Travel - Where to Go
Innovative use of local materials and foodstuffs ( such as delicious dessert of green papaya and cane juice) create a homely and intimate fell, and the availability of reflexology and craniology sessions is in keeping with the relaxed ambience. But Araras is more than a place to unwind; its 3,000 hectares are packed with wildlife. In Portugues, arara means `macaw`, and a pair of hyacinth macaws nets 20m from the breakfast veranda, sharing a tree with great horned owls and roosting lesser bulldog and Pallas`s mastiff bats.
Habituated capybara wander around the gardens; one day, a puma was observed hunting them. Knowledgeable, English-speaking guides escort visitors to the best wildlife sites. An elevated boardwalk enters good-quality forest, and is regularly used by an ocelot as well as humans. Bird specialties such as white-lored spinetail, band-tailed antbird, Mato Grosso antibird and helmeted manakin are easily seen. The boardwalk runs past a pool thet entices thirsty South American tapir. This area is good for black-tailed marmoset, Azara`s agouti and, at night, grey four-eyed opossum.
Just 1km from the lodge, a tower offers a superb panoramic view over seasonally flooded wetland and drier grassland. A black howler troop roots on the tower, offering close views at dawn and dusk. Below, look for treats such as capped heron amidst plentiful waterbirds. Marsh deer and feral pigs graze peacefully nearby, while jacare loiter. Lucky visitors have seen jaguar-rare this far north- and giant anteater. From the tower, a trail extends thrugh sandy scrub-a good place for nine-banded armadillo, South American coati, black-striped tufted capuchin and bare-faced curassow.
The property extends east of the Transpantaneira into the Passo da Ema, where dry grassland offer a great chance of both anteaters. Night drives usually encounter both brocket deer, tapeti and crab-eating raccoon. You can also explore on horseback. Trails lead through dry forest with tayra, black howler and black-tailed marmoset. Boat trips are good for both other, sungrebe and agami heron. Some visitors stay overnight here in a basic tented riversite camp or in the pretty guesthouse at Passo da Ema.