This review’s a little late in coming; I stayed with my girlfriend in August 2013, and have only now been reminded to write a review after looking through the photo’s and remembering how amazing it was. I booked the trip after contacting the owner (Mirjam) through her website, and decided to stay in the ranch for 2 days, the Estrada parque hotel (for exploring the river Miranda) for 2 days, and then on to Bonito, which Mirjam also arranged. Our flight got in around 1am, so we were picked up from the airport and taken to the ranch about 2.5 hours away. As we pulled into the ranch a jaguarundi legged it in front of the car, which we took as a good omen.
The Ranch itself was great, the rooms were on the same level as a decent pousada that you’d find anywhere in Brazil. Pretty big, private bathroom, nice beds. There’s a pool, which is great for staying cool during the day. We were there in the “winter” and it was 35C for the first two days, so it was greatly appreciated. The food was exceptional, the cooks on site cooked some of the best traditional food we had during a month in Brazil.
Activity wise we had a walk round the ranch, which was good to get a feel of the landscape, but was a bit disappointing animal wise, yielding a solitary capybara. Later that day we went horse riding just before dusk to try and spot giant anteaters, which was amazing. And hilarious (turns out I’m not much of a horse rider). Our guide was Andre, a mysterious cowboy type character, and Penny who is an Australian working at the ranch, and a bit of an all round legend. She said she wanted to come to see the anteaters, but I think was coming to act as a translator between our guide, who had ok but not perfect English, and ourselves, who had no Portuguese. That was appreciated, as it would have been easy just to send us off with the guide, and it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. We covered a lot of ground on the horses, but didn’t spot any giant anteaters. We did, however see the rarer southern anteater and some capuchin monkeys in a woodland area on the way back.
The next day we went to the Estrada parque estate to spend a day on the river seeing wildlife, and the next day on a jeep safari/hike. I’ll keep this short as my fingers are starting to hurt. The river was amazing, probably the best part of trip. It was just me and my ladyfriend on a tiny boat with the guide (one of those long jungle explorer boats) smashing it through miles of tropical river. The jeep safari was pretty good as well, and the forest walk was enjoyable. Especially with the guide going constantly off-piste with a machete. Al together, animal wise, highlights were; giant otter, piranha (went fishing for them: 10 man points), armadillo, monkeys, maned wolf, loads of birds of prey/kingfisher/heron species, about a million caimen, coatis, wild boar, tarantula, hyacinth macaw, jabiru stalk, deer. Your eyes start to hurt after a day of concentrating on animal spotting, but to be honest you could probably just let the guide do it, they don’t really miss much.
The thing that stood out throughout the stay was the way Mirjam and Penny actually seemed bothered that you enjoy your stay, and actively tried to make sure that was the case. For example, during our stay there was also a big Brazilian family, who were great people, and we got on really well. However they were a bit noisy and we were slightly worried that this may affect spotting the wildlife. The easiest thing for the lodge to do would be to put us all together, as the jeeps/walking tour would have fit us all with the same guide, so have been cheaper for them. They actually split us up (without us asking), so every activity was just me, my girlfriend and a guide. This made the whole experience much more personal and enjoyable. There were also other examples, like when my girlfriend mentioned during dinner that she was a fan of pao de quiejo, and the next day at breakfast the chef had freshly made her some.
On the day of the hike we stopped off at another lodge to have lunch and then hike on the land there. It was a big ranch in a great spot, can’t remember the name. The standard was way below Meia Lua, there were about 15 backpackers packed into this jeep about to leave, and the food was nowhere near the same level. I imagine it was a bit cheaper than what we paid, but you’re probably only going to be in this part of the world once, so you should make sure you do it properly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- See, hear, feel, taste, smell, touch and enjoy this natural paradise. The Pantanal Ranch Meia Lua is a bed and breakfast located on a working ranch (fazenda) in the "Portal do Pantanal" (Gateway to the Pantanal - 15kms from Miranda Centro).Our guests can expect: High quality tours in small, private groups; A multi-lingual team fluent in Portuguese, English, German, French, Spanish & Hebrew to make your stay a carefree experience; Organised transfers and easy access to/from Campo Grande, Corumba and Bonito; Fresh gourmet food obtained from local sources and almost no mosquitos!We have a large population of wildlife, including Giant Anteaters, Caimans, Monkeys and Capybaras as well as Toucans, Macaws and other native birds that can be spotted throughout the year. We organise both on-ranch activities (Horse Riding, Fishing, Nature Walks, Night Safari Walks and Tree Meditation), as well as Day Tours into the Estrada Parque, Rio Miranda, Rio Vermelho and other nearby areas of the Pantanal and Bonito.We offer 7 double rooms all equipped with air-conditioning and ensuite private bathrooms as well as an outdoor swimming pool, rich gardens with palms and coconut trees, a restaurant, free WiFi, bicycle usage, a watch tower with panoramic views of the Pantanal sunset, a lake with boat dock and pergola, and a covered hammock area for relaxing. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pantanal Ranch Meia Lua Miranda, Brazil