a Saturday in February Sarah wrote:

Pantanal bites

We timed our visit to the swamps between Brasil and Bolivia perfectly to match with with mosquito season. When our jeep arrived an English guy jumped out screaming ‘Don’t go, it’s carnage!’ making us want to run away.

Some more calm German tourist then explained it was bad but still worth going whilst the English guy continued his ranting in the background. We changed clothes to cover our skin and mentally preparing ourselves. As soon as we entered the Pantanal our open jeep and it’s passengers where covered in mosquitoes. It was like a cartoon with everyone smacking each other, resulting in everyone having blood splatters over their faces. People were desperately trying to zip the legs onto their trousers whilst others realised the evil ones could bite though layers. Never had I experienced being surrounded in a relentless cloud of mosquitoes before.

Jim and I had gone for the cheaper option of camping but after being in the area for five minutes we realised we could not handle it. The camp owner explained that during three weeks of the year he highly recommends people stay at the hostel. We didn’t need much convincing and quickly upgraded. When we arrived at the hostel a group leader was explaining that everyone should wear light colours. A German who had been wearing a black in the Jeep had over 180 bites on his back alone. The hostel was great though as it had protected areas and smoke burning to repeal the demons.

After a day we found you stopped noticing the bites by being distracted by the nature. Seeing colourful birds everywhere was fun. We fished for piranha fish then ate them that was somewhat disturbing. Much to Jim’s distress we went horse riding which he actually enjoyed. We took a noisy polluting boat ride that scared all the nature before we found it. The highlight for me was during a Jeep ride we saw the amazing giant guinpigs ‘capivara.’

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