wood, leather, textiles and ceramics.

Mercado de Peixe, Aquário Municipal, and Museum
Avenida Beira-Rio, Porto.
Open: 6am-6pm (Mon-Sat); 6am-12pm (Sun)

Built in the late 19th century on the banks of Rio Cuiaba, this was formerly the town's primary marketplace. However, as the importance of the river trade declined in the 1920s and 30s, it became a fishmarket. The location was restored in the 1990s, with the addition of a small museum, aquarium and modernisation - although some further work is now needed. Still, its a great spot to soak up the atmosphere and learn about the history of the old city and river port.
computer_icon_black www.mercadodoportocuiaba.com.br

Igreja de São Gonçalo
Praça da Bandeira, 507
Construction of this church began in 1782, and has undergone several reforms. Among the religious images and statues stored in this church are those from the old Fort Coimbra and Corumbá, collected and transferred to safety ahead of invading troops who sacked the province in 1864 during the Paraguayan War.

Museu de Pedras Ramis Bucair
Rua Galdino Pimentel, 195
Open: 8.30am-5.30pm (Mon-Fri)

Opened in 1959, this is a small private museum in the central city featuring a collection compiled by the late geologist, Ramis Bucair. The museum provides visitors with insights into the rich geological history of the region, with around 4,000 exhibits. These include the fossilised femur of a tyrannosaurus, and neolithic stone axes found in nearby Chapada dos Guimarães.

Cuiabá's oldest church, dating from the first founding of the city, Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e Capela de São Benedito. Credit: Shutterstock/Roberto Tetsuo Okamura


Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e Capela de São Benedito
Praça do Rosário
Open: 8am-12pm / 2-6pm (Mon-Fri); 8am-12pm (Sat)
Built by slaves in 1722, this is the oldest surviving church in Cuiabá, dating from the founding of the town. Constructed in the Baroque Rococo style, the church's simple exterior hides an ornate gilded interior. The churn sits atop a small hill - at the base of which was once located the largest goldmine in the region. The inside of the church is divided into several levels - lower entry level was occupied by slaves and commoners, whereas the slightly raised area near the front was for nobles and other higher classes. The inside walls are painted white and unadorned - giving emphasis to the richly decorated alter and saints.

Interior images showing the gilded alter and saints within the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Cuiabá, Brazil. Credits: Mateus Hidalgo


SESC Arsenal
Rua 13 de Junho, Centro
The SESC Arsenal building was built as the result of a royal decree by João VI of Portugal in 1818 (at which time the royal court was based in Rio de Janeiro, since the royal family had fled Portugual ahead of Napoleon a decade earlier). The intention was to establish an armaments factory and arsenal in the Mato Grosso territory, helping safeguard the region from the newly independent Spanish-American powers on Brazil's frontiers. Construction began in 1819 with several subsequent enlargements and renovations. The exterior was built in the neo-classical style - framing a large interior courtyard area. The building was re-purposed over the years, and is now the Cuiabá headquarters for SESC. This is a non-profit private institution originally established in 1946 by the Brazilian government in partnership with trade unions and business leaders - aiming to provide culture, health programs and quality of life for workers and their families. As such, the SESC Arsenal is now a venue for cultural programs and performances. It also has a restaurant/bar and cinema.
computer_icon_black www.sescmatogrosso.com.br

Images showing the exterior and interior of the SESC Arsenal in Cuiabá. The building was originally constructed in 1819, and now serves as a major cultural venue. Credits: Mateus Hidalgo


Museu do Morro da Caixa d'Agua
Rua Comandante Costa, Centro
Open: 8am-12pm / 1-5pm (Mon-Fri)
This must be Cuiabá's quirkiest attraction, but its fascinating in its own way. The museum is set in old subterranean galleries inaugurated in 1882 as the city's water storage facility, when the city's population numbered around 20 thousand. The galleries had a capacity of 4.5 million litres, using a steam engine to capture water from the Cuiabá river. The tank's location on a hill then meant it would use gravity to flow down into supply stations in the city, where the water was then loaded into drums, distributed in carts, and carried into homes on the heads or shoulders of manual labourers. However, the facility was closed in 1940 as population growth forced the search for more modern alternatives. The old stone galleries were then use for other purposes - including as a practice area for a local samba school, and as a radio station. These have now been restored and opened up to the public with exhibitions showing what life used to be like, and displaying the ancient methods used to construct the washed sand and limestone walls.

Museu Rondon / Zoológico UFMT
Avenida Fernando Correia da Costa
Open: 7.30-11.30am / 1.30-5.30pm (Tue-Sat); 9am-5.30pm (Sun); 1.30-5.30pm (Mon)

Located 10 minutes away from the city centre by bus (103 Jd Universitário), on the grounds of the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), this small museum contains a variety of Indian artefacts from such as ceramics, colourful featherwork headdresses, bows, arrows, and clubs. There's also a small zoo nearby with animals typical of the Pantanal region including monkeys, tapir, coati, peccaries, jacaré, capybara and birds.

Complexo de Águas Quentes


Located at km 87 on BR-364 in the Serra de São Vincente, east of Cuiabá. This is a hotel built around a complex of five thermal pools, having a temperature around 40°C. The pools' thermal waters are reputed to help soothe rheumatism, lower blood pressure and fight infections. The complex also includes several cold water pools and waterslides. Aside from overnight guests, visits are also popular option with day-trippers from Cuiabá. For this, the hotel charges a fixed price including lunch.
computer_icon_black hotelmt.com.br

Local Culture


Cuiabá has an active cultural scene, with local history and local culture being given pride of place.

Siriri and Cururu


These are two regional dances, blending Portuguese, African, and indigenous cultures, and are typical of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. The accompanying music is played on a small guitar-like instrument called a viola de cocho, and cylindrical rattle instrument called a ganzá - with the dancers often wearing costumes, such as long gracefully-flowing skirts and dresses, which embody the spirit of the region's rural colonial past.

Dancers from the Siriri performance group, Grupo Flor Ribeirinha, demonstrate their colourful costumes and graceful flowing skirts. Credit: Divulgação

Musicians from Grupo Flor Riberinha with the guitar-like viola de cocho. Credit: Marcos Vergueiro/Secom-MT


Siriri is a lively and playful dance involving the interaction between a male and female group. The body language and choreography is intended to respect and devotion to friendship, and for this reason is sometimes known as the dança mensagem (dancing message). By contrast, cururu is generally performed by men. They form a circle whereby participants challenge one another with music, stories and verse and dance. Although there are local performances and festivals throughout the year, the two best times to see this spectacle are during the São Benedito festivities (June) and the annual festival of Cururu and Sirirí (September).
tv_icon Video: Siriri festival promotion
tv_icon Video: Siriri dance performance

Música Sertaneja


This is Brazil's version of country music - originating in Brazil's rural heartland and gradually reinventing itself to the point that it now dominates the airwaves of Brazilian radio and television - with several artists also going on to achieve success in Europe and on the Latin charts in the US. Although modern música sertaneja has infused itself elements from Pop and North American country music, it still retains much of its original character, particularly with reliance on instruments such as the accordion and the ten-string Viola Caipira guitar. There are several clubs in Cuiabá and its well worth checking out performances by local and national artists.
tv_icon Video: No Ponteio da Viola (local musician, Bruna Viola)

Map showing the location of Cuiabá in relation to other nearby towns. For a full map see the Pantanal Maps page.


Chapada dos Guimarães


The scenery of Chapada dos Guimarães is reminiscent of Utah - with dry landscapes and dramatic rock formations. Some of these could easily be mistaken for the ruins of lost ancient cities - which may have helped give rise to the theories of explorer Colonel Fawcett who visited the region in the early 20th century. The area was declared a National Park in 1989, and has proven a popular destination for Cuiabanos and tourists alike. There are caves, natural springs, and waterfalls such as the Véu de Noiva (Bridal Veil). The nearby town (Chapada dos Guimarães) has lodges and backpacker accommodation, as well as guides and adventure tour operators. Using guides is definitely recommended to ensure you go with someone who knows the way, and to make the most of your experience. Further adventures such as whitewater rafting are available if you head northwards to the town of Nobres.

Morro de São Gerônimo (São Gerônimo hill) in Chapada dos Guimarães national park. Credit: Marcos Vergueiro/Secom-MT


Várzea Grande


This will be your first port of call if arriving by air, since this is the location of Marechal Rondon international airport. Várzea Grande is located just a few minutes from Cuiabá on the opposite side of the river. Administratively it remains a separate town, but the construction of bridges and closer integration mean that both towns have grown together. The town is expanding rapidly and has become a local hub for shopping centres, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It also has a fluvial beach, Praia Grande, which has become is a popular regional leisure spot.

Santo Antônio do Leverger


Located 27km from Cuiabá, this is a small rural town famous for it's folklore carnaval each year, which features with parades in folk costumes and football games played by men dressed in skirts. This is followed several weeks later by the semana santa (holy week preceding Easter), by a religious procession climbing the Morro de Santo Antonio, with penitents seeking forgiveness for their carnaval excesses. This is later accompanied by traditional folk performances with siriri, cururu, São Gonçalo and Boi-à-Serra. Other festivities occur in May and June. During the São Benedito celebrations, locals decorate the streets with flags and musical procession visit houses to offer their blessings. A feast in honour of St John the Baptist occurs on June 24, noted for its performance of Cururu musicians battling each other with musical verses. In the morning, an image of the saint is taken from the church altar, down to the river, where it is accompanied by a musical procession in a ceremony known as the "washing of the saint".

Ruins of the old Itaicy sugar mill on the banks of the Cuiabá river, downstream from Santo Antônio do Leverger. Credit: Marcos Bergamasco/Secom-MT


During the last days of the Brazilian Empire, in the late 19th century, Santo Antônio do Leverger was a centre for sugar production - and the remains of several old sugar mills (Itaicy, Tamandaré and Flechas) can still be seen today along the banks of the Cuiabá river nearby. Some of these are surrounded by Royal Palm trees, which were symbolic of imperial sponsorship of the time.

Adolf Hitler's Secret Retirement Spot
Another small town near Cuiabá, Nossa Senhora do Livramento, hit world headlines in early 2014 as the supposed retirement spot of Adolf Hitler in a not-too-reliable story suggesting that he'd been living here until 1984 with his Afro-Brazilian lover, and searching for a secret Jesuit buried treasure.

Cuiabá cityscape, with the Metropolitan Catedral in the foreground. Credit: Shutterstock/Roberto Tetsuo Okamura

Vendor in the streets of Cuiabá, selling Pequi, a popular fruit native to the Brazilian cerrado. Photo: Mateus Hidalgo


computer_icon_black Cuiabá Events Guide
computer_icon_black Cultura de Cuiabá (portuguese)

Places to Eat


Visitors are spoilt for choice for places to eat. You'll find typical Brazilian restaurants (Churrascaria, fish, feijoada, mouqueca, comitivas etc), Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern or pretty much whatever else suits your tastes. If all else fails (or you just don't want to experiment) then the city also has all the other usual fast-food chain stores.

Name
Description

Mahalo
Rua Presidente Castelo Branco, 359
www.mahalocozinhacriativa.com.br

This has a reputation for the having the best food in Cuiabá. Menu mixes Pantaneiro favourites along with contemporary international dishes. Great food and great service.
Mon-Sat: 11:30am-2:30pm / 7:30pm-midnight
See TripAdvisor review.

Boi Grill
Avenida Miguel Sutil, 6741
www.boigrill.com.br

One of the best churrascarias (barbecue) in the city, with good range of salads and other options.
Mon-Thu: 11am-2:30pm / 7-10:30pm
Fri-Sun: 11am-3pm / 7-11pm
See TripAdvisor review.

Getúlio
Avenida Getulio Vargas, 1147
www.getuliogrill.com.br

Upmarket bar and restaurant, with live music and dancing. Varied menu featuring barbecue, fish, tapas and cerbiche.
Tue-Thu: 11am-3:30pm / 6pm-3am
Fri-Sun: 11am-4am
Mon: Closed
See TripAdvisor review.

Lelis Peixaria
Rua Marechal Mascarenhas Moraes, 36
www.lelispeixaria.com.br

One of the best places to experience regional cuisine - with an obvious focus on fish, including: pacu, piraputanga, dourado, pintado and even jacaré. A popular choice with tourists and locals alike.
Mon-Fri: 11:30am-3pm / 6:30-11pm
Sat-Sun: 11:30am-3pm
See TripAdvisor review.

Peixaria Popular
Avenida São Sebastião, 2324
Facebook page

Not as flash, but this is another popular choice for fish and other regional cuisine.
Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm / 7pm-midnight
Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm
See TripAdvisor review.

Choppão
Praça 8 de Abril
www.choppao.com.br

This large bar is almost an institution in Cuiabá. It's nothing high-brow, just great bar food washed down with ice-cold beer and caipirinhas - offering the perfect solution for beating the heat on those warm tropical evenings.
Mon-Sun: 10am till late.
See TripAdvisor review.

Confrade
Avenida Mato Grosso, 1000
www.confrade.com.br

Popular restaurant and bar within a microbrewery. Offers live music with a varied menu and a range of beers.
Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm / 5pm-2am
Sat: 11am-2am
Sun: 11am-3pm
See TripAdvisor review.

Pizza na Pedra
Praça Eurico Gaspar Dutra, 45
www.pizzanapedracuiaba.com.br

Good (sometimes great) pizza in the heart of Cuiabá's most popular evening spots.
Tue-Sun: 6pm-midnight
Mon: Closed
See TripAdvisor review.

Mistura Cuiabana
Pedro Celestino, 8

Lunches only. Not fancy but great local cuisine - and great value if you're on more of a budget.
Mon-Fri: 11am-2:30pm
See TripAdvisor review.


Bars and Nightclubs


Cuiabá has an active nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. A small selection is listed below:

Name
Description

Valley Pub
Avenida Isaac Povoas, 1157
www.valley.com.br

Part of a small chain of pubs - with focus of Música Sertaneja (Brazilian country music). Live music and great atmosphere.
Tue-Sun: 7:30pm till late
See TripAdvisor review.

Villas Country Bar
Avenida Carmindo de Campos, 1003
Facebook page

Similar to Valley Pub above, but run by a separate São Paulo-based chain.
Tue: 6pm-12am
Wed: 6pm-1:30am
Thu: 6pm-2am
Fri-Sun: 6pm-3:30am
No reviews available.

Tom Choppin
Rua Das Laranjeiras 701
www.tomchoppin.com.br

Open air bar on a hill offering great views of the city. Great atmosphere with live MPB (Brazilian Popular Music).
Mon-Sat: 6pm-3am
See TripAdvisor review.

Bar do Jarbas
Rua Alirio de Figueiredo, 190
Facebook page

Liveluy venue with ice-cold beer, good food and live MPB music.
Mon-Sun: 6pm-11pm
See TripAdvisor review.

Ditado Popular
Praca Popular
Facebook page

Great location in the heart of the city, close to hotels. Live music, rodizio menu, and live MPB music.
Mon-Sun: 4pm-4am
See TripAdvisor review.


Place to Stay


As a major city, there's also a large selection of hotels and inns. These include many international chains. Its useful to check prices on Booking.com or Trivago.com (or any of the many other similar sites) to try getting a discount deal. TripAdvisor.com has the benefit of reviews.

Name
Description

Hostel Ecoverde
Rua Celestino, 391
www.ecoverdetours.com.br

Popular pousada and hostel based in an old colonial house run by Joel Souza of Ecoverde Tours (who also run trips along the Transpantaneira). Good mentions in Lonely Planet and other good reviews.
See TripAdvisor review.

Intercity Premium
Rua Presidente Arthur Bernadez, 64
www.intercityhoteis.com.br

Good hotel option centrally located close to bars and restaurants (although the noise can carry). Clean, comfortable and reliable.
See TripAdvisor review.

Holiday Inn Express
Avenida Miguel Sutil 2050
www.holidayinnexpress.com

New hotel from a well-known international chain.Clean, modern, with professional service. Popular as a stopover before and after Pantanal tours.
See TripAdvisor review.

Gran Odara Hotel
Avenida Miguel Sutil, 8344
en.hotelgranodara.com.br

New(ish) hotel close to the Parque Mãe Bonifacia gardens - but further away from the city centre. Positive reviews.
See TripAdvisor review.

Hotel Deville
Avenida Isaac Povoas, 1000
www.deville.com.br

Comfortable and well-reviewed hotel mid-way between the town centre and Parque Mãe Bonifacia, close to restaurants. Generally considered one of the best hotel stays in the city.
See TripAdvisor review.

Golden Tulip Pantanal
Avenida Fernando Corre a Costa, 93
www.goldentulippantanal.com

Fairly standard hotel. Clean, reasonably modern, and located about 1km from the town centre. Generally positive, although some mixed, reviews. Not many eating options nearby but just a short taxi ride away (although the hotel also has its own restaurant).
See TripAdvisor review.

Skala Palace
Avenida Jules Rimet, 26
hotelskala.com.br

Recently refurbished and restyled, this is probably the best of the budget options in the city. Located conveniently close to the intercity bus station.
See TripAdvisor review.

Amazon Plaza
Avenida Getúlio Vargas, 600
www.hotelamazon.com.br

Quite an old hotel, and somewhat overpriced for what it is, and little English spoken Otherwise, generally good service and location. Jungle-themed.
See TripAdvisor review.

Hotel Mato Grosso
Rua Comandante Costa, 643
www.hotelmt.com.br

A mid-range/budget option. The hotel's a little dated - but this is balanced by an attentive and helpful staff.
See TripAdvisor review.

Mato Grosso Palace Hotel
Rua Joaquim Murtinho 170
www.hotelmt.com.br

This is another older hotel showing its age - but with a good location near the town centre.
See TripAdvisor review.

Getullio Hotel by Nobile
Avenida Getulio Vargas, 262
www.nobilehoteis.com.br/

Quite a reasonable hotel located close to the town centre and eateries. Not overly flash - but good service.
See TripAdvisor review.

HI Portal do Pantanal
Avenida Isaac Póvoas, 655
www.portaldopantanal.com.br

Hostel accommodation close to the town centre. Old building and fairly basic, but a good option for those on a tight budget.
See TripAdvisor review.

Pantanal Backpacker Hostel
Av. Marechal Deodoro, 2301
www.pantanalbackpacker.com/

Another backpacker hostel. Has links with regional tour operators, so they can assist with bookings to nearby locations such as Chapada dos Guimarães, Nobres and Jaciara for trekking and whitewater adventures.
See TripAdvisor review.


Getting There


By Air: This is the easiest way of reaching Cuiabá from other Brazilian cities. The taxi ride from Marechal Rondon airport into the city is around $20 ($R40).

By Car: The main highways leading out of Cuiabá are as follow:
  • Cáceres: Travel west along BR-070 (215km)
  • Poconé: Head out of Cuiabá on BR-070, then turn onto MT-060 travelling via the town of Nossa Señora do Livramiento towards Poconé. The distance is around 110km.
  • Chapada dos Guimarães: Travel northeast along MT-251 (64km).
  • Nobres: Head north on BR-163/BR-364 via Rosário Oeste (125km).
  • Rondonópolis: Head eastwards on BR-163/BR-364, which arcs southwards towards Rondonópolis (215km).
  • Campo Grande: Take the same route along BR-163/BR-364, via Rondonópolis (712km)
By Bus: Buses travel frequently to Cuiabá from other Brazilian cities and regional centres. There are air-conditioned executivo buses with departures and arrivals several times each day to/from:
     64 km
   110 km
   125 km
   215 km
   215 km
   712 km
1,070 km
   910 km
1,465 km
1,928 km
1,540 km
  1 hr
  3 hrs
  5 hrs
  4 hrs
  5 hrs
12 hrs
16 hrs
13 hrs
26 hrs
36 hrs
29 hrs
For more timetables and bookings see:
computer_icon_black www.buscaonibus.com.br or
computer_icon_black www.embarou.com

Stacks Image 1986
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Stacks Image 1982
Toyota Bandeirante jeep in the Pantanal
Amazon kingfisher in the Pantanal
Sunrise in the Pantanal
Stacks Image 1984
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Banner image: Flor Ribeirinha dancers performing Siriri (Mayke Toscano/Secom-MT)
Footer images:
Andrew Mercer

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