Caiman Ecological Refuge is a 53,000-hectare property located in the heart of the Pantanal region of Brazil, one of the world's most important wetlands, hosting one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in the Americas.
The Caiman Ecological Refuge combines conservation with eco-tourism, and a working cattle ranch. Accommodation consists of two pousadas - Baiazinha and Cordilheira - which between them have a total of 11 rooms. Scattered around the reserve, each lodge offers a similar level of comfort - both have swimming pools, air-conditioned rooms and private bathrooms.
Activities at CER focus on wildlife excursions, led by expert guides who interpret the flora, fauna and natural history of the Pantanal. Excursions are offered in specially adapted vehicles, or by canoe.
Apart from spectacled caimans, this area is particularly renowned for its birdlife. Over 350 species are present, including the hyacinth macaw, marsh seedeater, king vulture, boat-billed heron and the Mato-Grosso antbird. Other activities include forest walks, biking, and observing the daily cattle ranching activities.
Why We Love It
The Caiman Ecological Refuge is also home to a jaguar conservation project, and wildlife enthusiasts will surely love the chance to head out with one of the resident scientists on a jaguar tracking excursion.
Fazenda Barranco Alto
Fazenda Barranco Alto is a small and charming hotel in the Pantanal wetlands region of Brazil and still very much a working cattle ranch.
The setting is lovely, with a giant mango tree in front of the fazenda with hammocks slung from its branches and beyond that the Rio Negro river where guests can swim from the bank.
There are just four en suite bedrooms in total, and although they are sparsely decorated, they are perfectly comfortable. The real attractions here, however, are the activities on offer. Guests can live for the day like an authentic Pantanal cowboy looking after the Nelore cattle (originally from India); ride through the famous grassy plains and water meadows of the Pantanal; trek through riverine forests and along the riverbank; take boat rides on the river or canoe - the best way to spot giant otters and the elusive jaguar. Less strenuous activities include astronomy with the fazenda's telescope and chilling out on the river's sand banks.
Best of all, you can enjoy all this in the knowledge that the fazenda has an admirable attitude towards sustainability and methods to conserve the wildlife and traditional way of life in this beautiful part of Brazil.
Why We Love It
This is a completely charming place to stay, and a step down in price from Caiman Lodge. There are only four rooms, though, so we'll need to book you in months in advance!