When nature travel enthusiasts head to Brazil, they are usually Amazon-bound, looking for the famous wildlife that the massive rainforest and river have to offer. However fascinating travel on the Amazon can be, the Pantanal in Brazil is perhaps a better place to see wildlife.

The vast backcountry of the South American country has flora that is spread out across the swampy watermass — the largest contiguous wetland. Unlike the dense tropical forests of the Amazon, the Pantanal offers plenty of opportunities to see fauna — the greatest concentration of animal species in the New World.

“We were astounded at all the wildlife we saw in the Pantanal. Imagine seeing a baby tapir running through a field at night; a baby giant anteater riding on its mother’s back; and 14 baby jabiru storks following their dad – we saw all that,” said Pantanal tour guest Lisa Hudson of Marietta, Georgia.

The Pantanieros, often referred to as Brazilian cowboys, raise and sell cattle—e. Steaks, briskets and burgers are made on family farms where every member helps out. The result of the cattle industry is a meat-heavy cuisine that lends itself to dishes such as churrasco or picanha plates - types of Brazilian barbecued steak.

Fish is also a popular dish. Harvested fresh from the wetlands, pintado is a popular variety that visitors will find served in restaurants and homes.