Hato El Frío
Mantecal (The Llanos, Venezuela)
This 80,000 hectare ranch between Mantecal and El Samán is owned by the Maldonado family, and the Biological Station is the centre of the tourist operation. The accommodation has recently been upgraded and twin bedded rooms, with private bathrooms are now available (no hot water). Meals and local drinks are included as are twice-daily excursions. The vehicles (mainly enclosed jeeps with side-facing benches) are not as satisfactory as those provided by Cedral or Piñero, but the boat trips are good, and wildlife is similar. We previously recommended El Frío as a relatively low-cost alternative, but prices have increased so one must now consider the better road and transport infrastructure at Cedral and Piñero before making a decision. They have an interesting programme of re-training to the wild for ocelots and jaguars that have been illegally captured.