Pantanal Escapes


Although overshadowed by Bonito (69km away), Jardim is another paradise for adventure tourism. Although it lacks Bonito's infrastructure, spending a night within the town is a good option if passing through from Campo Grande and you want an early start visiting the local sights.
Much like Bonito, Jardim is an idyllic sanctuary from the heat and humidity of the Pantanal. The higher altitude brings a cooler a climate and respite from the mosquitoes. Limestone and dissolved minerals in the local waters ensure inviting crystal clear streams and lagoons which are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Even the name, Jardim (Garden), is an allusion to the Eden that the locale must have seemed to its earliest settlers.

History - The Retreat from Laguna

The township of Jardim grew around the homestead of the pioneer José Francisco Lopes. Lopes was born in 1811, in the state of Minas Gerais. After what a contemporary biographer described as "act of violence", Lopes was forced to leave - travelling with his father and two brothers to the frontier territory of Mato Grosso. Here, he discovered a passion for the frontier life - eventually exploring the region alongside General Augusto Leverger (Baron of Melgaço), and contributing to the mapping of the area. Through his time in the wilderness, all the necessary skills and attitudes for survival. He was self-sufficient, hard working, modest, and rarely touched alcohol. He learned to live off the land - carrying a small bag of cassava flour on the back of his horse and an ax for cutting down palm trees (palm hearts or palmitos being a traditional food in the region). Now in his 50s, he was an experienced tracker and frontiersman who, according to the Viscount de Taunay, was an embodiment of the older Hawkeye character in James Fenimore Cooper's Prairie (a sequel to the Last of the Mohicans).

Lopes spent seven years living on the other side of the Apa river, then in Paraguayan territory. His brother, João Gabriel, had settled a farm there - but, in 1848, was murdered by a slave. As was common at the time (when there no form of social assistance) Lopes married his brother's widow - taking responsibility for her and her young family. They continued for a while in Paraguay but, with increasing tensions, he eventually brought his wife and family back to perceived safety of Brazilian territory. Here he settled a property on the banks of the Miranda river which he'd called Jardim. This name seems apt because the land with its cattle grazing and crystal clearwater streams no doubt seemed like the Garden of Eden. However, in December 1864, the Paraguayans invaded the Mato Grosso territory. By January 1865, they reached Jardim - and although Lopes escaped, his wife and four children were taken hostage and hauled away beyond reach to the Paraguayan village of Horcheta, near Concepción. Lopes anguished over the fate of his family given the Paraguayans' brutal treatment of prisoners during the invasion - and especially their treatment of women.

The remoteness of the Mato Grosso territory, and the Brazilian government's total unpreparedness for the conflict meant that it took an extraordinarily long time for any meaningful Brazilian defence to arrive on the scene. A column of almost 3,000 volunteers (and slaves) set out from Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais in April 1865. They spent eight months trekking overland to reach Coxim, on the edge of the Pantanal - arriving in December, almost a year after the initial invasion. Fortunately for the Brazilians, the Paraguayan offensive in Mato Grosso had already reached a stalemate. Although Paraguay still occupied the towns taken in its initial offensive they were were unable to progress further towards the territory's capital at Cuiabá due to the difficulty of traversing the Pantanal wetlands, the shallower draft of the northern rivers not supporting larger vessels, and the Brazilians' more adequate northern defences. The Paraguayan leader, Francisco Solano López, had set out to punish Brazil for its colonisation of territory that he considered part of Paraguay - but his real ambition was further south. His aim was to become emperor of the River Plate (Rio de la Plata), and to take control of the waterways that connected landlocked Paraguay to the ocean. Having successfully distracted the Brazilians with his Mato Grosso campaign, he soon dispatched the bulk of his forces to cross into southern Brazil and Uruguay via the argentine province of Corrientes. A small Paraguayan force was left in Mato Grosso but the remainder of that conflict was primarily a series of skirmishes between tiny groups of Brazilian defenders and the Paraguayan garrisons left in strategic centres. The horse-mounted Guaicurú and other indigenous tribes may arguably have have had a greater role holding off the Paraguayan advance than the Brazilian military. The Guaicurú had a long history of animosity against the Paraguayans and former-Spanish Empire. During the conflict they took in, protected and fed Brazilian refugees, and fought alongside the few Brazilian military units remaining.

The Brazilian expeditionary column marching towards Mato Grossi suffered disasters almost from its outset. A smallpox epidemic and desertions has slowed the progress of its long march to Coxim - with its original leader being dismissed by Emperor Dom Pedro II. Then, after its arrival in Coxim in December 1865, it soon found itself surrounded by floodwaters and on the verge of starvation. A large military column was wholly unsuitable for the terrain and climate of the Pantanal - especially when swollen with non-military personnel such as the soldiers' wives and merchants. It was slow to move, had many mouths to feed, and had no ready access to supplies. It also had no horses since a disease known locally as mal das cadeiras (transmitted by horse flies and vampire bats) had laid waste to the column's cavalry and wagon horses, as well as other horses across the province. The wet season then delayed the next phase of the journey - the 400km from Coxim to Miranda. Even when the flood waters receded, the wetland terrain, mosquitos, disease, and lack of supplies still proved deadly . By their arrival in Miranda in September 1866, the column had lost almost a third of its people through diseases such as cholera, beriberi, and desertion. These fatalities included the column commander, Colonel José Antonio da Fonseca Galvão.

On 1 January 1867, command of the column was taken over by Colonel Carlos de Morais Camisão. It was now over two years since the Paraguayan invasion and while there was still a stalemate in Mato Grosso, the war on the southern front (fought in a traditional fashion, with large armies and naval forces) had begun to go badly for Paraguay. Camisão had been a senior officer based in Corumbá during the invasion and had fled the town under orders from his commander (name)

computer_icon_black The Retreat from Laguna (translated)

For all these reasons Colonel Camisão found in him a passionate adept. As soon as he made his plans known to him, he had opened a chance for JF Lopès to go, as a guide for the expedition, to reunite with his family and avenge his insults. The Brazilian sertanéjo accepted with ardor and also with a perfect feeling of propriety. So, never forgetting the modesty of the position he had made for himself, he often said: "I know nothing, I am a peasant; you who have studied in books, you must know everything. "

His pride was confined to one point: the knowledge of the field, legitimate ambition after all, because it was our salvation. "I defy," he cried, "all the engineers with their needles (compasses) and their plans. In the plains of Pedra de Cal and Margarida I am king. The wild Cadiuéos alone and I know all that. "

José Francisco Lopes, Guia Lopes (São Roque de Minas, February 26, 1811) and his brother were the first to clear the region in the south of Mato Grosso to the border with Paraguay. In 1846 Gabriel Lopes acquired a cattle ranch on the banks of the Apa river.

/s linked to the Paraguayan War, and the Retreat from Laguna. This was a military expedition which some historians liken to a tropical version of the Napoleon's retreat from Moscow (albeit on a much smaller scale). It relates to a column of 2,870 volunteers who set out from Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais in April 1865 in response to the Paraguayan invasion of Brazil's Mato Grosso territory - and which trekked overland for eight months before reaching the town of Coxim on the edge of the Pantanal. Here they established a base to recover their strength, and group with other columns, before advancing on towards the Paraguayans' fortified positions in Miranda, Corumbá and Porto Canuto (Aquidauana).

After a Battle of the Nhandipá, Carlos de Morais Camisão ordered a withdrawal of the troops, later known as The retreat of the Lagoon.

Located 69km from Jardim

At the city gate, there is a tourist information with data on routes, prices and accredited agencies. The city is still not as well known as Bonito, is ideal therefore for those who prefer less agitation. In addition, some attractions in the region have recently begun to be explored and are still trying to set up a visitation structure.

In Jardim, it is possible practicing the surface diving in places like River Plate, where the transparency of its waters allows the observation of aquatic vegetation and fish. The inn and farms are made with musical performances violates wheels, accompanied by tereré, typical local drink.


Monumento Histórico dos Heróis da Retirada da Laguna
A 3 km from Jardim on the banks of the Rio Miranda
In the Cemetery of Heroes are buried dozens of fighters, officials and the conductor of the troops José Francisco Lopes, the Guia Lopes, victimized by cholera during the Paraguayan War, a few days of arrival in Nioaque.


Buraco das Araras
Fazenda Alegria, 31 km from the Jardim BR-267, towards Porto Murtinho. Time: from 8 to 17 h
Abrupt depression of circular shape, also called Dolina, 500 m in circumference and 126 of depth to the surface of a lake. It was discovered in 1912 by the first habitants of the region and according to testimonies, served for disposal of objects and indesejáeis people to the society of the time. The das Araras Hole name came up because of the large number of red macaws that lived there. The disturbance caused by visitors made their presence diminished. The sinkhole is surrounded by trails that go through a typical cerrado vegetation, and lead to the point where a rappel descent is made to meet inside. Admission: R $ 4.

It is claimed to be the largest sinkhole in Latin America (although that may be Sima Humboldt in Venezuela, which is only 352m wide but is much deeper)

The reserve is in the municipality of Jardim, Mato Grosso do Sul and contains a huge sinkhole 500 metres (1,600 ft) in circumference and 100 metres (330 ft) deep.[1][2] The hole would have been known to the original inhabitants of the area. It was rediscovered in 1912 by a local worker, and named the Buraco das Araras (Macaw Hole) after the many macaws flying around it.[2] According to local legend the hole was used over the years as a place to dispose of cattle thieves and others whom the local ranchers or politicians wanted to eliminate. The sinkhole was vandalized, with the walls and macaws used as targets for guns, and rubbish thrown into the hole including stolen cars

There is a vivid green lagoon at the bottom of the sinkhole surrounded by thriving vegetation. The hole is occupied by caimans, armadillos, anteaters, coatis, foxes, the macaws for which it is named, ibises, toucans and many other species of birds.[2] The owner manages the reserve and is responsible for compliance with the legal requirements for a private natural heritage reserve.[1] Visitors are accompanied in groups of no more than ten people by a tour guide or local environmental monitor on a walk around the sinkhole.

tv_icon Buraco das Araras

Recanto Ecológico Rio da Prata
Recanto Ecológico, 40 km from the Jardim BR-267.
From 8 to 15 h, with residence until 18 h

A trail through the riparian forest of the River Plate, which are seen orchids, bromeliads, toucans and monkeys, 50 minutes long, takes visitors to the source of the River Eye D'water, an aquarium crystal clear waters, dive starting point . The lazy river helps people in the practice of scuba diving, facilitates the observation of resurgencias, which are groundwater welling up from the river sand bottom, and fish as piraputangas, dorado and pintado. The bottom of the river should not be touched, not to muddy the water.

The diving equipment is supplied by agencies. The average length of the ride (R $ 40) is four hours.

tv_icon Recanto Ecológico Promo Video

Lagoa Misteriosa
Fazenda Santa Maria, 40 km from the Jardim BR-267, towards Porto Murtinho, coming right at km 30 and following for another 7 km.
It is located at the bottom of a limestone depression about 80 m deep and 40 m in diameter, with two gaps: one with 60 m depth with other not yet defined where merguladores reached 220 me not sighted the background. Its water is clear due to the presence of sodium bicarbonate, with temperature ranging from 25 to 27 ° C. You can observer the vegetation of the pond margins to 20 meters deep. The "mysterious" name is linked to the strange sounds that people hear in February near the pond, like aircraft and indigenous drums turbines. The tour includes visiting caves with basements of more than 30 m in length, as the Curé Cave, as well as observation of the River Plate springs, walking trails which are seen peccaries, pacas and deer.
tv_icon Lagoa Misteriosa Promo Video

Buraco das Abelhas e Grutas da Figueira
Fazenda Figueira, 70 km from the Garden BR-267
They are held in visits calcareous caves, like the Sapo, Jucá and the Buraco das Abelhas. Horse riding show the daily work with cattle, and allow to know the animals of the region as deer, emus and pacas.

Sanctuário da Prata
Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida, 23 km Jardim, the BR-267, towards Porto Murtinho.
From 8 to 17 h
A 2.5 km trail through the riparian forest of the River Plate takes you to the starting point of free diving for observation of aquatic life. An inflatable boat is available for people who prefer shipped down the river. After the tour is prepared a typical lunch (US $ 7). The activities last for one full day, recommended the arrival of visitors at 8 o'clock in the morning. Horseback tours are conducted to observe the fauna and flora. You have place for camping and bathing. Admission: R $ 10.

Fazenda Pousada Jatobá
There are 15 km, access by the BR-267, towards Porto Murtinho.
This hostel offers nine rooms with bathroom, air conditioning and minibar. The daily is $ 70 per person including all meals. The tours are conducted in groups of five, allowing the contemplation of the local fauna and flora and observation of farm daily, in activities such as dealing with cattle and milking cows. It has ponds for kayaking and fishing, swimming pools and sports fields. Prepare meals typical also for visitors.

Balneário Municipal do Rio da Prata
A 32 km from the Jardim BR-267, towards Porto Murtinho. From 8 to 17 h
It has an area for water sports, three snack bars, grills, places for diving and rides on tracks with watching animals like capybaras, agoutis and tapir. Fishing is prohibited.

Fazenda Santa Maria
A 40 km from Jardim on the road to Porto Murtinho
A rappel descent takes visitors to the Cave of the Curé, which has dozens of speleothems. Hiking trails are held in the gallery forest of the Plata river with observation peccaries, monkeys, birds and alligators.
History (Jardim)
The brothers Gabriel and Jose Francisco Lopes were responsible for clearing the south of the state to the border with Paraguay. In 1846, Gabriel Lopes has created a livestock farm on the banks of the Rio Apa. On May 8, 1867, during the War of Paraguay, José Lopes was chosen to lead a troop of 1,500 men, Colonel Carlos Camisão. Began their march in Bela Vista, toward Nioaque in Mato Grosso do Sul, route done in 35 days under heavy Paraguayan persecution, hunger and disease. Still, the guide José Lopes drove safely the troop for 52 km, until May 27, 1867, when he died of cholera a few days of crossing the Rio Miranda, last obstacle before the final destination. In his honor, the municipality where he was buried was named Guia Lopes da Laguna, where the Historical Monument of Laguna Withdrawal of Heroes was built. The fertile fields and a good supply of water favored the establishment of farms dedicated to cattle breeding, which contributed to the settlement of the lands of the current municipality, founded on 14 May 1946. The Garden District was created two years later, on 13 september 1948, with its incorporation into the municipality of Bela Vista. His political and administrative emancipation took place on December 11, 1953.
Places to Stay

Estância Hotel

Av. Duque de Caxias, 2041, Jardim
Hotel Estância is centrally located in Jardim, just 1 km from its main Bus Station. Free WiFi access is available. A daily breakfast buffet is offered free of charge.
Rooms are simple and will provide you with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and air conditioning. Private bathrooms have a shower and towels. Linen is provided.
At Estância Hotel you will find a 24-hour reception and barbecue facilities. The property offers free on-site private parking.
The hotel is 30 km from both Buraco das Araras Tourist Attraction and Prata River, where guests can hire tours such as snorkeling.

Hotel Jardim
R. Primeiro de Maio, 291, Jardim
This posh hotel in a modern, low-rise building is 1 km from downtown and 1.4 km from the Rio Miranda. Casual-chic rooms come with cable TV, minibars and free Wi-Fi. Polished suites add flat-screen TVs, and sitting areas with pull-out sofas. Room service is available. Freebies include parking, and a breakfast buffet featuring meats, cheeses and pastries. There's also a relaxed, airy bar, as well as an outdoor pool, a sauna and an open-air exercise room.

Vitória Hotel
R. Fábio Martins Barbosa, 1, Jardim

Angelu's Hotel
R. Primeiro de Maio, 399, Jardim
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Toyota Bandeirante jeep in the Pantanal
Amazon kingfisher in the Pantanal
Sunrise in the Pantanal
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Photo Credits: Buraco das Araras, Jardim MS (Mario Ray Borg)