Although there’s no real reason to stay in Corumbá  itself (it’s more of a convenient base than a destination in itself), the town has a large number of hotels, particularly cheap budget choices, most of which are located near the bustling (and sometimes noisy) port. Other options include the more “luxurious” houseboats that travel up and down the Rio Paraguai regions and the fazenda lodges of the surrounding region (particularly along the Estrada Parque do Pantanal).
A decent budget place in town is the tranquil Hotel Santa Rita (Rua Dom Aquino Corrêa 860, tel. 67/3231-5453, R$90 d). Double, triple, and quadruple rooms are simple but well-cared for and have air-conditioning. Breakfasts are quite copious.
The bright and spacious Santa Mônica Palace Hotel (Rua Antônio Maria Coelho 345, tel. 67/3231-3001, www.hsantamonica.com.br , R$80–115 d) is fairly dated (late ’50s), but is one of the most comfortable hotels in town. Air-conditioned rooms are uninspiring, but big. Amenities include a sizable rooftop pool with a garden patio and free Internet access.
As for food, “when in the Pantanal . . .” eat fish. Peixaria do Lulu (Rua Dom Aquino Corrêa 700, tel. 67/3231-5081, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., R$10–20) may be modest in appearance, but in a town where fish rules, this friendly, family-run eatery serves up some of the best grilled pacu and pintado in town.
At Ceará (Rua Albuquerque 516, tel. 67/3231-1930, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.–midnight Tues.–Sun., R$10–20), pintado reigns and comes in many guises (some lighter than others)—try the classic pintado à urucum or fried à pantaneira, which comes accompanied with bananas and manioc.
Sportfishing enthusiasts with money to spare can take to the river on an all-inclusive barco-hotel (or “botel”), which vary in size and degree of luxury. Guides, bait, and small-boat excursions (but not always gear) are included in the price, which averages R$300–600 a day per person, and usually there’s a five-day minimum. Advance reservations are a must. Arara Tur (Rua Manoel Cavassa 47, tel. 67/3231-4851, www.araratur.com.br , R$340–600) operates two comfortable boats, the Albatroz (18 cabins) and Arara Pantaneira (12 cabins), both outfitted with polished wooden fixtures, air-conditioned quarters, and sundecks.
If you want a little more luxury and don’t mind a mini-cruise atmosphere, the Kalypso (tel. 67/3231-1460, www.peroladopantanal.com.br , R$320–640) is a sprawling three-level ship with 28 air-conditioned cabins as well as a rooftop pool, a sauna, and a wood-paneled restaurant with self-service buffets. There is a six-day minimum.