Pantanal Wildlife Trail São Joaquim Adventure Trail

Pantanal Wildlife Trail

Guest Comments

Billie Grether driving the cattle with Elvio Billie Grether driving the cattle with Elvio Riding through the São Joaquim National Park Riding through the São Joaquim National Park

Billie Grether

Basle (Switzerland)


A liberdade me falta

(It is the freedom that I am missing...)


All started when I punched my favorite passions "Brazil+Riding" into the search engines and Peters website came up. It sounded all very tantalizing but I needed a push to convince myself to go on an organized tour. We emailed back and forth and even telephoned a couple of time. Was supposed to be a 2 weeks journey ended up to be an extensive riding adventure in both regions the Brazilian Pantanal and the highlands of Santa Catarina and I got more that I had hoped for.


I appreciated the beautiful landscape of the São Joaquim National Park, die overwhelming hospitality of our hosts Elvio and his wife Rosi, Hilarios friendliness, despite his tough work, the patience everybody had with me, the early morning Camargo, better than any Italian Capuchino, the unbelievable meals Rosi put on the table and, of course, the rides cattle drives with Elvio and team.


My next venture would take me to an outlet where I was supposed to learn something about the "doma racional" but did not live up to my expectations. It but showed me the another side of Brazil instead. I really missed the simplicity and cordiality of Elvio and his wife.


Billie Grether with friend and pantaneiro Refreshing and talking with the pantaneiros Break while observing the Pantanal wildlife

So was I looking forward to my next destination, which was the world largest wetland, the Brazilian Pantanal. The 3 weeks stay there did touch me, I must admit. Ritas ranch is just gorgeous. I soon changed my delicately decorated and air conditioned room with the hammocks under the giant Mango trees, which enabled me not only to watch the miraculous sun downs and sun rises, but I did also enjoy at closest possible distance, the hilarious morning concert of all the hundreds of birds species, for which the region is well known. I did find the most appropriate comments on the birds of the Pantanal with the pictures of Manoel de Barros: to find the blue I use the birds ! Everyday I made new discoveries in this environment with bustling wildlife and vegetation. I rode with the peões, the Brazilian cowboys who´s tough job I became to respect. I loved to ride after the calves to help to bring em in for treatment. My biggest success was when Tião said "today you really did gallop a lot".


I went with Rita and Negão on a trail to the Rio Negro for a week. On a neighboring fazenda I was introduced to an educational project called "escola pantaneira" aimed to grant basic education to the children of the peões, who otherwise and mainly because of the distances and climatic conditions of the Pantanal, would have difficulties to go to school at all.


Rita was an excellent host, explaining this unique environment, pampered me, while I enjoyed life in the saddle and my personal freedom on this beautiful spot called Pantanal. Peter rode with me and my friend on the last part of the trail. Like in São Joaquim did I enjoy his esprit and charm and first of all, his deep knowledge of Brazil and many other issues.


I will never forget when we rode together through the night. Suddenly we were embedded in a sea of stars, cormorants flying in front of us as being on a string and far ahead the light of the Barra guiding us home.


Thanks Peter for everything, your way, your openness and human warmth, the super organization of this unique travel adventure. I want to come back.