THE TRIP

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Brazil -

The au­thor trav­elled to Brazil with Aud­ley Travel (01993 838610, au­d­ley­travel.com). A sim­i­lar 13-day tai­lor­made trip costs from £7,929pp (based on two shar­ing), in­clud­ing flights, trans­fers, four nights at Caiman Eco­log­i­cal Refuge, one night in Cuiabá, two nights at Cristal­ino Jun­gle Lodge in the south­ern Ama­zon, one night in Rio and three nights at Casa Cairucu, Paraty. The price also in­cludes the Hy­acinth Macaw Project and a pri­vate ex­cur­sion with Onça­fari at Caiman.

Get­ting there & around

LATAM (latam.com, 0800 026 0728) flies from Lon­don to São Paulo from £630 re­turn. Bri­tish Air­ways (ba.com) also flies di­rect. From São Paulo, there are flights to Campo Grande (from 1hr 50 mins), the main gate­way to the south­ern Pan­tanal, and Cuiabá (from 2hrs 20mins), gate­way to the north. Do­mes­tic car­ri­ers in­clude LATAM and Azul (voeazul.com.br). In­de­pen­dent travel in the Pan­tanal is dif­fi­cult. Roads are un­sur­faced and most land is pri­vate. Trans­fers are usu­ally ar­ranged by tour com­pa­nies or lodges.

Cost of travel

Lodges of­fer pack­ages that usu­ally in­clude food, ac­com­mo­da­tion, trans­port and ac­tiv­i­ties. It is eas­ier and of­ten cheaper to book via a tour op­er­a­tor, who can ar­range lodge stays. Brazil tends to be cheaper than the UK; beers cost from BRL3 (65p), bot­tled water around BRL5 (£1).

Ac­com­mo­da­tion

Caiman Eco­log­i­cal Refuge (caiman.com.br) is in the south­ern Pan­tanal, 240km west of Campo Grande. The au­thor stayed at Caiman’s Ba­iaz­inha Lodge, which is set over­look­ing a lake. In­cluded ac­tiv­i­ties and guid­ing are ex­cel­lent; ex­cur­sions with the Onça­fari team and the Hy­acinth Macaw Project cost ex­tra and should be booked in ad­vance.

Food & drink

The Pan­tanal is cat­tle-ranch­ing coun­try, so ex­pect a lot of beef. Lodges such as Caiman also of­fer plenty of va­ri­ety with fish (cat­fish), beans, veg, fruit and veg­e­tar­ian dishes. Ex­pect to be­come ad­dicted to pão de queijo – cheesy gluten-free dough balls. End the day with a re­fresh­ing caipir­inha, made with cachaça (a sug­ar­cane-based spirit), sugar and lime.

What to pack

Don’t for­get binoc­u­lars – though Caiman does have spares to hire to guests. In­sect re­pel­lent is ad­vised, es­pe­cially out­side of dry sea­son. The au­thor took trousers, a shirt, a gilet and socks from Craghop­pers’ re­pel­lent-im­preg­nated Nosil­ife range – highly rec­om­mended.

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