Mato Grosso is a state in the central parts of Brazil, the third largest by area. Neighboring states are (from west clockwise) Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul. It also borders Bolivia to the southwest. A state with a flat landscape, alternating great chapadas and plain areas, Mato Grosso presents three different ecosystems: Cerrado, Pantanal and the Amazon Rainforest. The vegetation of the open pasture covers 40% of the state, and the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, with its caves, grottos, tracks and waterfalls, is one of its great tourist attractions. In the north is the Amazonian forest, with a biodiversity originally covering half of the state, currently largely devastated for logging, agricultural purposes and pastures. The Xingu National Park and the Araguaia River are in Mato Grosso. Further south, the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, is the habitat for almost a thousand species of animals, with many aquatic birds.
Located in the Mato Grosso is the Chapada dos Guimarães, a unique and beautiful environment made from sandstone mountains and their subsequent erosion. The terrain of the Mato Grosso is varied and includes cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls. The biologically rich Pantanal, one of the world's largest wetland/prairie ecosystems, is also located within this state. Much environmental degradation has occurred to the Pantanal within the past few decades, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The Pantanal can be compared to the Everglades in Florida, as both share much in common, habitat wise, although the Pantanal is of much larger scale.
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The Pantanal is the world's largest continuous wetland with a total area of more than 200,000 square kilometres. Over half of the Pantanal is located in Brazil which also offers the best opportunities for a visit to this paradise full with animals. The Pantanal can be reached both from the north (Cuiaba) and from the south (Campo Grande), and both are equally rewarding and impressive. There are dozens of places to stay, from camping to 5-star luxury.For more details about visiting this amazing place read the Pantanal article.
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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.
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