Beyond the Amazonian jungles, Brazil’s natural beauty is put on display in Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland area. Located mostly in the state of Mato Grosso, Pantanal encompasses between 54,000 and 75,000 square miles. This lush mix of marsh, plain and river can be compared to the Okavango of Botswana, boasting an amazing biodiversity. An impressive concentration of endemic, threatened and endangered species reside here, an absolute treat for naturalists and nature photographers. Over 600 species of birds make for choice bird watching and the tremendous butterfly population fills the air with flashes of color. River cruises reveal Brazilian tapirs, peccaries and capybaras grazing along the banks, otters catching fish, lurking jungle cats and several species of monkey spying from the trees. Stunning experiential travel is paramount in Pantanal, with no shortage of amazing excursions available.


In recent years, many threats to the area have emerged, from exotic animal smuggling to irresponsible sport and commercial fishing. The Cristalino Jungle Lodge, one of Brazil’s premier luxury destinations, has been diligently working towards conservation in the region since its inception. The lodge’s efforts to educate and enforce their eco-friendly policies in the region earned the 2008 World Savers Award from Cond√© Nast Traveler. Local outreach programs illustrate the importance of preservation while simultaneously empowering the communities, with proceeds from recycled goods invested back into the communities and ecosystem research in the region. Solar power at the lodge means generators are used sparingly and an advanced network of water treatment systems minimizes the impact on natural resources. Composting, responsible laundering and local food sourcing are further examples of the lodge’s simple practices designed to preserve and conserve this fragile habitat. The entirety of the private reserve is split into areas exclusively reserved for low-impact tourism, research and animal protection.

Like Cristalino, the Pousada do Rio Mutum practices responsibility in the tourism industry. The lodge is located directly between two of the most popular lakes in the region. Fishing is abundant in the area, controlled with help from the lodge’s expert guides and naturalists. Excursions to the nearby lakes and bays net exotic piranha, barbado, pintado, and jurupoca, among many other types of fish, always following strict sizing guidelines, catch limitations and seasonal rules. Navigation is made possible by canoe and low-impact motorized boat – a safer alternative for the fragile rivers and bays.

Responsible luxury travel is simplified with Ker & Downey’s Brazil: Off the Beaten Path itinerary. Designed to highlight the best of the beautiful Pantanal, take an unforgettable journey in search of the lush forests and riverways that lie unexplored outside the big cities. Contact us to begin planning your trip and explore a new kind of Brazil with Ker & Downey.