The primary economies of the Pantanal include cattle ranching, fishing, and ecotourism. The Pantanal culture is one that is very laid back and welcoming. Do to its location it is one that is not technologically advanced and its spirit is embodied in the complexity and calm of the nature that surrounds. Each day between 12pm and 2pm there is a siesta (nap) and the work schedule is not nearly as rigid as the 9 to 5. Imperfections in craftsmanship is accepted as the norm and yet hard work and skilled tradesmen are highly respected.
Ecotourism is one of the main economic forces in the region and has allowed local residents including Eduardo Falcao De Arruda to remain in the area. The length of the Transpanteniera provides a variety of ecologies that differ along its route. Often times tourists will stay in multiple lodges along the route as a way to see different animals or environments. The Cuiaba river is a highly traveled ecotourist destination due to jaguar populations that are a major attraction for the photographer/tourist. Although ecotourism has provided well for some of the residents and has helped in retaining the very important local knowledge of these resident it has not been fruitful for all. There remains fishing and ranching communities particularly near the river who see little benefit from ecotourism and this group is the focus population for the education center that has been set up in the Pantanal.
top to bottom: 145 kilometer diameter showing location of eco lodges with respect to the site; tourists on the cuiaba river
We had many interesting encounters during the process, as we were being housed in the eco lodge across the street from the site. These included bird enthusiasts, retired veterans, avid travellers of all ages, and people cheering for an array of the countries being represented at the World Cup, something we all enjoyed bantering about over dinner. Our accommodations included meals provided by the on site cook, Milton. A typical meal included meat, beans, rice, vegetables (tomato, onion, potato), dessert, and coffee. Food was bought on a weekly or biweekly basis at the grocery store in Pocone.
top to bottom: the eco lodge across the street from the site where we met so many interesting travellers; jaguar in the wild