Rustic yet sophisticated, the lodgeis attractive and well maintained. Innovative use of local materials and foodstuffs (such as delicious desert of green papaya and cane juice) create a homely and intimate feel, and the availability of reflexology and craniosacral session is in keeping with relaxed ambience. But Araras is more than a place to unwind; its 300 hectares are packed with wildlife. In Portuguese, arara means `macaw` and pair of hyacinth macaws nests 20 m from breakfast veranda, sharing a tree with great horned owls and roosting lesser bulidog and Pala`s masiff bats. Habituated capybara wander around the gardens; one day, ap puma was observed hunting them. Knowleidgeable, English speaking guides escort visitors to the best wildlife sites. An elevated boardwalk enters good quality forest, and is regularly used by ocelot as well as humans. Bird specialities such as white-lored spinetail, band-tailed antbird, Mato Grosso antbird and helmeted manakin are easily seen. The boardwalk runs past a pool that entices thirsty South American tapir. This area is good for black-tailed marmoset, Azara`s agouti and at night great four-eyed opossum. Just 1 km from the lodge, a tower offers a superb panoramic view over seasonally flooded wetland and dryer grassland. A black howler troop roosts 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 yacare loiter. Lucky visitors may have seen jaguar – rare this far north – and giant anteater. From the tower, a trail extends trough sandy scrub – a good place for nine banded armadillo, South American quati, black-striped tulted capuchin and bare-faced curassow. The property extends east of the Transpantaneira into the Passo da Ema, where dry grasslands offer a great chance of both anteaters. Night drives uaually encounter both brocke deer, tapeti and crab-eating raccoon. You can also explore on horseback. Trails lead trough dry forests with tayra, black howler and black-tailed marmoset. Boat trips from Baia dos Cervos on Clarinho River are good both for otters, sungrebe and agami heron. Some visitors stay overnight here in a basic tented riverside camp or in the pretty guesthouse at Passo da Ema. Heading south, you immediately pass a small care under the lodge`s ownership. Barara offers a shady retreat with revitalizing drinks and snacks. Keep an ear out for hyacinth macaw and white woodpecker. If you are not staying at the Ecologe, you can make arrangements here to visit it`s boardwalk.