One of the smaller cities of Brazil, Cuiaba is the cowboy capital of the country and the Cuiabans make no bones about that. Serving as a gateway city to the Pantanal, a region of vast wetlands that occupy the western part of Brazil, this is horse riding terrain, where travellers can see Pantaneiro ‘cowboys’ herd cattle through this immense landscape.
Marechal Rondon International Airport (CGB)
Named after a famed Brazilian military officer and explorer, the Marechal Rondon International Airport (CGB) is conveniently located in Várzea Grande, only 10km from downtown Cuiaba. The facilities within the complex aren’t exhaustive, but they include most of what you’ll need, such as access to an ATM, a restaurant, café, currency exchange, and a post office.
Airlines that fly to Cuiaba
The international flights of this airport are limited to the countries of South America, so flying to Cuiaba will mean transferring within the country, or the continent. The airlines that currently fly to Cuiaba are ASTA Linhas Aereas, Avianca Brazil, Gol Airlines, Passaredo Linhas Aereas, and TAM Airlines.
Getting into Cuiaba
Though the airport is only a short 10km away from the city, the taxi charge is quite high, costing around 30-35BRL ($10-12) for the short ride into town.
By public transport
The public buses will get you into the city fairly quickly, and are far cheaper than hiring a taxi. Look for buses that are heading to ‘Shopping Pantanal’ as they will drop you in the town centre, only a couple hundred metres from Praca da Republica.
There are a few car-hire companies that operate out of the airport, such as Hertz and Thrifty, and these are open around the clock should you want to hire a car.
What can you do in Cuiaba?
Cuiaba is a lively town, and is the capital of its state, Mato Grosso. As such, it is known in the area for its cuisine, agriculture and taste for western wear. The township was nicknamed ‘the garden city’ for all the trees that line its streets, and it’s here where you can occasionally see the famed Pantaneiro cattle workers strolling down boulevards dressed for ranching. See the city’s most famed sights, including the Palácio de Instrução, a neo-classical building that houses the city’s Natural History Museum and the Public Library.
Explore the Pantanal
Throw on some horse-riding gear and head out to the beautiful Pantanal, the largest wetlands in the world, and a UNESCO protected conservation site that is listed as having astounding bio-diversity, in both vegetation and wildlife. It is home to thousands of animal species, such as the capybara, tapir, giant anteater, and the mysterious jaguar. Though the Amazon has perhaps more wildlife, it is in the flat terrain of the Pantanal where you’re more likely to catch sight of some of these shy animals, as it is far harder to hide on the open plains.
When should you go?
Cuiaba’s temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year, with highs between 30-34°C and lows between 16-23°C. As one of the hottest cities in the country, it is generally recommended for travellers to Cuiaba to visit in the cooler months, when the temperature isn’t quite so stifling. Thus making the winter months of June through to August the best time to go, when the weather is mostly dry and temperate.
What do you need to know?
Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)
Visa: Most foreigners travelling to Brazil will need to apply for a visa before entering the country. You must apply to your nearest consulate to obtain a visa. More information can be found on the government website which outlines which foreign nationals are exempt from having to apply in advance of travel.
Please note all information is current as of September 2015.
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