Southern Pantanal (Pantanal lodges, Brazil)
The Refugio Ecologico 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. Caiman is involved in environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project, Onçafari (Jaguar) Project and Blue-Fronted Parrot Project.
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.
Caiman Ecological Refuge is comprised of two lodges - Baiazinha (6 rooms) and Cordilheira (5 rooms), that are built on stilts and have viewing towers over the savannah and each is operated independently. All of the rooms have air-conditioning and private bathrooms and there are swimming pools. During the low season Cordilheira lodge is available for private rental only.
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.