Around 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Aquidauana, the small town of Miranda is a good base for exploring the Pantanal or Bonito (130 kilometers/81 miles south). Nestled in the foothills of the Serra da Bodoquena, the surrounding region is the traditional territory of the Terena Indians. Considered one of the best “integrated” of Brazil’s indigenous groups, many still live in the area and you’ll encounter a lot of traditional handicrafts, particularly at the Centro Referencial da Cultura Terena, on the BR-262 at the entrance to town.
In recent years, Miranda has given itself over to ecotourism. The Miranda, Salobra, and Agachi Rivers offer excellent fishing and are favorite refuges of shy, magnificent, and increasingly hard-to-glimpse jaguars.
An alternative to expensive fazenda lodges is staying in town and taking tours to surrounding farms and into the Pantanal. The Pousada Águas do Pantanal (Av. Afonso Pena 367, tel. 67/3242-1242, www.aguasdopantanal.com.br, R$100–140 d) is a lovely budget choice located in a historic house. Bright, air-conditioned rooms are warmly furnished and the ambiance is very welcoming. There is also a pool. The friendly owner operates an ecotourism agency that can organize sports activities and fishing excursions, day visits to fazendas, and outings into the Pantanal and to Bonito.
For an interesting eating experience, visit Zéro Hora (BR-262 Km 55, tel. 67/3242-1330, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and 6–11 p.m. daily, R$10–20), a restaurant/bar with a varied menu ranging from pintada belle meunière to cream of piranha, where you can also buy pantaneiro souvenirs.
Getting to Miranda
Miranda is 210 kilometers (131 miles) from Campo Grande and 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Corumbá along the BR-262. Andorinha (tel. 67/3382-3710, www.andorinha.com) offers daily bus service to and from both towns. Miranda is also only 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Bonito. If you’re driving, take the paved road to Bodoquena for 70 kilometers (43 miles), followed by a dirt road that leads to Bonito.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition