Located in the geodesic centre of South America, Cuiabá, host city of the 2014 World Cup, is the gateway of entry for visitors looking for both leisure and business opportunities in Mato Grosso.
The city name comes from the Bororo native people, who lived in the area and means “place where we fish with spears.” It was originally settled in the 18th century when gold was found in the nearby rivers.
Cuiabá provides excellent hotel infrastructure and convention centres with capacity for international events. Shopping centres and shady squares tempt visitors to walk and shop, and when the stomach growls there are excellent restaurants, snack bars and ice-cream parlours to try out. There are international, national and regional dishes to savour and ice-cold drinks to wash them down with including the traditional chopp, ice-cold tap beer.
The best of Mato Grosso culture, handicrafts and gastronomy is found in Cuiabá. The city's old fish market has been transformed into the River Museum where there is a large area for cultural events and exhibitions. The old war arsenal building, renamed SESC Arsenal, is now a thriving cultural and arts center with a cinema, a theatre and a bar.
There is even a Municipal Aquarium, a Handicraft Centre (Casa do Artesão), a Palace of Instruction, libraries, a stone museum, a museum of indigenous and popular culture and art galleries with permanent exhibits of Mato Grosso plastic arts.
Mato Grosso's economy is based on the plenitude of its agri-business. It is the largest producer of soy bean and cotton, the second largest producer of rice, the seventh largest producer of corn and the fifth largest in sugar cane. The State also has the largest beef cattle herds in Brazil. The State of Mato Grosso has 139 municipalities sustained by an economic policy which gives priority to development with environmental conservation and it is currently opening up the possibilities to achieve its potential regarding tourism. The State of Mato Grosso is a unique state in Brazil in that it contains three thriving ecosystems: Amazonia, Cerrado and the Pantanal.
The new football/soccer stadium built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Cuiaba with a capacity of 42,500 seats during the Cup games and then, after the World Cup downsized to 28,000 seats, is a venue for concerts and other events.
Geodesic Centre of South America
Defined by the Rondon Commission in 1909, the geodesic centre of South America is located in the ancient field of Ourique - today Moreira Cabral Square - where the Mato Grosso Legislative Assembly is also located. The location has also been used as a place for hanging the condemned and also a bullring!
Founded in 1819, this building was restored for the Business Social Service (SESC). Today it functions as a cultural centre for theatre, concerts, cinema, a gallery, a toyshop, and a space for musical research, among other activities. It also houses a modern beer hall, an excellent meeting place for philosophizing and for spending time relaxing.
Inaugurated in 1973, the present cathedral was constructed on top of the ruins of the ancient one, a jewel of the colonial period which was demolished during an episode which today still remains unclear.
In any case, its modern architecture has its admirers. It is the traditional seat of the Holy Father festival, which takes place from May to June.
Bom Despacho Church
“Our Lady of Cuiabá” is, at least externally, the most beautiful church in the city. Its gothic style, unknown in most of the country, was defined by a French architect who had complete freedom in its design. Inaugurated in 1919, the church is still unfinished.
Our Lady of the Rosary Church and Saint Benedict Chapel
Built by slaves in 1764, it is famous for the Festival of Saint Benedict. With masses at various times during the day, the most famous is at 5:00am, when traditional families of Cuiabá congregate to worship the Black Saint.
Palace of Instruction
Situated in the centre of the capital, the building currently houses the Public State Library. At the end of the year around Christmas time, the building is illuminated with Christmas lights and is a stage for orchestral presentations and other activities.
Situated in 13 de Junho Street, in the neighbourhood of Porto, the Handicrafts Centre has a wide selection of Mato Grosso handicrafts. It is also a handicrafts museum with a permanent exhibition of rustic and indigenous pieces. Tourists can buy souvenirs here.
Mercado do Porto
This is the biggest fruit and vegetable market in Cuiabá, great for photographic opportunities, to see the variety of fish caught in the local rivers and to learn about local medicinal plants.
This is one of the most traditional parks in Cuiabá, and is the best place to see examples of Mato Grosso flora and fauna.
Former Governors' Residence
Fourteen of Mato Grosso's leaders and their families lived in this building when it also served as an arena for great political decisions. Today it functions as the Governors' Museum.
River Museum “Hid Alfred Scaff”
A good choice for visiting at any time of the year is the Cuiabá River Museum - Hid Alfred Scaff. Rich in history, the location not only has permanent exhibition rooms, you can also visit the Cuiabá Altar room which is an homage to Catholic Saints: Saint Benedict, Saint Gonçalo, Saint Anthony, Saint Peter, Saint John, Our Lady and our Holy Father. In addition to the permanent exhibition rooms, the building also offers a lecture room with a capacity for 60 persons. Moreover, the building has a very popular Regional Restaurant known in Cuiabá for including in its menu fish dishes.
This space is part of a complex which also includes the River Museum and offers an opportunity to learn about the fish of the Pantanal. From the belvedere there is a panoramic view of the city and of the Cuiabá River, especially nice at sunset.
Saint Gonçalo Beira River Community
Located on the edge of the Cuiabá River, 10 km from the downtown core, this neighbourhood includes a community of fishers and artisans. In the neighbourhood you can buy utensils made of clay. There is also a wide choice of restaurants that serve typical Cuiabá food. It is an obligatory stop for tourists looking for culture and good gastronomy. Moreover, it was in this area of Cuiabá that the explorers arrived and began their occupation of the region and hence the foundation of Cuiabá.
Museum of the Indian - Rondon
Created in 1972 by the UFMT to research the indigenous groups of Mato Grosso, it maintains an exhibition of indigenous handicrafts, weaponry and ornaments. Open from Monday to Friday 7:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 5:30pm, Saturdays from 7:30am to 11:30am, entrance is free. UFMT Campus - Aquatic Park.
The zoo of the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), located on the university campus, is where you can see various examples of the typical animals found in Mato Grosso, among which visitors can photograph jaguars, anacondas, caimans and macaws. It is also a very pleasant site for walking.
Founded on 8 April 1719 by the explorers Pascoal Moreira Cabral and Miguel Sutil, at the banks of the Prainha brook, due to the discovery of gold, later called “Lavras do Sutil”, a major source of gold to be discovered in Brazil up until then, Cuiabá was made a city on 17 September 1818, by means of a law signed by King John VI of Portugal. It was only in August of 1835 that it became the capital of the Province through law no. 19, signed by Antonio Pedro de Alencastro, and at the time had close to seven thousand inhabitants. It was in 1909 that Cuiabá was recognized as the geodesic centre of South America. In the middle of the 19th century, the central and port districts of the city having already been united, the population had grown to about ten thousand inhabitants.
In the second half of the 19th century, at the end of the Paraguayan War and at free negotiation, the city gained in strength with infrastructure and urban equipment. With its hub advancing toward the Brazilian interior, the region became centralized and passed from being essentially a producer of sugar and agro-industrial products to one of intense extraction, especially poaia and rubber.
In the 20th century, routes linking Cuiabá with São Paulo and Goiás and commercial aviation, from 1940, brought about the development of the capital. The greatest growth, however, started in the 1970s, when the Federal Government initiated a program to settle Brazil's interior, offering advantages to interested parties. In five years, from 1970 to 1975, the population grew from 83 thousand to 127 thousand people. Today, according to the census of the IBGE (the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), published in 2004, the capital of Mato Grosso has 524 thousand inhabitants.
Located at an altitude of 165 metres, the capital encompasses an area of 3,984.9km2, with a tropical climate that is humid in the Summer (December to February) and dry in Winter (June to August). The maximum temperature, during the hottest days, can reach around 45 degrees Celsius. The minimum varies between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius. The city is divided between the waters of the Amazon and Platina basins. Among the principle rivers of these hydrographical networks are the Cuiabá and the Mortes.
The Cuiabá River, which cuts through the city, divides two towns: Cuiabá and Várzea Grande.
The capital of Mato Grosso is bordered in the North with West Rosário, in the North-West with Acorizal, in the South-West with Várzea Grande, and in the South with Santo Antonio do Leverger, in the East with Campo Verde and in the North-East with Chapada dos Guimarães. The economy of the capital today is focussed on business and industry. In business, representativity is heavy on retail, constituted by food stores, clothing stores, electro-domestic appliances, objects and diverse articles. The industrial sector is basically represented by agro-industrial. With an industrial district that has the necessary infrastructure, the capital is attracting businessmen and women from various regions of the country.
Now 288 years old, Cuiabá is preparing to live another great growth period, with the implementation of various mega-projects, among which, a railway link with Porto de Santos, the conclusion and paving of the Cuiabá-Santarem highway, the BR-163, the bus route to the Pacific Ocean, the Paraguay waterway, the Manso Factory, the Thermoelectric station and the gas pipeline.
Cuiaban and Brazilian cuisine are based on indigenous, Portuguese, Spanish and African cooking.
The difference is in the incorporation of ingredients from native flora and fauna and in the combination and the original preparation methods that ensure flavour and scent that are unforgettable and seductive to the palate, olfactory senses and the eyes.
Here fruits, such as the exotic and delicious pequi - with an unusual flavour and aroma - which give colour to and enrich dishes with a rice and chicken base, manioc, mango and cashew, fresh or dried fish, are richly combined with skilful and creative hands into traditional tidbits in residences or restaurants specialised in typical dishes.
Situated on the border of the Pantanal, where an abundance of fish makes one think of the Christian miracle of the loaves and the fishes, the twin cities of Cuiabá and Várzea-Grande are well known for the fish-based gastronomy.
Grilled pacu, barbequed piraputanga, mojica of pintado, rice with dried pacu, Cuiaban stew, piranha broth, ventrecha of fried pacu, dourado or piraputanga in banana leaves and cauldron of bagre, are dishes born in the ravines of the Cuiabá River and in the bays of the Pantanal for the inventive work of the riverside dwellers.
Our city restaurants earn the respect of gourmets and conquer the most demanding and sophisticated palates.
And there is also maria isabel, the original fried manioc flour, from the earth banana, an exclusive dish of local cuisine, the pestle paçoca made of charque meat and seasoned manioc flour, the furumdu, a dessert prepared with green papaya, raw cane sugar and cinnamon, the pixé made with toasted corn and ground with cinnamon and sugar, the cuiaban rice cake, the francisquito, desserts of cashew and mango, the unequalled pequi liqueur and the grated guaraná aphrodisiac that in the more traditional Cuiaban families is a substitute for the Brazilian small black coffee.
Typical Cuiaban savoury and sweet dishes
Rice with pequi
Sun-grilled Rib steak with Pequi and rice
Meat with Green Banana
Dried meat with ripe pumpkin
Mojica of Pintado
Traditional rice cake
Fried manioc powder cake
Granny cheese biscuit
Grilled cheese biscuit
Powdered manioc biscuit
Traditional corn biscuit
Shopping 3 Américas
Address: Avenida Brasilia, no. 146, Jardim das Américas - Cuiabá - MT
Telephone: (65) 3627-5501
Address: Avenida Rubens de Mendonça, no. 3300, Jardim Aclimação - Cuiabá - MT
Telephone: (65) 3901-4000
Address: Avenida Lava Pés, no. 500, Duque de Caxias - Cuiabá - MT
Telephone: (65) 3624-9072
Address: Rua Voluntários da Pátria at Barão de Melgaço, Centro - Cuiabá - MT
Telephone: (65) 3624-0225
Shopping Popular dos Camelôs
Address: Avenida Beira Rio, no number, Porto - Cuiabá - MT
Telephone: (65) 3323-2224 / 3624-7375
Football teams in Cuiaba consist of the Mixto Esporte Clube, which is the most important club within the state of Mato Grosso and holds one of the biggest fan bases in the Centre-western region of Brazil, and the Tigres (Tigers), who hold the record for the most state titles. They played in the first division of the Campeonato Brasileiro for 11 straight seasons from 1976. Main city rivals are the Cuiabá Esporte Clube and the Clube Esportivo Dom Bosco, in addition to the Operário Futebol Clube, from the sister city of Várzea Grande.
Although the new stadium, Arena Pantanal, was built for the World Cup in 2014, the José Fragelli stadium, also known as the Verdão (Big Green), is the temple of football in Mato Grosso. This 45,000-seater stadium was built in 1976.