The City of Cuiabá (Photo: Getty Images)
Whether you’re coming for the soccer or scouting out a South American trip in the future, Yahoo Travel has got the scoop, with quick guides to visiting all the World Cup host cities.
With contributions from Yahoo Brazil editors Cassiano Gobbet, Fernando Vives, and Tainah Fernandes.
Stadium Arena Pantanal (Photo: Getty Images)
Stadium: Arena Pantanal (replacing Verdão), 42,968 capacity.
Games: June 13 (Chile vs. Australia), June 17 (Russia vs. South Korea), June 21 (Nigeria vs. Bosnia Herzegovina), June 24 (Japan vs. Colombia)
Known for: Being South America’s dead-center and the stopping point to the world’s largest freshwater swamp
Lowdown: A sleepy town so long that politicians were exiled there, Cuiaba saw its population increased by tenfold since 1960 after roads opened up access to Goals and São Paulo, although the growth rate has declined. Distance and football status may make this among the least-visited regions.
Pantanal (Photo: Getty Images)
View: Visit the Pantanal, a massive tropical wetland home to thousands of species, including the South American tapir, jaguar, and giant anteater. Difficult navigation means you may need a tour operator, but make sure they’re eco-friendly.
Sleep: Despite being so remote, Cuiaba reportedly charged higher hotel rates more than any other World Cup host. Then again, there aren’t that many hotels here. Gran Odara (Av. Miguel Sutil, 8344, Ribeirão da Ponte) ranks as the only five star. Oddly, it’s priced far less than four-star Deville Cuiaba (Av. Miguel Sutil, 834), perhaps because it’s further out. Hotel D’Luca is among the newer accommodations. (Av. Rubens de Mendonca, 104) Among hostels, Pousada Escoverde near the old city center wins a lot of kudos and arranges tours into the neighboring Pantanal. (Rua Pedro Celestino, 391)
Pacu (Photo: Rosemaia/Flickr)
Bolo de arroz (Photo: Anita Dimattia/Flickr)
Eats: Those wetland waters yield tasty fish like pintado, matrinchã, and pacu (and the occasional scrumptious alligator and stingray for variety). Brazil astounds for its fruit variety, and the original pequi can be found in its rice and chicken dish, galinhada. The Native American influence can be seen in the bolo de arroz or sweet rice fritters. Praca Popular is a destination public space with a cluster of restaurants.
Brazilian embroidery (Photo: Jodie van de Wetering/Flickr)
What to buy: The embroidery’s vibrant and designs take inspiration from the surroundings. In general, look for artwork derived from natural jungle materials.
Brazilian Cowboy (Photo: Lucas Ninno/Flickr)
Best pickup line: “Are you a sertanejo music fan?” (Country here is king.)
How to avoid a fight: Don’t point out the big ditch, unfinished trains, or any of the other projects that have aggravated many of the 500,000 residents.
Chapada dos Guimaraes mountain range (Photo: Luis Henrique Penha/Flickr)
When the football gets to be too much: Head to the Chapada dos Guimaraes mountain range.
Want more like this? Follow us on Facebook andTwitter and keep coming back every day for Yahoo Travel’s series on the #WorldCup, with guides to the host cities, advice on safety, and great tips and insider information you won’t find anywhere else. You can also check out all our World Cup coverage here.