Miranda in Mato Grosso do Sul – Tourist attractions

The town of Miranda in Mato Grosso do Sul is a base for travellers crossing the southern Pantanal and there are a number of farms in the region where you can spend the day, stay overnight and do some Pantanal tours.

The city of Miranda is located 205 kilometres from the capital Campo Grande.

Mapa de Regionalização de Turismo no Mato Grosso do Sul
Mapa Turístico do Mato Grosso do Sul

On the outskirts of the municipality of Miranda, MS, are some of the region’s most imposing ranches open to the public, including the famous Caiman, which is home to Mato Grosso do Sul’s first ecotourism centre, inaugurated in 1987.

The city, which was founded in 1778, is bathed by the Miranda River, one of the largest tributaries of the middle Paraguay river.

Typically inland, it has quiet, tree-lined streets. At night, young people hang out in the bars on Avenida Afonso Pena.

Miranda’s most historically and architecturally significant building is the old railway station, which has been home to the Casa do Artesão and the Municipal Department of Tourism and the Environment since 2002.

Miranda MS Tourist Attractions

  1. Terena Indigenous Culture Reference Centre
  2. Wild Kingdom Nursery
  3. Comitivas de Cattle Show
  4. Santo Antônio Sugar Mill
  5. Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Carmo
  6. Hotel Fazenda in Miranda MS – Rural Tourism

1. Reference Centre for Terena Indigenous Culture

Built in wood, this space is responsible for preserving the culture of what is the largest indigenous nation in Mato Grosso do Sul, with 15,000 inhabitants; almost half of these live in the Miranda region.

Centro Referencial da Cultura Indígena Terena
Terena Indigenous Culture Reference Centre

Explanatory panels tell us about the history and customs of the Terenas Indians and a small exhibition shows clay pieces made by the Indians. BR-262 interchange, Municipal Department of Tourism and Environment).

2. Reino Selvagem Breeding Centre

This is an initiative of the couple, which opened in 1989 to tackle the illegal hunting of alligators, a serious problem in the Pantanal during that decade.

At the establishment, tourists can see the lagoon where hundreds of animals are kept during the reproduction phase and the fattening ponds, with a capacity for 12,000 caimans.

At the headquarters of the Cacimba de Pedra farm, where the breeding facility is located, various dishes based on caiman are served.

3. Espetáculo das Comitivas de Gado – Cattle droving spectacle

Comitiva is how cattle are transported to the higher parts of the Pantanal so that they can survive the floods. 

When the Pantanal begins to flood and the water invades the pastures, the ranchers are forced to move the cattle to higher ground, safe from flooding.

When the rains cease, the cattle are taken back to their original wintering grounds.

Comitivas de Gado no Pantanal
Comitivas de Gado no Pantanal – Cattle droving spectacle

These journeys take place in caravans called ‘comitivas’ and can last from twenty days to four months. During the journey, which can take up to 20 kilometres a day, around a thousand animals are driven.

Some farms in the Pantanal – Aguapé, Baia Grande. Pequi and Santa Inês, for example – accompany tourists on these incredible marches.

Traditionally, seven pedestrians make up an entourage – each with a specific role.

The cook always goes ahead of the herd to prepare the lunch and rest areas. He is highly regarded, and as well as making the food, he sets up the camp.

At the head of the herd is the pointer, the leader of the group, who is responsible for communicating with the pedestrians by means of different berrante tones.

On the sides, the two bailers help the pointer to lead the herd. At the back, the man in charge of driving the cattle is assisted by two culateiros – cowboys responsible for catching the cows that escape from the herd.

The day-to-day life of the cattle drive, which begins before sunrise, is governed by certain rules of behaviour, which can vary: for example, they are not allowed to take their hats off while eating. There is also a very special participant in the rallies: the Pantanal horse.

This is a native breed that is extraordinarily well adapted to the local conditions; the animal has a hoof that is resistant to swampy areas, is skilful at grazing on submerged fodder during flood periods and can cope well with extensive livestock work.

In addition to the Brazilian Association of Pantanal Horse Breeders (ABCC), created in 1972, organisations such as the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa/Pantanal) and the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul carry out research and preservation projects for the breed.

4. Santo Antônio Sugar Mill

Usina Açucareira Santo Antônio de Miranda MS
Santo Antônio de Miranda Sugar Factory MS

Santo Antônio de Miranda Sugar Factory MS, this historic building from 1900 was for a long time a company that worked with sugar cane derivatives.

5. Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Miranda is among the oldest towns in Mato Grosso do Sul, founded on 16 July 1778.

Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Carmo em Miranda MS
Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Carmo em Miranda MS

Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Carmo is one of the city’s centenary buildings, located in front of the Agenor Carrilho Square and flanked by buildings housing the Parish House (the nuns’ former residence), the Funlec school and the current City Hall. 

6. Farm Hotel in Miranda MS – Rural Tourism

  1. Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS
  2. Fazenda Baía Grande
  3. Refúgio Ecologico Caiman
1. Fazenda San Francisco in Miranda MS

The highlight of this 14,800 hectare farm dedicated to beef cattle and rice plantations is the day use programmes.

Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS
Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS

Located 36 kilometres from Miranda, Fazenda San Francisco can accommodate groups of more than a hundred tourists in a single day. For those who want to stay overnight, there is a simple lodge.

The farm is home to the Gadonça Project, which aims to study jaguars, and welcomes volunteers for scientific tourism tours.

Tourist Attractions at San Francisco Farm
  • Chalana tour

The river tour takes place on the Sào Domingos, a branch of the Miranda River. On the tour, you can see herons, cormorants, kingfishers, grebes and spoonbills, as well as the rarer giant otters.

Passeio de chalana na Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS
Chalana ride at Fazenda San Francisco in Miranda MS

The programme lasts two and a half hours, with stops for piranha fishing.

  • Night wildlife spotting

During the two-and-a-half hour tour, in a four-wheel drive car, you drive through irrigated fields and small capes.

Focagem noturna de animais silvestres na Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS
Nocturnal wildlife spotting at Fazenda San Francisco in Miranda, MS

Along the way are tapirs, wolverines, anteaters, deer and, if you’re lucky, jaguars.

  • Birdwatching

Practitioners of this hobby, known as birdwatchers, generally use binoculars and field guides to help identify the different species of birds.

arara-azul (anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
arara-azul (anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
Seriema (Cariama cristata)
Seriema (Cariama cristata)
Putrião (Sarkidiornis melanotos)
Putrião (Sarkidiornis melanotos)
Gavião pato (Spizaetus melanoleucus)
Gavião pato (Spizaetus melanoleucus)
Pintassilgo (Carduelis magellanicus)
Pintassilgo (Carduelis magellanicus)

The San Francisco farm is home to 346 species of birds, many of which are threatened with extinction:

  • Arara-azul (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus),
  • Seriema (Cariama cristata),
  • Putrião (Sarkidiornis melanotos),
  • Gavião pato (Spizaetus melanoleucus),
  • Pintassilgo (Carduelis magellanicus), dentre outros.

An important finding of the research was that Fazenda San Francisco is a strategic resting and feeding site for dozens of migratory birds from both the north: fish eagles (Pandion haliaetus), sapsuckers (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) and sandpipers of different species, as well as from the south:  Cocoroba (Coscoroba coscoroba), Stilt (Himantopus melanurus), Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae), as well as flycatchers: Shearwater (Tyrranus savana), Summer (Pyrocephalus rubinus) and others.

Some of these species number in the hundreds or even thousands, remaining on the farm for months until they return to their respective breeding areas. 

  • Scientific tourism – There are two programmes

In both, participants can follow the field activities of the Gadonça Project, which monitors the behaviour of jaguars that live near cattle ranches.

Onças na Fazenda San Francisco em Miranda MS
Jaguars at San Francisco Farm in Miranda, MS

The aim is to establish more effective ways of preventing feline attacks on oxen.

  • The ‘Scientific Research Tourism’ programme lasts three to five days, during which time lectures are given and jaguars carrying radio transmitters are monitored.
  • Another option is the ‘Volunteers in the Wild’ programme, which lasts at least two weeks.
  • Another option is the ‘Volunteers in Nature’ programme, which lasts at least two weeks. With the training they receive, visitors can take part in all the tasks carried out by Gadonça, including checking camera traps, shaping footprints, collecting faeces and going out at night to observe jaguars.

Participants, who stay in collective accommodation, must be at least eighteen years old and in good physical condition.


From Miranda, it’s 36 kilometres along the BR-262, km 583, towards Corumbá, to the entrance to Fazenda San Francisco (there are signs on site indicating the entrance).

2. Baía Grande Farm

Located on the southern edge of the Pantanal, 20 kilometres from Miranda, this ranch offers accommodation and day use options.

Fazenda Baía Grande em Miranda MS
Baía Grande farm in Miranda MS

The owner, Alexandre da Costa Marques, is a member of a traditional family from the region and an expert Pantanal storyteller.

The 1,800-hectare farm is also part of the CRAS programme; as the organisation’s biologists often stay at Baía Grande to monitor the re-adaptation of certain species, you can get to know this wildlife conservation work up close.

Boat trip in Baía Grande – the beautiful 30,000 square metre lagoon that gives the farm its name is 6 kilometres from the headquarters.

Surrounded by forest, especially the carandá palms that tower over it, you can take motorboat or Canadian canoe trips here, as well as being a good alternative for piranha fishing. The best time to go is at dawn or in the late afternoon, when the temperature is milder and the birds and wildlife are more active.

Plan a visit to enjoy the sunset, but don’t forget to use insect repellent.

Bay Grande Farm Tourist Attractions
  • Horseriding and dealing with cattle

There are many options for horse riding on routes outside or inside the property.

Another suggestion is to take part in cattle droving, usually led by pedestrians who know the region’s animals.

Children, the elderly and those who don’t have an affinity with horses can take a horse-drawn carriage, an equally interesting alternative.

  • Night spotting

The activity lasts about two hours and is carried out in a four-wheel drive pick-up truck with fixed seats in the back of the vehicle. At night, the light emitted by the ‘sinbim’, a high-powered torch, is reflected in the animals’ eyes.

On the journey between the headquarters and the ‘baía Grande’ you can see caimans, as well as mammals with nocturnal habits, such as the ‘lobinho’ and the ‘tamanduá-bandeira’.


Near the bay, the croaking of the frogs is a spectacle in itself.


From Miranda MS, take the dirt road to the Lalima indigenous village. It’s 18 kilometres to the entrance of the farm.

3. Caiman Ecological Refuge

Mato Grosso do Sul’s first ecotourism development.

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is one of the most charming destinations in the Pantanal. Created in 1987 by businessman and environmentalist Roberto Klabin, it is located on the Caiman farm, which extends over an area of 53,000 hectares, where livestock farming, scientific research and ecological tourism are combined.

Refúgio Ecológico Caiman - Pantanal MS

The farm’s four comfortable lodges include the attractive Baiazinha and Cordilheira, both away from the village, with independent infrastructure and in the midst of beautiful landscapes.

The Caiman Ecological Refuge employs a team of university-level guides who are fluent in English and have extensive knowledge of the Pantanal’s flora and fauna.

They lead the tours, always accompanied by local field guides.

Caiman offers a wide variety of activities, all marked by special care for the safety of guests and the preservation of the environment.

Sometimes, the care taken with tourists is taken as a limit to their freedom c, which is why the farm is not recommended for those who prefer to make their own programme.

In order to preserve the ecosystem, the Dona Aracy Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) was created in 2004, an area of 5,600 hectares inside the farm.

Fauna Protection Projects

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is home to two projects to protect endangered animals.

Since 2002, the Jaguar Project, a partnership between the Jaguar Conservation Fund (www.jaguar.org.br) and Conservation International (www.conservation.org.br), has been financially compensating ranchers who have had animals killed by jaguars, with the aim of preventing the animal from being hunted by them.

According to 2006 data, eleven ranches (covering an area of 325,000 hectares) take part in the programme, which also offers medical and dental care to the workers on the properties.

Another project based at Caiman is the Hyacinth Macaw, created in 1990 and involving research, management and conservation of this bird.

It is estimated that in the 1980s alone around 10,000 hyacinth macaws were smuggled to foreign markets; as a result of trafficking, the bird is on Ibama’s and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) official list of endangered species. The project monitors 130 natural nests and 97 artificial ones, according to data collected in 2004 and 2005.

The results are encouraging: over a decade and a half of work, the species’ population has tripled to around 5,000 birds in the southern Pantanal region.

The project has another base at the Araraúna lodge, owned by the University for the Development of the Pantanal State and Region (Uniderp);

Tourist Attractions of the Caiman Ecological Refuge
  • Safari

Board open cars to discover different scenarios in search of the Pantanal’s wildlife: there’s no shortage of incredible sightings throughout the tour.

Safári no Refúgio Ecologico Caiman em Miranda MS
Safari at the Caiman Ecological Refuge in Miranda MS
  • Hiking

Twelve trails operate on a rota system, a measure that softens the environmental impact. Almost all of them start in the vicinity of the inns and continue through typical forests.

It’s not hard to spot flocks of peccaries and groups of capuchin monkeys along the way.

Depending on their luck, visitors may even spot the blue-crowned udu (Momotus momota), a beautiful Pantanal bird.

The routes vary between one and a half and three hours. Photo safari and night spotting.

In the Caiman region, which is generous with animals, it is not uncommon to see groups of caimans, capybaras, hyacinth macaws, curicacas and anteaters, among many other species – although the noise and smoke produced by the lorry carrying the tourists is a bit of a nuisance.

  • Canadian canoe

The farm’s two bays are explored aboard canoes for up to three people. When you paddle slowly close to the shore, the fun becomes even more enriching, as you can observe the behaviour of herons, spoonbills, black-tailed godwits, black-headed godwits and maguaris up close.

Try sitting in complete silence to listen to the symphony of these birds. The tour takes around two hours, with a rest stop, but without disembarking the canoes.

  • Horseriding

Very strict when it comes to guest safety, the horse riding programmes at Caiman can become a bit monotonous for the more experienced.

For example, you are only allowed to ride in single file. The ride takes around three hours. Aquidauana river trip – This is one of Caiman’s most fascinating attractions, as it combines a photographic safari programme with chalana and Canadian canoe trips, as well as walks along the banks of the river.

Between the headquarters and Aquidauana there are 32 kilometres of dirt roads, covered in the back of an adapted truck, from where you can enjoy the beautiful Pantanal scenery; some people have even seen the rare jaguar on this route.

The activity, which is paid for separately, lasts four and a half hours.

  • Bird watching

Caiman offers a specialised programme for those interested in birdwatching, accompanied by a guide.

The tour is paid for separately. Booking in advance is recommended for birdwatching groups.

  • Blue Macaw Institute

Experience an adventure monitoring the hyacinth macaw nests scattered around the refuge accompanied by biologists from the Hyacinth Macaw Project.

  • Onçafari

Follow the movements of the jaguars that have their natural habitat in our refuge. The tour is led by specialised guides from Onçafari, a pioneering initiative fighting for the conservation of the species;


At the Miranda interchange, take the road towards the town of Agachi and follow it for 2 kilometres. From there, it’s another 36 kilometres on a dirt road to the headquarters.

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