Campo Grande is the gateway to the southern Pantanal and to the water sports–rich areas around Bonito. Nicknamed the Cidade Morena (Brunette City) because of the reddish-brown earth on which it sits, this relatively young city (founded in 1899) was made the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul in 1978, when the state separated from Mato Grosso. Campo Grande's economy traditionally relied on ranching, but in the 1970s farmers from the South settled in the region, plowed the plateaus, and permanently changed the landscape. Today, ecotourism is gaining on agriculture as the main industry. Campo Grande is all set to open the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in 2015.
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The hills around this small town of 15,000, whose name rightly means "beautiful," are on the southern edge of the Pantanal, not too far from...
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