Having explored over the past fortnight this year’s best Latin American wildlife destinations, we had to share with you the best wildlife lodges in Latin America to ensure you can get the most out of your wonderful natural surroundings. These 6 luxurious places to stay aren’t just a place to rest your head at night. Their unique location, focus on sustainability and impeccable services and amenities will add to your overall Latin America travel experience. From an exclusive Swiss-style chalet high–up in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest to luxurious Galapagos yachts get ready to discover the best places to stay in Latin America’s top wildlife destinations for 2015.
♦ Refúgio Ecológico Caiman, Pantanal
Located in the Pantanal wetlands in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Caiman Ecological Refuge is a stunning eco-pioneering lodge. Established in 1985 as the first eco-tourism project in the southern region of the Pantanal, the Refúgio Ecológico Caiman combines the beauty of the surrounding nature and local culture. The 53,000 hectare ranch features two lodges, the contemporary Cordilheira Lodge and the more traditional Baiazinha Lodge. With an estimated 40 jaguars and over 350 species of birds on the ranch, both wildlife lodges offer direct contact with the Pantanal flora and fauna and provide never-ending views of the Pantanal landscape. The on-site, local and multilingual nature guides share their extensive knowledge of the Pantanal wildlife and culture. From canoeing and horseback riding to twilight safaris and bird watching activities, the Caiman Ecological Refuge will allow you to explore the abundant Pantanal wildlife in the lap of luxury.
♦ Rincón del Socorro, Esteros del Ibera
The Rincón del Socorro lodge is the best and most luxurious eco-estancia in the Esteros del Ibera wetland area. Loosely based on the concept of a traditional Argentine estancia (ranch) the lodge is made up of a series of buildings dispersed around the main building. While the rooms and layout of the Rincon del Socorro lodge is fairly simple owing to its estancia soul, the service and accommodation is of the highest quality. The real beauty of the lodge can be found in its location as it is situated on the border of the wetlands, welcoming an abundance of animals and activity in the immediate area. With exotic birdlife and capybaras roaming the lodge’s grounds, the expert bilingual nature guides are on hand to help you realize your bird spotting dreams or learn more about one of the most interesting natural reserves in Argentina.
♦ Galapagos Yachts, Galapagos Islands
Take to the high seas on a luxurious Galapagos yacht as you explore the verdant and unique Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos boats come in all shapes and sizes from small 8-20 passenger boats, medium 40-50 passenger boats and larger 90+ passenger boats. There is no real winner when it comes to deciding which Galapagos vessel is the best as it is all down to your own personal preference. The smaller boats such as the Sea Star Journey ((formerly the Grand Odyssey (16 pax.)) and the Eric, Letty, Flamingo (20 pax.), offer a more romantic and personalized experience as well as having the flexibility of being able to veer off course to get closer to a group of whales or dolphins. Medium sized boats like the Isabela II (40 pax.) and La Pinta (48 pax.) offer a happy medium between the different Galapagos boat sizes. Offering the stability of a larger vessel while like the smaller boats being able to anchor closer to land, the luxurious medium-sized boats provide the best of both worlds. There are only a handful of large Galapagos boats like the Explorer II (100 pax.) that take travelers around the islands but they do offer by far the most stable experience and have a greater variety of on-board facilities and leisure space.
♦ Hotel Belmar, Monteverde Cloud Forest
Surrounded by the vibrant green mountains of the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica is the beautiful Belmar Hotel. The cloud forest and its variety of wildlife make Monteverde one of the most verdant destinations of Costa Rica. Located high up in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, the Hotel Belmar offers spectacular views over the treetops and surrounding green landscape. Constructed in the style of a Swiss Chalet, the hotel provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere and offers its own nature trail into the Monteverde Cloud Forest, allowing you to come face to face with Costa Rica’s exotic wildlife. With bedrooms overlooking either the Nicoya Gulf and Peninsula or the rainforest, the Hotel Belmar offers a relaxing slice of nature’s peace and unparalleled serenity.
♦ Anavilhanas Lodge, Brazilian Amazon
Set deep in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, the Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge is located on the world’s largest fresh water archipelago on the famous Rio Negro. The luxurious lodge’s location in the Anavilhanas archipelago means that the Anavilhanas Lodge is near to many of the prime Amazon wildlife spots for seeing monkeys, sloths and caiman. Blessed with the captivating sights and sounds of the surrounding Amazon Jungle, the Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge has 16 cottages and 4 superior bungalows to choose from. Guests of the Anavilhanas Lodge can also explore the unique flavors of the local Amazon cuisine thanks to the lodge’s exclusive restaurant. From swimming with pink river dolphins and fishing for piranhas to hiking and canoeing through the forest with local expert nature guides the exclusive Anavilhanas Lodge provides you with the best that the Brazilian Amazon has to offer.
♦ Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Peruvian Amazon
Adjacent to the lush Tambopata Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a natural haven situated in the heart of a 17,000 hectare private ecological reserve. Waking to the symphony of tropical birdsong, exploring the verdant Amazon Rainforest by day and ending your days falling asleep to the sounds of the Amazon is all part of this natural Amazon experience. The Reserva Amazonica Lodge is a pioneer in Peru’s eco-tourism and research while providing an unforgettable and luxurious introduction to this amazing environment of unparalleled biodiversity. From jungle treks and paddling through the quintessential Amazon waterways to walking along treetop canopy bridges and bird spotting; your expert nature guide will show you the real beauty of the Peruvian Amazon.
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