Corumbá is an important river port on the western edge of the Pantanal, situated on the banks of the Paraguay River, on the frontier with Bolivia. Its name comes from Tupi-Guarani (the language spoken by indians living in a huge part of South America before the arrival of European colonists) and means a far-off place. The city is located in the extreme west of Brazil and for a long time access to it was very difficult and almost exclusively by means of the River Paraguay.

The city was established in 1750 as the extreme westerly point of the area controlled by Portugal, as defined by the Treaty of Madrid, which laid down the borders of the Portuguese and Spanish possessions in South America. The nucleus of the city was created in 1778 as a military fort known as Albuquerque.
The river port was opened in 1853 and marked the beginning of commercial activity along the Paraguay River. For decades Corumba was the biggest river port in the world, boasting a dozen foreign consulates. Ships would enter the River Rio de la Plata (Between Argentina and Uruguay) in the South Atlantic and sail up the River Rio Paraná to its confluence with the River Rio Paraguay, then continue up to Corumbá.

The crumbling but impressive buildings along the waterfront reflect the wealth that passed through the town during the 19th century. With the coming of the railway, Corumbá lost its importance as a port and went into decline. Today the city is the southern gateway to the Pantanal, perfectly suited for fishing and ecological tourism.

The city's principal tourist attraction is the Luiz de Albuquerque Historical Institute, housing the Museum of the Pantanal, where one can see many different plant and animal species of the region, as well as artefacts, weapons and utensils used by the local indigenous population. The main attraction, however, are the swamps and marshes of the Pantanal, that start right at the edge of town. The area of Nhecolândia, in the Southern part of the Pantanal, is one of the righest in biodiversity and a paradise for nature lovers and birders.

The city is about 400 km northwest of Campo Grande by road, 5 km from the Bolivian border. From the Bolivian bordertown of Puerto Suarez/Quijarro daily trains leave to Santa Cruz, Bolivia's booming second city. Travelers interested in combining a trip to Brazil with Bolivia, or the other way around, will cross through Corumbá

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