Caiman Ecological Refuge
Southern Pantanal (Pantanal lodges, Brazil)
Caiman is 147 miles west of Campo Grande, on the southern edge of the Pantanal, and is part of a 53,000 hectare ranch. During the high season (June - September) guests must stay 3 or 4 nights, arriving on a Thursday or a Sunday. No children under 8 years old. It is involved in environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project, Onçafari (Jaguar) Project and Blue-Fronted Parrot Project. At the main lodge there is a large pool with loungers, hammocks and views across the bay and both Baiazinha and Cordilheira (available for private groups only) also have a lovely pool.
Generally there are two excursions each day (led by English speaking guides) either by specially converted open-backed safari trucks, motorised boats, or in canoes, and these are arranged locally depending on the season and weather conditions. There are also daily evening activities. Dedicated jaguar tracking programmes can be booked at additional cost.
Accommodation is in the main lodge, Casa Caiman, which has 18 rooms in two traditional Pantanal houses and has a central position for visiting the ranch. The rooms are separated into three categories: Suite, Superior Suite and Master Suite and the original buildings have been fully refurbished inside and out, with a range of facilities including a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and extensive gardens and walking areas. The more remote lodges Baiazinha, 6 rooms, and Cordilheira, 5 rooms, which are only available for private rental, are built on stilts and have viewing towers over the savannah. All of the rooms have air-conditioning and private bathrooms.
Easy access as it is on the edge of the Pantanal but the wildlife is perhaps not as prolific as some of the more remote lodges.
When to go
All year round, but January-March is very humid.