Pantanal Escapes

Pantanal Lodges and Fazendas

Cattle ranches and Fazendas are one of the best ways for experiencing the Pantanal. Aside from providing a comfortable base for exploring the region's wildlife, it provides visitors with an opportunity for immersion in pantaneiro lifestyle, cuisine and culture.

Lodge Activities


Most lodges offer planned visitor activities, although these might vary by local, season, and the experience/facilities of the lodge. They typically include horse riding, fishing for piranha, wildlife treks and jeep safaris. Some lodges also include other options such as boat rides, canoeing and diving.

  • Some activities involve additional cost for use of equipment and guides. It's strongly recommended that you verify what is/isn't included in your stay at the time of booking to ensure no unpleasant surprises.
  • Guests may want to tailor activities to their tastes or to accommodate special needs. Again, confirm this at the time of booking. Tailoring activities can prove difficult if you're going to a lodge that serves larger groups.
Horse Riding
This is generally a slow guided trek on local Pantaneiro breed horses. Although these horses are small and don't initially look impressive, the breed is sure-footed trekking through the waters of the often-flooded landscape. One advantage of travelling on horseback is that the local wildlife tend to regard the horses as just another animal - often ignoring the riders on their back. This can allow you to get quite close to wildlife without spooking them. Be prepared to get your legs wet as the horses pass through ponds with the water reaching half-way up their flanks.

Fishing
Catching piranha is a favourite pastime for tourists - although the equipment varies by location. Some lodges have proper fishing rods, whereas other (budget) operators will provide their own home-made versions possibly just consisting of fishing line wrapped an old beer can. However, even this simple home-made apparatus can prove effective for catching large numbers of piranha and piraputanga. The piranha that you catch will likely be used by the lodge's chef to make Caldo do Piranha (or piranha soup).

Those with with an interest in sports fishing might aim for larger game fish such as dorado, pacu and pintado. This will require better fishing equipment, heavier duty lines, and potentially a local fishing licence. Check with the lodge to ask about fishing options, and if they have guides, boats, and the equipment available. Note: In addition to cattle ranches you'll also find specialist fishing lodges and barco-hotels.

Wildlife Treks
Walking tours and treks are a great opportunity to see wildlife - although this option isn't for everyone. Although much of the Pantanal consists of open grasslands, you might occasionally need to pass through small stands of forest, water and climb over fences. These treks are a great opportunity for photography, and to see animals - getting up close and personal with the smaller varieties such as the coatimundi, armadillo and Pantanal's famous jacaré. Although the treks aren't too onerous, taking a light jacket or long-sleeved shirt (and/or insect repellent) is a good idea to help protect you from mosquitos encountered when passing through forested areas.

Jeep Safaris
This is another good option for viewing wildlife since they allow you to cover more territory in less time (and in relative comfort). Four-wheel drive vehicles are used for travelling across the grasslands and along farm tracks. Tracks and dirt roads are ideal for viewing wildlife since animals such as snakes and lizards become much easier to spot once they leave the tall grass. The ditches along the roads are also a favourite for jacaré and capybara.

Facilities


Pantanal lodges will vary in the nature and quality of facilities available. Most tourist fazendas now have Internet and wif-fi but don't expect it to be fast. Your best bet is to check the lodge's website, and online reviews and comments from past guests.

Cuisine


Lodges will typically serve local cuisine, including fish, along with Brazil's famed BBQ. Check our Food page for a sample.

Northern Pantanal


Barão de Melgaço


Name

Description

Pousada do Rio Mutum
Mimoso-Capoeirinha Km 15, Barão de Melgaço
www.pousadamutum.com.br

Stylish and well-reviewed Pousada close the historic town of Mimoso and the Pantanal lakes of Baía Chachororé and Baía Sia Mariana. Good reputation for wildlife, birdwatching and fishing.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Baguari
Mimoso-Capoeirinha Km 13, Barão de Melgaço
www.pousadabaguari.com.br

Close to Pousada do Rio Mutum. Not ideal for wildlife.
See review.

Hotel Fazenda Arara Azul
Pirigara River
www.hotelfazendaararaazul.com.br

Comfortable (though remote) lodge for fishing and wildlife located on the Pirigara River, a tributary of the São Lourenço. Access is by plane or by boat.
No reviews available.

Pesqueiro e Pousada Piquiri
North bank of Piquiri river on MT/MS border (near Sonora)
www.pousadapiquiri.com.br

Remote fishing lodge on the border with Mato Grosso do Sul. No direct road access. Access is 45 mins by boat from Porto Jofre, or by air taxi from Cuiabá.
See Trip Advisor reviews.


Poconé / Transpantaneira


Name

Description

Pousada Piuval
Transpantaneira, Km 10
www.pousadapiuval.com.br

Comfortable and well-developed eco-lodge on a 7,000ha ranch that's been in the Eubank family for 150 years Hyacinth Macaws, Giant Anteaters, puma, black howler monkeys and Azara's night monkey.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Portal Paraíso
Transpantaneira, Km 17
www.portalparaiso.com.br

Economical option on 870ha property. Not fancy but still a great location. Also has camping and day-use options available. Some activities such as canoeing at extra cost but reasonably priced. Good sightings of wildlife.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Araras EcoLodge
Transpantaneira, Km 32
www.araraslodge.com.br

Rustic yet very comfortable and professional lodge with knowledgeable English-speaking guides on a 2700ha property. Visitors have reported ocelot, tapir, marsh deer, coati, armadillo, opossum and howler monkeys, plus a wide array of birdlife. Also run cafe Barara which is a good place to stop if driving the Transpantaneira.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pouso Alegre
Transpantaneira, Km 33
www.pousalegre.com.br

Another economic option. Simple accommodation but well reviewed. On a 11,000ha property with varied landscapes and packed full of wildlife. Visitors have seen tapirs, ocelots, hyacinth macaws,and marmoset. 310 species of bird, and 35 species of snake recorded. Owner is a herpetologist.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Estancia Vítoria
Transpantaneira, Km 38
www.pantanal.ch

Also known as Pousada UeSo Pantanal. Good wildlife but mixed reviews.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Canto do Arancuã
Transpantaneira, Km 38
www.pousadacantoarancua.com.br

Relatively new 22 room pousada set in a diverse environment combining cerrado grassland, forest, lakes and rivers - ensuring a good range of wildlife viewing options.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Rio Claro
Transpantaneira, Km 42
www.pousadarioclaro.com.br

Not fancy but a great base with knowledgeable staff half-way along the transpantaneira for treks to see wildlife. Tapirs, Anteaters, Macaws, Monkeys, Otters and wide range of birdlife. Safari treks and kayaking available.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Pixaim
Transpantaneira, Km 65

Currently closed
More of a fishing lodge and not ideal for wildlife. No Reviews available.

SouthWild Pantanal
Transpantaneira, Km 67
www.pantanalwildlifecenter.com

AKA: Pantanal Wildlife Center and Fazenda Santa Tereza. Slick tourist operation run by American Charlie Munn. Visitor sighting havee included Giant Otters, Hyacinth Macaws, Capuchin and Howler monkeys. SouthWild also run the (expensive) Jaguar Research Center closer to Porto Jofre, so can offer combined packages.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Puma
Transpantaneira, Km 110
www.pumalodge.com

Economic option, and fairly basic. Some rooms lack aircon. No river, so the pousada's boat is based on the Cuiaba river about 40km south. Wildlife viewing opportunities but some negative reviews.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Jaguar Eco-Lodge
Transpantaneira, Km 112
www.jaguarreserve.com

Remote and a little rough around the edges - but compensated by great wildlife viewing opportunities. There's a greater chance of seeing jaguars this end of the transpantaneira.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Camping Jofre
Transpantaneira, Km 147

Camping ground associated with the Hotel Porto Jofre.
No Reviews available

Pantanal Jaguar Camp
Transpantaneira, Km 147
www.pantanaljaguarcamp.com.br

Basic no frills camp (though it does have Internet) for those willing to forego luxuries for a good chance of seeing a jaguar.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Hotel Porto Jofre
Transpantaneira, Km 147
www.portojofre.com.br

This hotel is pretty much all there is in Porto Jofre. Very comfortable, great reputation, and able to arrange tours in the Cuiabá river and into the nearby National Park.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Jaguar Research Center
Transpantaneira, Km 147
www.jaguarresearchcenter.com

Expensive - and an operation with an interesting history and occasionally heated rivalry with other operators. Comfortable tent camp has recently re-opened. Also operates houseboats on the river (some better than others). But, most importantly, it has knowledgeable guides and an enviable record for jaguar sightings.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

SESC Porto Cercado Hotel
MT-370, 40km from Poconé
www.sescpantanal.com.br

Anaother popular option, bigger and better appointed than other lodges. Located on an ecological research station, the hotel operates guided tours, trails and photo safaris - and includes a butterfly house.
See Trip Advisor reviews.


Vila Bela da Santíssima Trindade


Name

Description

Pousada Paço das Onças
Along the Rio Guaporé, 120km by dirt road from Vila Bela.
www.pousadapacodasoncas.com.br

Remote lodge in an area with notable fishing and wildlife. Accessible by dirt road, and by small plane.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

  
Multimedia Links

Seasonal Variations and Location


Visitors should be aware that the Pantanal isn't a uniform environment. Wildlife viewing opportunities will vary depending on location and season. Ranches along the Transpantaneira in the Northern Pantanal (and especially those in the wettest areas closest to the Cuiabá river) have the best reputation for sightings of Jaguars. Other areas, notably the Southern Pantanal, have large natural grasslands suited for sightings of animals such as giant anteaters, maned wolves, emus, and bird life such as hyacinth macaws. Animals also migrate with the seasons, floodwaters and food sources - meaning that areas with abundant wildlife at one time might have few animals several months later.

The best way to deal with this variation is to ask the lodge before you book, asking what animals are likely to be around at the time of your stay. Also look for the most recent guest reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor to see the animals which lodge guests are currently reporting. Additionally, you might also want to consider splitting your stay - visiting multiple locations with different landscapes and activities.

You can also use the interactive zoomable map on our Pantanal Maps page to see approximate locations for many of the lodges.

Getting the Best Guide


Aside from the quality and location of accommodation, your enjoyment of the Pantanal also depends on the knowledge, communications, and quality of your guide. Some lodges such as Refúgio Ecológico Caiman take a proactive approach with a range of staff including professional biologists, and locals who've been trained in the handling of tour groups. In some cases your tour may consist of multiple guides - with a knowledgeable local who helps locate the wildlife, as well as a translator who can communicate with the tour groups in English. Other lodges might lack the large staff - but be compensated by the availability of an especially knowledgeable and eager individual. Once again, check the lodge's website for information about their guides, and check recent reviews for customer feedback.

Access


You should check with your lodge about the best way to access it. In many cases (especially for those based away from the paved roads), road access might only be possible in the dry season. Visits to the most remote lodges may require the use of an air taxi service which will add to the cost of your visit - and incur luggage weight limits based on the size of the aircraft and number of passengers. Prices will range from $500-$2,000 each way depending on the size of aircraft and the location you're travelling to. This cost can be split between multiple passengers if travelling in a group.

Links to several air taxi services are included below if needed.

Amapil Táxi Aéreo
Campo Grande, MS

Mato Grosso do Sul Táxi Aéreo
Campo Grande, MS

Pan Air Táxi
Campo Grande, MS

Abelha Táxi Aéreo
Cuiabá, MT

Website not functioning
www.voeabelha.com.br
Ph (65) 3682-2389

Guará Táxi Aéreo
Cuiabá, MT

No website
Ph (65) 3682-2288


Southern Pantanal


Aquidauana


Name

Description

Barra Mansa
MS-170, near Rio Negro river
www.hotelbarramansa.com.br

One of the most reputed Fazendas in the region, located on the Rio Negro between two patches of wetland - and a good spot for jaguars. About 120km from Aquidauana and only accessible by road in the dry season. Otherwise, best accessed by plane.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Embiara Lodge
MS-170, near Rio Negro river
www.embiara.com

Has stopped operating as a Lodge, but check their website (and great blog) for updates
Also located on the Rio Negro close to Barra Mansa and Fazenda Barranco Alto.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Baía das Pedras
Rio Negro river
www.baiadaspedras.com.br

Located along the Rio Negro, without (easy) road access . The lodge can help arrange pilots and 4x4 access. Highly rated, and remoteness helps ensure great wildlife viewing opportunities. This fazenda also plays host to the Giant Armadillos conservation project. Check availability of English-speaking guides when booking.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Barranco Alto
MS-170, near Rio Negro river
www.fazendabarrancoalto.com.br

Highly rated with a strong focus on conservation and research - although it remains a working cattle ranch. Has an observation tower and hides for spotting a good selection of wildlife. Over 400 bird spacies have been recorded.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Rio Negro
Rio Negro river

No longer operates as a Lodge
Still listed in some guidebooks. This is one of the most famous (and oldest) ranches in the Pantanal, and a key location for a famous Brazilian soap opera in the 1980s which helped make the Pantanal a tourist destination. Was formerly being run as a lodge by Conservation International but recently sold.

Pousada Aguapé
BR-262 Km 57 - Fazenda São José
www.aguape.com.br

Includes a diverse landscape of cerrado, wetlands, lakes and forest. A wide range of wildlife has been reported.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Caburé
Rio Negro river
www.pousadacabure.com.br

Located deep in the Pantanal, above the Rio Negro without (easy) road access. Best option is to fly in. Not reviewed as yet.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Campo Lourdes
Rio Negro river
www.campolourdes.com.br

Good location near a protected area along the Rio Negro. However, few reviews and website not working. Can contact via email: falecom@campolourdes.com.br
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada dos Monteiros
MS-419, near Rio Negro river
www.pousadadosmonteiros.com.br

Fairly easy access on MS-419, or a short plane ride from Campo Grande. Good wildlife viewing opportunities, and activities such as kayaking.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Mangabal
Above Rio Negro river
www.techimage.com.br/pantanal

Remote location deep in the Pantanal requiring experienced 4x4 or air access.
No reviews available

Pousada Pequi
BR-262 Km 48, near Aquidauana
www.pousadapequi.com.br

Positively reviewed, and relatively easy to access near Aquidauana. Website no longer active. Email: pousadapequi@yahoo.com.br or via Facebook page
See Trip Advisor reviews.


Corumbá


Name

Description

Passo do Lontra & Pousada São João
Estrada Parque
www.passodolontra.com.br

Two lodges to choose from. Passo do Lontra is situated on the Estrada Parque near Buraco das Piranhas, and is well set up for tourists and sports fishermen. It offers comfortable apartments and good facilities, with options also for camping.
Pousada São João is a second lodge located 25km further along the Estrada Parque.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Xaraés Lodge
Estrada Parque
www.xaraes.com.br

A working cattle ranch located near the Abobral river, which also caters for tourist. Activites and wildlife.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Santa Clara
Estrada Parque
www.pantanalsantaclara.com.br

Has an office in Campo Grande and Hostel, which helps arrange transport out to the Fazenda. Overall positive reviews, and includes a budget dormitory and camping options popular with backpackers. Great wildlife including rare Giant Otters (although they may move from season to season)
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Santa Inês
Estrada Parque
www.fazendasantaines.com.br

Another working cattle ranch offering activities, wildlife and the Pantaneiro experience to tourists.
No reviews available

Pousada Arara Azul
Estrada Parque
pousadaararaazulms.com.br

Appears closed at present.
Comfortable fazenda conveniently situated at on the Estrada Parque. Good selection of birds, wildlife and (occasionally) giant otters.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pousada Rio Vermelho
Estrada Parque

Has been operated as a farm stay in the past but no curent website or reviews.

Pantanal Park Hotel
BR-262, near Porto Morrinho
www.pantanalpark.com.br

A large rural hotel complex overlooking the Paraguay river. Suits both fishing tours and wildlife watching.
See Trip Advisor reviews.


Miranda


Name

Description

Fazenda 23 de Março
33km north of Miranda by dirt road
www.fazenda23demarco.com.br

Fairly simple fazenda with only a small number of guest rooms. Not luxurious but relaxed, with attentive service and a great place to get away. Includes horse riding and jeep safaris.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Baía Grande
South of Miranda at km 20 on MS-448
www.fazendabaiagrande.com.br

Traditional cattle ranch popular with tourists, with excellent food, service, and wildlife viewing opportunities (although the variety of animals change with the seasons). Includes rheas, anteaters, caiman, capybara, armadillo and macaws - to name a few. Surrounded by cerrado grassland and several small lakes.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda San Francisco
36km northwest of Miranda on BR-262
www.fazendasanfrancisco.tur.br

This easily accessible fazenda. It runs a sophisticated tourist operation alongside a working cattle ranch on their 15,000 ha property. It's also one of the few ranches catering for day-trippers, many of whom come out from nearby Miranda. It has great wildlife viewing opportunities - being reputedly one of the best locations to to view ocelots. There's good dining and 18 apartments for overnight stays. Activities include wildlife watching from 4x4 safaris, boats, night treks, horseback riding, and piranha fishing. On the downside, the popularity of its tours means it can get busy with tour groups passing through, and a few mixed reviews.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Fazenda Santa Cruz
Exit at Km 527 on BR 262 between Miranda and Aquidauana, then 28km by dirt road
www.fazendasantacruz.tur.br

One of the oldest fazendas in the area, and is an ideal place both to see wildlife and learn about Pantaneiro culture. Activities include jeep safaris, horse riding, treks, and piranha fishing. It only has a small number of guest rooms, meaning you don't need to contend with a large number of other visitors.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pantanal Ranch Mandovi
3.5km outside Miranda on BR-262. Located at km 554, in front of the Tratormil
pantanalranchmandovi.com

Good, friendly budget option run by an enthusiastic local guide of Kadiwèu indian descent, and his Swiss partner. A camping option is also available.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Pantanal Ranch Meia Lua
10km east of Miranda on BR-262. Located at km 547.
pantanalranchmeialua.com

Fazenda run by Swiss Mirjam Goring (also involved with Pantanal Ranch Mandovi). Has only been running a short time but is quickly building a solid reputation. Has all the usual Pantanal activities you'd expect - with some extra fun such as Pantanal Cooking and Caiparinha-making classes. Also arranges tours in nearby Bonito.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Refúgio da Ilha
28km northeast of Miranda.
refugiodailha.com.br

The lodge has 8 small but comfortable apartments, with air conditioning and wi-fi. It's easily accessible, located 18km outside Miranda, and a further 10km off the main BR-262 highway. It is notable as the location for several documentaries including Raising Sancho, about an orphaned giant otter cub. The lodge offers photo safaris, horse riding, boatong, fishing, and (if conditions are right) diving. The minimum stay is three days.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

Refúgio Ecológico Caiman
36km northeast of Miranda along a rural road.
en.caiman.com.br

The best known eco-tourism lodge in the region, R.E. Caiman has a reputation for well-run tours, and has been an active sponsor and participant of conservation programmes including Projeto Arara Azul. There are several guest houses on the property all offering something slightly different. It has excellent and well-trained English-speaking guides with a good knowledge of the wildlife. The large property and a range of habitats ensures that you'll see a good range of wildlife. There's also an opportunity to experience local culture by joining pantaneiro cowboys out on cattle rides, spending the night way from the usual guest house - although this depends on the time of year and scheduled stock movements.
See Trip Advisor reviews.

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Toyota Bandeirante jeep in the Pantanal
Amazon kingfisher in the Pantanal
Sunrise in the Pantanal
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Photo Credits: Pantanal Cattle Drive (iStock/Johannes Compaan)
Footer images: (
Andrew Mercer)

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