The ParqueNacional do PantanalMatogrossense occupies 1350 sq km in the southwest of MatoGrosso, but most of the Pantanal is privately owned. The national park and three smaller private nature reserves nearby were given Unesco World Heritage listing in 2000.
During the wet season (November to March), the rivers flood their banks, inundating much of the low-lying Pantanal and creating cordilheiras(vegetation islands above the high-water level), where the animals cluster together. The waters reach their high mark – up to 3m – in January or February, then start to recede in March. This seasonal flooding has made systematic farming impossible and has severely limited human incursions into the area. However, it does provide an enormously rich feeding ground for wildlife.
Later in the dry season (April/May to September/October), the water recedes, the lagoons and marshes dry out and fresh grasses emerge on the savanna (the Pantanal’s vegetation includes savanna, forest and meadows, which blend together, often with no clear divisions). The hawks and jacaréscompete for fish in the remaining ponds. As the ponds shrink and dry up, the jacaréscrawl around for water, sweating it out until the rains return.
The Caiman Ecological Refuge is situated on a 53,000 hectare cattle ranch (Estancia Caiman) in the state of MatoGrosso do Sul, near the city of Miranda, 236km west from the State Capital, Campo Grande.
Caiman is involved with cattle production, as well as environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project and Blue-Fronted Parrot Project, all done through partnerships with researchers and universities. It has also created a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony (RPPN), which spans almost 5,600 hectares and includes a representative sample of the Pantanal’s natural characteristics.
The Caiman Ecological Refuge is comprised of 2 lodges, each operated independently. All lodges offer the same contact with local fauna, flora and culture, as well as the same standard of service with a swimming pool, air conditioned rooms, private bathrooms with hot water, 110 volts alternative energy outlets, a living room with SKY TV/DVD, and a restaurant.
Built on stilts, this lodge is structured like a bird with opened wings. It is located on the banks of a clear-water lake, and provides a magical and cozy ambiance for its guests. It has 6 standard superior guestrooms.
Built with bricks and mounted on stilts, this lodge is located on the margins of a Cordilheira forest, perfectly integrated with the surrounding natural scene. It has 5 suite guestrooms, with a living room and balcony.
All reservations will be subject to stay at any of the 2 lodges. Passengers will NOT be able to choose which lodge to stay in and they will be informed only upon arrival at the main lodge.
The AguapePousada is surrounded by the lush riverside forests of the Aquidauana River, allowing guests to experience up-close the natural beauty of the Pantanal region. The Pousada is located just 190 km (118 mi) from Campo Grande.
The accommodations are simple and comfortable, with a total of 15 rooms, all equipped with air conditioning, a ceiling fan, and a private bathroom with hot water. Two of the rooms are adapted for wheelchairs. For the guests’ relaxation, the Pousada offers a swimming pool, a hammock area, a game room, a sand volleyball court, a soccer field, and a TV room. In addition, there is internet access throughout the Inn, a souvenir shop, and a small aircraft landing strip.
Among the nature observation activities offered are hikes, horseback riding, and photo safaris in customized Jeeps. There are also nighttime animal spotting trips in motorized canoes, piranha fishing, and tours in horse-drawn carriages.
The PousadaAguapé is a wonderful environment for bird watching – there are nearly 260 species recorded in the area.
Even more special, guests at Aguapé wake up to the sounds of birds and can drink fresh milk in the corral, as they watch the sun come up. As a matter of fact, there is nothing more beautiful and impressive than watching the sunrise and sunset in the Pantanal!
Built with an emphasis on comfort and harmony with the environment, the Araras Eco Lodge is located 132 km (82 mi) southwest of Cuiabá, the capital of the state of MatoGrosso. Reachable year-round, the lodge is nestled in the ecologically diverse and impeccably preserved Pantanal region. Guests at the lodge will have the opportunity to participate in first-class bird watching, trekking in pristine forests, canoeing, and horseback riding. There are also guided photo-safaris, sunrise and sunset hikes, and stunning views from tree-top lookout points. All activities are conducted with the assistance of expert bilingual naturalist guides. The lodge, built in regional rustic style, includes leisure facilities such as a swimming pool and a large veranda with cozy hammocks. Guests can also unwind with a drink at the lodge’s bar and enjoy excellent local cuisine featuring Pantanal meat and fish, organic salads, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. When not participating in activities, guests can retreat to the comfortable and tastefully decorated guestrooms. The lodge offers just 19 rooms, all featuring air conditioning, a ceiling fan, screened windows, and a private bathroom with hot water. Packages at the Araras Lodge include lodging, meals, nature activities, and English/Portuguese speaking naturalist guides (French, Spanish, and German speaking guides available upon request). There are also special interest tours for birdwatchers, photographers, botanists, and those interested in adventure activities such as horseback riding and camping (available upon request).
Rio Mutum Lodge
Located 130 km (81 mi) from Cuiabá, the capital of MatoGrosso, the Pousada Rio Mutum is a beautiful eco-resort that is perfect for nature lovers and sport-fishers. Nestled in one of the lushest regions of the Pantanal, the lodge provides access to hundreds of species of wild animals, birds, and fish.
The lodge is surrounding by several trails, and guests can participate in hiking, sunrise bird watching, horseback riding, and night excursions to search for nocturnal animals. Other activities offered at the lodge include canoe trips, a visit to a local indigenous community, and a photographic safari on the Mutum River. For guests interested in fishing, the lodge provides boats with experienced guides (with additional cost).
In addition to an abundance of outdoor exploration activities, the hotel features a swimming pool, a TV room, and a hammock area situated amongst the mango trees. Other services available for guests comfort are laundry, a souvenir and convenience store, and boat services. Guests can unwind with a drink at the poolside bar and enjoy delicious Pantanal cuisine at the lodge’s restaurant.
The Pousada Rio Mutum offers 22 cottage-like guestrooms, all comfortable and tastefully decorated and are equipped with air conditioning, ceiling fans, a mini-bar, a hammock, and a private veranda.