SAVANNAH + PANTANAL: Park and Araras Ecolodges > 5 nights (LS 5.1)
The Pantanal , one of the last great wildernesses, is the largest contiguous wetland on the planet, declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, is South America’s primary wildlife sanctuary. With a total area of 240,000 sq km located in the center of the continent, the Pantanal is a biogeography mixing bowl, containing elements of the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforests, the Brazilian Savannah and the Paraguayan Chaco. This fantastic biodiversity includes: 698 birds species, 100 mammals, 177 reptiles, 40 amphibians and over 250 fish species.
The heartland of Brazil covers an area equal to Western Europe (2,000,000 sq km), and its original vegetation is called “CERRADO”, considered the richest savanna in the world, due to its high plant diversity and endemism. Most of Brazil’s big rivers find their sources here. It’s an area of enormous ecological importance with many areas of spectacular beauty, as the National Park of “Chapada dos Guimarães”, only 55km North West from Cuiabá airport. Its biodiversity includes: 837 birds spices, 161 mammals, 120 reptiles and over 10.000 vascular plants from witch 44% are endemic.
Arrival at Cuiaba airport. Reception and transfer in AIR CONDITIONED VAN, to the lowlands of PANTANAL. First 100 km on paved road until the charming “gold miner’s” town of Pocone. “Pit-stop” for some snack, toilet and picture taking, of its central square colonial buildings and cathedral. Onward to the ARARAS ECOLODGE for another 25km on the TRANSPANTANEIRA, unpaved Park Road. Enjoy first meetings with the Pantanal’s plain, its flora and fauna.
DAY 2 CANOE TRIP / SAFARI TRIP & PANTANAL LOCAL MUSIC
7h30: After breakfast departure on a “safari-truck” towards Corichão River, 4.5km from the Lodge, for a canoe trip. Guests are invited to paddle, in parties of two, their own canoe, enjoying the scenery at there own rhythm. Lunch at river camp. Return to Lodge for afternoon “siesta”.
15h00 Tea and snacks before afternoon activity.
15h30 Departure on “safari-truck”, south along the Transpantaneira Park road, for further wildlife spotting.
19h30 Dinner at Lodge, followed by tea around open fire place or slide presentation on Pantanal’s cycles.
DAY 3 HORSE BACK RIDE / “COWBOYS” SHOW & JUNGLE WALK
5h30 Sunrise walk, time to enjoy the amazing symphony produced by the different birds and monkeys, announcing a new day. Breakfast.
8h30 Horse back ride trough the plain, the woods and forest, learning about this incredible “mosaic” of plants, composition of all main Brazilian ecosystems, reason of Pantanal’s rich wildlife and fame.
Lunch at Lodge. ( If weather allows and if guest are interested we often serve, organic buffalo meat barbecue at Arara’s ranch camp, with cattle “rodeo” and “laço” presentation, in the best pantaneiro’s style).
“We are proud of our pure pantaneiro’s horses and buffalo breading, as well as for the maintenance of the local “peões” (cow-boys) tradition. These are some of the aspects that qualify Araras Eco Lodge as a real “ecotouristic product”.
Hammock siesta, followed by a walk to Arara’s famous “Howler Monkeys Tower”, a 25m high wooden tower, build amid dense forest, home of three monkeys spices and from where you have a fabulous overview on the plain, forest and surrounding area.
19h30 Dinner at the Lodge, followed by a night drive to look for nocturnal wildlife.
DAY 4 CHAPADA DOS GUIMARAES TABLELAND National Park
Morning departure in air-conditioned minivan, North East, towards the tablelands of Chapada dos Guimarães and its National Park. Lunch at local Restaurant, with enchanting view on Pantanal plain.
After that, a short drive trough the historical town of Chapada, visit the first church of the State of Mato Grosso, possibility for handcraft shopping. Restart our drive along the Chapada do Guimarães cliff to the “mystical” Stone City. Enjoy a “bird eye” view over the entire National Park. With some luck we may see or at least hear the red & green macaws that nest on those sand walls. Further drive trough the National Park to the PARK ECOLODGE. Check in. Late afternoon light hike to enjoy sun setting behind the 850m high “São Geronimo” Peak in front of the Lodge. Dinner and night at Lodge.
DAY 5 CHAPADA DOS GUIMARÃES NATIONAL PARK
Day devoted to wonderful hikes trough the National Park. The wind and rain sculpted intriguing shapes in the sand stones covered with rich “cerrado” (savanna) vegetation, its bird’s songs and crystal clear water falls add to the enjoyment of the area. The hike ends at the 86m high water fall “Veu de Noiva” where we’ll enjoy a traditional meal at a local restaurant, looking down to a huge canyon. Dinner and night at the Lodge.
DAY 6 CHAPADA DOS GUIMARÃES > CUIABÁ AIRPORT
Morning at ease for personal undertakings with the assistance of your guide, before being transferred to Cuiabá airport.