Latin America & Caribbean

World Cup Brazil city guide: Cuiaba

BBC Brazil's Camilla Costa offers an insider's view of the 12 cities hosting matches in this year's Fifa World Cup tournament.

Cuiaba

Overview

Image copyright Google
Image copyright Edson Rodrigues
Image caption Cuiaba: the 'southern gate to the Amazon'

Cuiaba sits in the middle of three biomes, or habitats, that surround the city:

  • Cerrado - the Brazilian savannah
  • Pantanal - one of the world's largest tropical wetlands
  • The Amazon - the great river

Even though it is much less humid than Manaus to the north, Cuiaba still reaches up to 37C (98F) in the winter.

Venue

Image copyright Portal da Copa
Image caption Arena Pantanal. Capacity: 42,968

Arena Pantanal should have been finished by October 2013, but was only completed six months later.

It is considered by critics to be one of Brazil's white elephant stadiums. Even the local World Cup secretary has said football alone won't keep it open in the next few years.

Promised transport improvements in the city have also failed to materialise, so fans will need extra planning and time to get to the venue.

Culture and cuisine

Image copyright Edson Rodrigues
Image caption Cuiaba is famed for its fish dishes

While the country's rodizios, or Brazilian steakhouses, serve barbecued meat, in Cuiaba, they will feed you big river fish instead.

Liqueurs can also be counted among Cuiaba's hidden secrets. One is flavoured with mangaba - the fruit of the mangabeira tree, a native of Brazilian tropical areas.

Local country music, what Brazilians call musica sertaneja, is one of the area's most popular rhythms.

In Cuiaba it is also big business - the city has a lot of country nightclubs.

The region's typical musical instrument, viola de cocho, is a plucked string guitar carved out of a single tree log. Cocho is what Portuguese farmers used to call a hollowed-out log. It has only three frets and no varnish, but it has a beautiful sound.

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