Brazil // Mato Grosso //

North from Campo Grande: Coxim

Today, COXIM is a quiet town of some 33,000 people, situated on the eastern edges of the Pantanal, and easily reached by bus from Campo Grande in around three to four hours (six or seven hours from Cuiabá). The scrub forest area to the east, north of Campo Grande, was formerly the territory of the Caiapó Indian nation, who ambushed miners along the routes to Goiás and Cuiabá from São Paulo, posing a serious threat to Portuguese expansion and development in the mid-eighteenth century. Coxim is a fantastic fishing centre: the fisherman Pirambero runs excellent trips into the swamp, down the Rio Taquari, to catch piranhas (ask for him at the port). If you’re really serious about angling, contact IBAMA, at Rua Floriano Peoxoto 304 (t 67/3291-2310), or the Banco do Brasil for a temporary fishing permit (R$25) and, for more detailed local information, try the local fishing club, the Iate Clube Rio Verde, at Rua Ferreira, Bairro Piracema (t 67/3291-1246). Besides fishing, swimming in the Rio Taquari around Campo Falls is another popular pastime, in spite of the razor-toothed fish, and, nearby on the Rio Coxim, the Palmeiras Falls are a good place for a picnic or to set up camp. From November through to January, the two falls are the best places to see the incredible piracema spectacle – thousands of fish, leaping clear of the river, on their way upstream to the river’s source to lay their eggs.