My aunt and sister planned a trip to visit me during the time I am living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is a once in a lifetime trip, so where do we go? After much research, we chose to go to the Pantanal, Rio and Foz do Iguacu. While all 3 were wonderful, it is the Pantanal we will never forget. We chose to stay at Barranco Alto, because of all the fantastic reviews in Trip Advisor (how did we plan trips before)?
We flew from Sao Paulo to Campo Grande on November 3, 2012. The rainy season officially begins in November, but we only had one short afternoon rain during the 4 days were were there and it was nothing major. We took a jeep from the airport to the fazenda on the way in, and as others have said, it is worth doing once. It is a 6 hour, 42-gate adventure in the best of circumstances. Vava, or driver, not sure if I spelled his name right, was great. He took very good care of us and we saw a lot of animals and birds on the trip. After about 1 1/2 hours on roads, you begin to drive through pasture after pasture, thus the gates, as you enter and leave different ranches. As someone else recommended, we took turns opening and closing the gates and this takes a lot of time off the trip, but if you prefer, the driver will stop to open each gate, drive through, and then stop to close them. Not the most efficient method, but your choice.
When we arrived it was about 2:00 pm. We were warmly greeted by Marina and Lucas, the owners and Carol and Hugo, our guides. The accommodations are clean and totally acceptable. There is air conditioning and you will need it; very hot! We had lunch almost immediately and the food is fantastic. Every meal was wonderful and there are always fresh juices (the lime and maracuja are my favorites) and deserts were yum.
The excursions are first thing in the morning and late afternoon each day. In the middle of the day we rested. Excursions are usually 4 hours, unless you prefer them to be shorter. After our first day, we had 2 full days and we left, the morning of the forth. The entire trip was as if it were scripted. Each excursion we would see something unique that we did not see any other time and we really saw about everything we had hoped to see.
We saw lots of birds, too many to name, but the hyacinth macaw, red and green macaw, the burrowing owl, the roseta spoonbill, ibis's, egrets, herons, many parrots, ducks, hawks, roadrunner..... Then we saw monkeys and cabybaras, caimans. On the river we saw the river otter, dear, a toucan. On our second night excursion we saw the giant anteater... so amazing... but strange. Then there were crab-eating foxes and emu's or rheas. As it was spring, everything had babies so that was nice. On our final evening excursion, we saw not just one, but four jaguars and 2 pumas. The jaguars had just killed a feral pig, but had not even had a chance to start eating when we arrived. It was a male, a female and 2 young cubs. We were so excited as you are told not to expect to see a jaguar, but still, we did. So as I said, it was as if the entire trip was scripted to provide us with the maximum wildlife viewing and variety. I know not everyone is that lucky, but we were truly blessed to experience all that we did. We loved every minute that we stayed at Fazenda Barranco Alto.
We left by plane and were very glad not to go back by jeep. It was nice to see everything from the air.
My personal thanks to Marina and Lucas, to Carol and Hugo, our wonderful guides, Fernando, our river guide and last, but not least, Lydia (studying the giant anteater), our constant driver for all expeditions, who was always fun to be with. To all the staff, who cooked and cleaned, they made everything perfect. I cannot say enough about this experience or this place. If you are a beach resort person, do not come here, you will complain the whole time, but if you want to experience new things and love nature, birds, animals, etc.. you will absolutely love the Pantanal. If you are thinking of going to the Amazon or the Pantanal to see wildlife and birdlife, there is no comparison, choose the Pantanal! This will always be a highlight vacation for me!
- Also Known As:
- Barranco Alto Eco Hotel Fazenda Barranco Alto
- Barranco Alto Eco Hotel
- Barranco Alto Eco-Lodge Fazenda Barranco Alto, Brazil
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Exclusive lodge in the heart of the Brazilian wetlands, the Pantanal, an astonishing variety of wildlife and amazing nature scenery. Come and explore it by horse, hiking and canoeing - find over 400 bird species and the last pristine river. See giant anteaters, capybaras, tapirs, giant otters and with some luck jaguars... Owners live on the ranch. ... more less