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Caiman Ecological Refuge, Pantanal, Brazil

Our rating: Medium

Refugio Ecologico Caiman is situated in Brazil's southern Pantanal, 241 km (150 miles) west of Campo Grande. In addition to countless wild species, the refuge is also home to two small, beautiful boutique lodges, which operate independently from each other to offer a highly personal experience and the best opportunity to enjoy the spectacular array of bird and animal life that can be found here. Both lodges are decorated in tasteful ranch style, with pleasant pool areas and comfortable dining/living room areas for unwinding, as well as WiFi and a shared TV area.

Activity programs are determined based on local conditions, with the two lodges and the various conservation projects on the refuge all coordinating to help guests enjoy the best possible chance to spot rare wildlife. Guests will venture out with a dedicated guide attached to their lodge, on a shared basis with the other guests (maximum of 12 total). Stays at Caiman typically include opportunities for bush walks, canoeing and driving safaris. Meals are served at set times and feature a variety of high-standard options, served buffet-style in communal dining areas.

The accommodations consist of two separate lodges. Baiazinha Lodge, located on a large permanent lake at the ranch’s southern edge, holds six standard rooms overlooking the lake, and is open year-round. Cordilheira Lodge, in the middle of the refuge, is open during the high season (June-September) and features larger suites arranged around a central outdoor barbecue patio.

The refuge also runs an important conservation programme, including two particularly successful projects focusing on the large local population of hyacinth macaws and jaguars, which guests can get involved with if they wish. Both of these rare species are frequently sighted during excursions on the reserve, and during the dry season the Caiman lodges boast an astonishing 90% success rate for guests wishing to see jaguars in the wild.

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