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South Pantanal, Brasil

Caiman Ecological Refuge

About the Pantanal

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ABOUT THE CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL REFUGE:

LOCATION
The Caiman Ecological Refuge is located in the Southern Region of Pantanal, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, more precisely in the “Pantanal of Miranda”, near the city of Miranda, one of the 11 sub-regions of that vast plain sustaining 210,000 Km2, shared by Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

HISTORY:
From Miranda Estancia, to Estancia Caiman ranch, to Caiman Ecological Refuge.

The Miranda Estancia ranch, which previously occupied the land, where today stands the Caiman Ecological Refuge, was founded in 1910 by British investors, who wished to create a large beef cattle farm in the Pantanal.

Around 1950, this area was purchased by Brazilian investors, who kept the original farm and its activity until 1985, when the Miranda Estancia ranch was divided amongst its owners, making the original farm disappear, and, in its place, arose 5 new farms. Among these was the Estancia Caiman, that currently harbors the Caiman Ecological Refuge with an approximate area of 130,965 acres.

The name Caiman Ecological Refuge or CER, aims to bring together, under the brand, three different activities that share the same physical space:

  1. Estancia Caiman, which is an extensive beef cattle operating ranch
  2. Caiman Lodge, a pioneer ecotourism operation in Brazil
  3. The nature conservation program, which sponsors three main scientific projects: the Hyacinth Macaw Project, the Jaguar Conservation Project, and the Blue-fronted Parrot Project. It also develops wide contact and exchanges with universities. On the property there is a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony encompassing 5,600 ha (13,837 acres).

All these activities are under a broader name – Caiman Ecological Refuge – aiming the exchange of information and experiences among themselves, creating a network for a gradual interdependence amongst all them. The main result of that is a wider control of the economic and environmental actions, which should always try to reach the sustainability of the human being’s presence in the Pantanal in harmony with nature.

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ENVIRONMENTAL INTERPRETATION CENTER:
In order to guide the guests visiting the ranch through the best of the Pantanal and help them to understand the CER concept the Environmental Interpretation Center Dra. Aracy Klabin was created. It is a fascinating photographic exhibition elaborated and developed by the recognized nature photographer and cameraman Haroldo Palo Jr., where socio-cultural information on the Pantanal, as well as information and images about the flora and fauna and many curiosities are exposed.

At the Center, more details about the life of the Pantanal native people, their everyday activities, and their importance in the regional economy, their work and the dedication towards his activities can be learned.

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An amazing timeline shows the Brazilian and the Pantanal History, from the discovery and colonization until our days. This is one of the most impressive details of this exhibition, as it makes it possible for both Brazilians and foreign visitors to learn a little about our roots.

One section of the exhibition shows the differences of the Pantanal’s annual rainfall cycle and its four different seasons, the dry, intermediate and rainy seasons, and how this cycle creates many different life opportunities to all species inhabiting the area.

Still at the Center, there is a fantastic introduction to the Pantanal’s biodiversity, with wonderful photos of our fauna, including all the groups, like arthropods, fish – with a creative virtual aquarium, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and a special room with the nocturnal creatures.  The background sound makes one feel really inserted into this rich ecosystem.

With all this information, the Environmental Interpretation Center will make the visitors more conscientious of the Pantanal’s conservation, for Brazil and the world.

The Environmental Interpretation Center is named Environmental Interpretation Center Dra. Aracy Klabin, honoring Caiman Ecological Refuge’s owner’s mother.

LODGES:
Caiman Ecological Refuge comprises 02 lodges with independent operation. All lodges offer the same contact with local fauna, flora and culture, as well as the same standard of service, with swimming pool, air conditioned in the rooms, private bathrooms with hot shower, alternated 110 volts energy outlets, living room with TV and DVD, bar and restaurant.

Upon reservation confirmation, guests do not know in which Lodge they will be staying at; it is up to Caiman Ecological Refuge management to allocate and accommodate the guests at one of the lodges, according to availability, excepted in Private Home basis (from March, 01st to June, 12th 2010 and from September, 13th 2010 to January, 02nd 2011).

BAIAZINHA Lodge: built on stilts it is structured like a bird with opened wings. Located at the banks of a clear-water lake, it provides a magical and cozy ambiance for its guests. It has 06 guestrooms.

CORDILHEIRA Lodge: built with bricks and mounted on stilts, it is located at the margins of a Cordilheira forest, perfectly integrated with the surrounding natural scene. It has 08 guestrooms, being 02 of the suites.

At the main farm’s infrastructure, you will also have at your disposal telephone services, fax, infirmary, gift shop, radio communication base, which covers the whole property providing safety to the community and our guests.


HOW TO VISIT THE CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL RESERVE:

The Caiman Ecological Refuge has two operating seasons. 

Season Months Programs
High mid-June to mid-September "Fixed entry-exit" program
Thursday to Sunday
Sunday to Thursday
Low March to - mid-June
and
mid-September through December
"Private Home" program
Daily in and out
with 3-night minimum stay

GETTING HERE:

Transportation from and to Campo Grande airport is provided on a set schedule ONLY.  Arrivals and-or departures on any other day are available at a supplemental surcharge. The drive is 147 miles, taking about 4 hours each way with a 20 minute refreshment break en route.

Program Days Depart time
"Fixed Entry-Exit" program Sundays & Thursdays From Campo Grande to Caiman 1:00PM and 5:00 PM
From Caiman to Campo Grande 6:00 AM and 10:30 AM
"Private Home" program any day private basis any time

CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL REFUGE ACTIVITIES:

REGULAR ACTIVITIES:
The regular trips and excursions at Caiman Ecological Refuge are unique, and you will experience them intensely. 

The activities at Caiman start very early in the morning taking full advantage of the best portion of the day to observe the wildlife. After that, the guests return to the lodges, have lunch and rest. When the afternoon passes by and temperature cools off, it is time to go out for an afternoon excursion, another good time to see Pantanal and enjoy the wonderful local sunset.

Walking tours:
Walking trails in the woods: taken in many trails in the surrounding areas of the lodges, the walk in the forests allows the guests the observation of small animals and the local vegetation. It is the activity that provides the greatest contact with the environment.   Reinforcing the ecological focus of its activity, the Caiman Ecological Refuge alternates the trails, minimizing the impacts upon the environment.

Caiman Tour:
it is a walk through the surroundings of the main area of the ranch, corral, research centers, school and Environmental Interpretation Center. The final destination is the Paizinho’s bridge, one of the most traditional places of the Caiman Ecological Refuge, the spot by excellence to observe the Spectacled Caimans. It is a magical moment in which the guests get up close to the caimans with all the safety provided by the guides, getting to know up close one of Pantanal’s symbols.

Biking:
The Pantanal is very flat, enabling agreeable bicycle rides. On the roads or trails, the silence is the advantage of such a means of transportation. The bicycle paths and distance vary according to the group profile.

Photographic Safari:
taken on specially adapted vehicles, this activity enables the access to the most distant places of the farm. During the photographic safari, it is possible to observe the peculiarities and the contrasts of the vegetation, as well as a large variety of animals.

Canadian canoe trip:
in the bays of the ranch. The guests row in three-seat Canadian canoes and contemplate the nearby vegetation and water birds. It is also a good opportunity to listen to many the local sounds, besides admire the fantastic Pantanal’s sunset.

Nocturnal Spotlighting:
provides the opportunity to observe nocturnal animals. One of the highlights is when the caimans are spotted, whose eyes present impressive red reflex.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
Horseback riding is an optional activity and a specific responsibility form must be signed by guest before the activity. This optional activity must be booked and paid directly at the lodge.

PLEASE NOTE: Upon check-in all guests must sign a disclaimer acknowledging the risks involved in the activities and that will respect all the instructions given by guides (caimaner and field guide).