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Brazil Travel Guide

Mato Grosso region



Mato Grosso is one of the states of Brazil, located in the western part of the country. Neighboring states are (from west clockwise) Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul. It also borders Bolivia to the southwest.

The name literally means "thick jungle". Apart from the state capital, Cuiabá, there are few cities. The most important are:
  • Alta Floresta: is located at around 9°54'0"S, 55°53'60"W.

  • Barra do Garças: around 550 km (320 miles) far from the capital city of Cuiabá. The city has a population of 50,000 people. The city is situated on the border between Mato Grosso and Goiás states and due to a geodesic center settled down there. A small but developed tourist city due to high agriculture exportation and a strong military presence, Barra do Garças also has a Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) and is known as Rio de Janeiro do Oeste (Rio de Janeiro of the West) Barra do Garças has many tourist attractions: a Discoporto, (UFOport), water parks, as well as hot springs, mountains, and fresh water beaches.

  • Cáceres: lies on the Paraguai River. Cattle ranching and fishing are the two most important economic activities of the city, and it is a popular tourist attraction during Festival Internacional de Pesca (The International Festival of Fishes). It is an older Brazilian city, commonly referred to as the "Porta do Pantannal", signifying the "door to the Pantannal" as it's an entrance into the Pantannal Wetlands/Jungle. It has a rich history, with beautiful architecture, most notably the Catholic Cathedral, which resides on the rivers edge in the city square. It is abundant in wildlife, with exotic birds, reptiles, fish, mammals and all sorts of other creatures that show themselves when leaving the city to enter the dense forest.

  • Rondonópolis: Formely known as Rio Vermelho (Red River), Rondonópolis is the third largest city in Mato Grosso. It is located around 215 km (133 miles) from Cuiabá the capital of the state. According to the Brazilian census in 2000 the town had 155,000 people, but due to a huge development the population is estimated to be almost 200,000 inhabitants. The city is growing quickly because many industries are establishing there and soy plantations, considered a "new gold race" in the region, are attracting many emigrants even coming from distant regions of Brazil. These people are mainly those from the South and Southeast regions who used to be involved with cattle-raising.

  • Sinop: was founded in 1974 and has become one of the most important cities in the state. The city has a population of 100,000, and lies 400 miles north of the state capital Cuiabá.

  • Várzea Grande: s located at around 15°39'0"S, 56°7'60"W. It has a population of 248,728 (IBGE 2005) and forms a single conurbation with the state capital Cuiabá.
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