Caiman Ecological RefugePantanal, Brazil
Caiman Ecological Refuge is located a three hour drive from the airport at Campo Grande, a drive which takes you into the heart of typical Pantanal wetland scenery.
There are two lodges, Cordilheira and Baiazinha where guests can stay and choose from a number of guided excursions to experience the wonderful diversity of wildlife, including over 650 species of birds.
Our favourite lodge is Baiazinha, which is well positioned on the edge of a wetland lake where you can watch the sun set and listen to nature’s evening chorus at dusk. The lodge is small and comfortable, with a decked swimming pool area overlooking the wetlands.
There are two conservation projects in particular which mark out Caiman as an interesting place to stay.
The jaguar habituation project Onçafari is unique in South America, and was the subject of BBC Two’s classic wildlife series Natural World in 2016. It offers visitors an opportunity to track jaguars in an Africa style jeep safari. A presentation by the Onçafari scientists is included during the high season between June and September. Dedicated jaguar tracking programmes, with a duration of 3 hours to 3 days, can be booked for a maximum of 6 people on a shared or private basis. Other animals you may well see include ocelots, giant anteaters, marsh deer and, of course, caimans!
The Hyacinth Macaw Project was set up in 1990 and has seen the numbers of these endangered birds rise from around 1,600 to over 6,000 today. Guests can spend an afternoon learning about this project and getting close to these beautiful and fabulously charismatic birds.