On this trip to the South Pantanal you will visit the Caiman Ecological Refuge, which is part of the largest wetlands in the world. This area is a nature reserve full of many different species, offering impressive flora and fauna as well as numerous rivers and freshwater lakes. To discover this natural paradise, you will be staying in the magnificent Caiman Lodge which offers a luxurious ambiance. On various excursions you will have the opportunity to explore this unique environment and to observe different kinds of animals such as caimans, monkeys, anteaters, and tapirs.
Caiman Lodge - Caiman Ecological Refuge - South Pantanal
Caiman Lodge is located in the Caiman Ecological Refuge of the same name, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) from the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande.
How to get there: Transport with an English-speaking guide from the airport in Campo Grande takes about 4 hours by land or 3 hours from Bonito. Another possibility is to charter a small aircraft to land directly on the runway of Caiman Lodge.
Experience the Brazilian Pantanal in all its natural beauty and discover the habitat of a variety of animals such as monkeys, giant otters, tapirs, capybaras, anteaters, anacondas, pumas, and jaguars (with jaguars being best spotted on special safaris). Bird lovers will appreciate the enormous swamp area, offering an unforgettable experience with its 700 bird species (including macaws and toucans).
Together with experienced English-speaking guides you will go on different excursions every day to experience the Pantanal at different times and from different perspectives, always with the focus of observing and taking pictures of animals.
During your stay at Caiman Lodge all meals and a daily excursion program in a small group are included and will be guided by an experienced English-speaking guide. The excursions are adapted according to the season and the abundance of animals and start early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the heat subsides. These are also the best moments to observe the animals in their natural habitat.
Walking Safari: Caiman Ecological Refuge is full of walking trails, which are alternately used in order to preserve the natural conditions. On this tour you can usually see numerous bird species and monkeys.
Caiman Safari: Done by motorboat, the caiman safari is a real highlight of every visit to the Pantanal. Experienced guides allow travelers to get to know these impressive animals up close.
Photo Safari: This safari, in specially converted 4-wheel-drive vehicles, takes you to more remote corners to take photos of flora and fauna. The tour can also be combined with a walking safari.
Canoe Safari: As the canoes glide silently over the water, the chances of seeing animals are very high. Giant otters, capybaras, and other water dwellers can appear next to the canoe at any time. In the early evening the dazzling sunset on the river is accompanied by loud bird twittering.
Night Safari: During this night walk it is usual to see many nocturnal animals. Arriving at the riverbank, the countless eyes of caimans shine like mini-flashlights and complete this night adventure.
4x4-Jeep Safari: A safari in a 4x4-jeep allows participants to get to know several different areas of the Caiman Ecological Refuge and their inhabitants in one day.
Optional Excursions (subject to availability and extra charge):
Bike Safari: The Pantanal consists of flat wetlands. Outside the rainy season, it is possible to make excursions by bike. Again, silent movement facilitates the sighting of animals.
Bird Watching: Usually it starts very early in the morning. You will have the best chance to see and photograph rare bird species at sunrise.
Jaguar Safari - Project Oncafari: On this special tour participants follow the tracks of jaguars, promoting the local economy and environmental protection. The project is run by a local association in partnership with public and private institutions and makes an important contribution to the research and conservation of the Americas' largest predatory cat. The jaguar safari can be extended up to three days if desired.
Hyacinth Macaw Tour - Project Arara Azul: This project was created to protect the endangered hyacinth macaws. Participation can be half-day or full-day, and must be booked in advance. If you book a full-day tour, an information session is scheduled for lunchtime, where visitors will receive important information about the behavior and protection of the animals. All payments go directly to the Arara Azul Institute and thus directly finance work for species protection in the Pantanal.
- All transfers detailed above
- Daily lodge excursions (in-group with an English-speaking guide)
- Accommodation at Caiman Lodge
- 1 Breakfast + 1 lunch + 1 dinner per night
Not included are airfare, insurance, beverages, meals not indicated in the itinerary, tips, and personal expenses.
Caiman Lodge is divided into 3 main buildings. The main house, Casa Caiman, has 18 rooms which are categorized as Suite, Suite Superior, and Suite Master.
Villa Baiazinha, the second building, has 6 rooms, and Pousada Cordilheira has 5 rooms. Both of these buildings function as private houses for groups or families.
All rooms are carefully furnished and offer air conditioning, private bathrooms with a hot-water shower, and Wi-Fi.
Facilities and amenities at Caiman Lodge include a swimming pool, landing strip for small aircrafts, gym, dining rooms and social rooms with board games, TV, and sofas. In addition to the regular excursion program, optionally the lodge offers bird watching and an adventure tour with biologists who care for the endangered hyacinth macaws and jaguars of the region. Those excursions are subject to availability and extra charge.
Check-in from 3:00 p.m. | Checkout until 12:00 noon.
- The drive to the lodge takes about 4 hours from Campo Grande and about 3 hours from Bonito.
- The exact schedule of excursions is adapted to the season. Depending on flight times, tours and meals on the day of arrival and departure may be omitted.
- The itinerary can be adjusted according to weather conditions. The order of excursions can change and animal sightings cannot be guaranteed.
- Insect repellent
- A hat or cap
- A flash light
- Comfortable clothing
- A small backpack for day trips
- Swimming gear
- A rain jacket
Please avoid dark-colored clothing as it attracts mosquitoes. Camouflage clothing is ideal for wildlife observation in the Pantanal.
Image Credits: Fotos by Sidney Bloch: Header picture, Veranda, Pool, TV room / Fotos by Samuel Melim: Canoe tour, Bird watching, Standard room, Spotting of a jaguar / Foto by Cassiano Zaparoli: "Projeto Arara Azul" (Hyacinth Macaw Project).
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