Wildlife enthusiasts should look no further than the Pantanal in Brazil. Why? Because this is the world’s largest wetlands, an area bursting with life including the highest concentration of birds in South America. During the dry season (July to October) you’ll see the magnificent mammals that characterise the region. These include Giant Anteater, tapir, puma, capybara, wild boar and perhaps even a stealthy jaguar. Whereas the wetter months (November to March) are a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Located in the heart of the northern Pantanal is the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge. The lodge can be reached year-round via the Transpantaneira Park Road and is only two hours from Cuiaba Airport. Enjoy stunning views of the Pantanal from the top of the lodge’s observation towers and refreshing dips in the pool between excursions. Activities include trekking, birdwatching, canoeing, horseback riding, and photo-safaris, all conducted with expert local guides.
You will met at Cuiaba Airport this morning and transferred to Araras Ecolodge, driving the scenic Transpantaneira Park Road. While crossing the area, it is possible to spot lovely sights of the local flora & fauna. On arrival at the lodge, you will be met with a welcome drink and have time to settle in to your accommodation.
Late this afternoon, enjoy a guided hike within the surroundings of the lodge, reaching the Mirante da Garça, a 12m high observation tower for an unequalled view of the sunset. After dinner, a star gazing trek, listening to the sounds of the Pantanal.
After breakfast, take a photo safari through private dirt roads towards the Clarinho River. Reaching its banks, board a canoe and paddle down the river, exploring the forest that grows by the riverbanks and mangroves. Here lives a colony of “ariranhas” – giant river otters. With some luck, you may spot a family playing with their babies and teaching them how to swim and fish. Chance of fishing the elusive piranha, not an easy task, but fun. Enjoy a barbecue lunch under the shadow of the trees (*). Hammocks are available to enjoy a “siesta”.
Return to the Lodge in time for the afternoon tea. Later on, trek the Howler Monkey trail to the Howler Monkey Tower, our highest observation point – 25 m high -, for a magnificent view of the sunset. After dinner, join a night drive in search of nocturnal animals.
After breakfast, enjoy a horseback ride, which will allow you to explore the diversity of the Pantanal landscape including some flooded areas of the Pantanal plain. The Pantaneiro horse are docile and has adapted, through the centuries, to eat with its nose underwater. In this region, the horse is the Pantaneiros’ best friend, a daily companion during work and leisure. Return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, trek the Rondon Trail towards the 13 m high Jabiru Stork Tower, where you can watch a Jabiru Stork nest. Return to Araras Eco Lodge for dinner and overnight.
In the morning after breakfast, get to know a different area of Araras Private Natural Reserve, by trekking the Ronco trail. After lunch, join a 2 to 3-hour photo safari towards the South of the lodge, on a safari open truck, in search of the fauna along the Transpantaneira Park Road. Check a list of the wild animals you have met, with your guide.
Rise early to witness for the last time the awakening of the Pantanal at dawn. Breakfast and departure at 7h30 or 12h30 to Cuiaba, with stops along the Transpantaneira Park Road for photos and a last glimpse of this unique ecosystem.