Journeys worth taking

Pantanal, Brazil

Refugio Ecologico Caiman

Eco Lodges

Pantanal, Brazil


Eco Lodge



Trip Details

Guided Group Excursions


$965 (per person)

Pygmy miles


Pygmy miles
Practical info


Because the wildlife start early, your day starts early. Today's excursion is a hike to Paizinho’s bridge. The bespeckled bodies of Caiman crocodiles squirm underneath you and it's here that you understand where Refugio Ecologico Caiman gets its name. 

Caiman are a staple of the farm, growing to 10 feet long, but that's not the only fauna here. Huge anaconda, marsh deer, capybaras, giant anteaters and jaguars can also be found.

In fact, thanks to a Habituation Programme of the Caiman Refuge and the Onçafari Project, the jaguars are quite used to vehicles and humans. So much so, that they have been obvserved sleeping near vehicles and even breast feeding young. 

Each day you will explore the pantanal with two day activities and one night excursion. You willl sleep in one of the eco friendly - yet very well appointed - lodges. In each lodge, there is a social area with TV, DVD and games. There is also a pool and deck, surrounded by the vast expanse of the Pantanal landscape. 

The Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony Dona Aracy permanently protects 5,400 hectacres of pristine pantanal wetlands...



Taking the many trails in the surrounding areas of the lodges, allows guests the opportunity to observe 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.

Wildlife Viewing

The abundance of wildlife in the Pantanal, make it a prime viewing area for fauna. The lodge organizes Caiman Tours, Photographic Safaris, Nocturnal Wildlife Spotlighting, Jeep Safaris and a Jaguar Program.

And also

  • Canadian canoe trips
  • Astronomy workshops
  • Optional Activities (with extra cost):Biking, Birdwatching Tour


The Pantanal is a wetland area of approximately 54,000 square miles, that occupies areas of western Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. The name is derived from the Portuguese word pântano, that means bog or swamp. Much of the area is submerged underwater during the wet season, which helps to support a vast array of flora and fauna. Over 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates are thought to live in the Pantanal.

A true pioneer in eco tourism, the Caiman lodge is siutated on a working cattle ranch (Estancia Caiman) four hours from Campo Grande. In 2004, the Private Reserve of Natural PatrimonyDona Aracy permanently protected 5,400 hectacres of pristine pantanal wetlands from cattle and agricultural. According to National Geographic News, about 98% of the Brazilian pantanal is privately owned, limiting the conservation efforts of the Brazilian government. Therefore, the conservation work of facilities like Caiman is important in protecting the natual wetlands of the Pantanal and supporting these facilities sends a clear message that conservation can be an economically viable solution.




Depending on the number of guests, weather and fauna activity, the leisure department will establish the schedule for the stay. The exact program will be explained during check-in. Each day, guests will be able to join two daylight tours and an evening activity. All excursions are led by Caimaners, bilingual (English and Portuguese) and natural science graduate guides, and local guides, who have a deep knowledge of local nature and regional culture. 

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. A list of possible activities:

  • Caiman Tour: it is a walk through the surroundings of the main area of the ranch, corral, research centers 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. 
  • 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.
  • Jeep Safari: offers a more intimate contact with wildlife. Realized in 4x4 vehicles with adaptations for safari, gives guests a close contact with animals and access to different areas of the Pantanal.

In addition, during the high season (mid June to mid September), there are two additional activities planned for guests:

  • Astronomy workshop - Around a campfire, an expert will point out constellations and planets using high powered telescopes. 
  • Jaguar Project: All guests visiting Caiman during the high season will have the opportunity to get to know about the Onçafari Jaguar Project.

Optional Activities (with extra cost):

  • 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.
  • Birdwatching Tour: Special for those who are interested in watching or photographing birds in the necessary rhythm to the search for the most rare and difficult species to be observed. 


Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

965pygmy miles

Base Miles

We reward you with 1 Pygmy Mile for every dollar you spend with us. That gives you a base of 965 Pygmy Miles.

150pygmy miles

Travel By Car

To reach the lodge from the closest airport in Campo Grande, you will either need to drive or take a small plane. We will give you one mile for every mile you drive or fly.

500pygmy miles

Sustainability and Conservation

Caiman lodge is an important pioneer in conserving the ecology of the Pantanal. We reward you with 500 Pygmy Miles for learning about the issues and challenges facing this habitat and for your financial support of their conservation efforts.

Total Pygmy Miles

1615pygmy miles



Baiazinha Lodge

Refugio Ecologico Caiman

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 standard superior guest rooms, each equipped with:

• Air Conditioning
• Ceiling Fan
• Bathroom with hot water
• Balcony overlooking the inlet

Cordilheira Lodge

Refugio Ecologico Caiman

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 05 suite guestrooms, with living room and balcony.
Cordilheira offers guests outstanding comfort and pampering, with pure cotton bed linen and towels, down-filled pillows and heated showers: a real treat after long walks in the Pantanal natural environment.

• Bedroom and living room
• Bathroom with hot water
• Powder room
• Balcony
• Air Conditioning
• Ceiling Fan

Practical info


Standard Superior Room (Baiazihna lodge) is 2,570 R$ (Brazilian Reals) per night, per room

Suite Room (Cordilheira) is 3,075 R$ (Brazilian Reals) per night, per room


This trip includes:
  • Overnight Accommodation
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Snacks during the tours
  • Non alcoholic drinks
  • Regular activities accompanied by Caimaners (bilingual guide Portuguese/ English) and field guide.
This trip does not include:
  • Alcohol 
  • Insurance
  • Transport from Campo Grande to the lodge via flight or land (Pygmy Elephant can arrange)

Service categories

Consult & Book

Pygmy Elephant provides: 

  • Transfer arrangement: from Campo Grande to Refuge Caiman and further on to other locations
  • Pre-departure support: what to pack, arranging travel insurance and informing on travel advisories
  • 24 hour customer service: if something goes wrong, we have your back
  • Best Price Guarantee: if you find a better price on the internet, we'll match it
  • Pygmy Miles: receive discounts off future travel

Some further points to consider: 

  • For large parties, the lodges can be rented out entirely (only available from January 1st to June 11th and from September, 12th to December, 31st 2016). This allows customization of activities and experiences. Inquire for rates.
  • For individuals and couples, during the high season, from June, 12th to September, 11th 2016 both lodges are available with closed packages from Thursday to Sunday and from Sunday to Thursday. During the low season only the Baiazinha lodge is available for individual bookings with daily check-in and check-out.
  • Children Policy: Children older than 08 years old are accepted. The rate of child and adult is the same. Exception: For accommodation of children under 08 years old it should be booked all the rooms from one of the lodges.
  • Accommodation: The rooms have capacity for 02 people (dbl/ twin).


not available

The Pantanal has four distinct seasons. Each one is unique and provides a different experience.

FLOODING SEASON| December to March
Torrential rains in the headwaters of the Paraguay River raise the level of the rivers, which overflow and flood up to two thirds of the plain, creating an even more exuberant landscape. This is a great time to enjoy the vast array of colors that paint the floodplain and to see waterbirds, especially jabiru storks, wood storks, ducks, egrets and herons

With the end of the rains, the waters begin to recede slowly, forming small, scattered pools. Starting in April, temperatures become milder and the nights more starry. More mammals start to emerge and populate the plains.

DRY SEASON | July to October
This is the best time to view wildlife. Anteaters, coatis and crab-eating raccoons are some of the most frequently sighted mammals. The dry landscape acquires a brownish tinge, interspersed with the beginning of yellow and pink ipé flowering.

RAINING SEASON | November and December
The first rains, quickly absorbed by the dry soil, bring the return of green to the landscape and offer plenty of food for the birds. The water level begins to rise slowly. Numerous groups of macaws, jabiru and wood storks and hundreds of species of birds teach their new-born young how to fly. Mammals start to disappear.


Join a guided tour

Each day, you will join other guests on daily excursions. All excursions are led by Caimaners, bilingual (English and Portuguese) and natural science graduate guides, and local guides, who have a deep knowledge of local nature and regional culture.

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Low

Mental Strength

Level : Low

Physical Conditioning

Level : Low

More about Caiman from Caiman

  • The Caiman Ecological Refuge is a pioneering ecotourism enterprise in the Southern Pantanal, situated on a 53,000 ha cattle ranch (Estancia Caiman) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, near the city of Miranda, 236km west from the State Capital, Campo Grande.
  • In addition to ecotourism, Caiman is involved with cattle production, as well as environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project, Onçafari (Jaguar) Project and Blue-Fronted Parrot Project, all done through partnerships with researchers and universities. It has also created a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony (RPPN), which spans almost 5,600 ha and includes a representative sample of the Pantanal’s natural characteristics.
  • Moreover, Caiman has an Environmental Interpretation Center, which is a cultural space aiming to show a complete panorama of the Pantanal’s ecosystem and a secular vision of the Brazilian history. The visitors are guided through the space by a series of corridors, whose walls are covered in images of the local culture, flora, fauna, landscapes in different seasons.

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.