I hadn’t planned to travel to Cuiabá but it was on my way to Pantanal so I stayed an extra day to explore the city and surroundings. Interestingly, I sat next to a very tall guy on the flight from Paris to Rio and it turned out to be Felipe Lima, a Brazilian swimmer. He was very kind and helped some people lift their luggage. He told me he comes from Cuiabá and that I would really enjoy Pantanal.
The city itself is small and there are not many tourist sites. However, the people were very friendly and welcoming. I also found a lot of places with live music which made the centre very lively.
Just outside of Cuiabá is the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park. It has some amazing views of mountains and waterfalls. The view at sunset was especially stunning. And the small town of Chapada had some very cute old buildings. It was a great day out in nature only an hour from Cuiabá.
- Valley Pub in Cuiabá is a fun nightclub with local live music
- Chapada dos Guimarães National Park with its beautiful valleys and waterfalls
- Town of Chapada dos Guimarães
- Lookout Morro dos Ventos
- Canions Do Jamacá/Rota do Índio
- Waterfall Marimbondo
- High Heaven Lookout Mirante Alto do Céu
- Starting point to travel to Pantanal
Before you go
- Cuiabá isn’t a big tourist destination but it is a good starting point for Pantanal
- Beautiful nature can be seen just outside of the city including mountains and waterfalls
- The locals are very friendly
- Although some people speak English, it would be useful to have an app like GoogleTranslate for Portuguese
- It may be better now, but my vegetarian omelette at a cafe had ham in it!
- The main airport for Cuiabá is Cuiabá International Airport – Marechal Rondon. It’s quite small so easy to find your way around
- To arrive there from Paris, I travelled first to Rio, then Brasilia and finally Cuiabá
- It is easy to walk around the city of Cuiabá, however you need a car to see the surrounding nature. I used a local guide to drive me to the scenic Chapada dos Guimarães National Park
- In Cuiabá, I stayed in the Hotel Ramos. It is a small hotel with no website as far as I can find. My guide booked it for me
- The rooms were simple but clean and comfortable. The decor looked from the 1970s and was kind of a cool jungle theme
- The owners of the hotel were very friendly but did not speak any English. Also I felt bad because I came back late one night and had to ring the bell and wake one of them up to let me in
My favourite place in Cuiabá was the Valley Pub, which I am happy to see still exists as of 2023. It is a night club with nice cocktails and live music. At the club, I had my first experience listening to Brazilian country music!
I had a tasty, giant açai bowl with bananas, sweetened condensed milk and granola at a local cafe, since my hotel did not serve breakfast. Açai is refreshing and also surprisingly filling.
The other restaurant I ate at, Getúlio, is unfortunately closed. That’s too bad because the steak and sides I had there were excellent.
Near the river, I can recommend the Jacá Pier Bar for a casual lunch or dinner. There are many options including fresh pacu fish.
In the town of Chapada dos Guimarães, we had tasty snacks from Padaria Pão da Praça. The bread rolls and pastries had filling such as cheese, ham and sausages. They also had a big selection of cakes. And for another snack, I had a big frozen açai bowl from Ki Gostoso Açai E Sorveteria.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, not to walk around Cuiabá but you will probably need a driver and/or guide to see the surrounding nature including Chapada dos Guimarães
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Some people spoke English but it would be useful to have an app like GoogleTranslate for Portuguese
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: Yes, Cuiabá itself is small and walkable
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