Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso (lodge)
the Pantanal,
Brazil

This is a nice lodge with a great location on the river.

the accommodation...

This hotel is in a good place to explore the Pantanal, as it is about halfway along the length of the Transpantaneira (Pantanal) highway. For the one price, you get accommodation, meals and some guided activities. The place does host both family groups and day trippers on tours, so there can be a few people here. Not much English is spoken by the owners/managers, but I bumbled through. The location more than makes up for any of this.

activities...

One of the best things to do is just sit on the balcony overlooking the river. The managers stock the bird feeder regularly, and a range of birds come in throughout the day, and also often hang around in the surrounding shady trees if you want to get more natural shots.

a bird eating like a muppet (that is; a lot of the food is falling out of it's mouth), in the Pantanal (Damon Ramsey)
Yellow-billed Cardinal, Pantanal (Damon Ramsey)


Kingfishers and snakes can be seen along the shore...

Ringed Kingfisher, (Damon Ramsey)


and there are caimans and frogs at night...

a caiman lurking in the Pantanal; luckily they do not consider humans as food (Damon Ramsey)

There a number of places you can walk. You can walk along the road, which I found quite safe and productive at night. You can walk around the lodge, as there are various trees in flower that will attract hummingbirds. You can explore the open fields at the back of the hotel where you can might see Brazilian Rabbits, and if the fig trees are in fruit there may be lots of birds there, including parrots....

Peach-fronted Parakeet (Damon Ramsey)

There are sometimes capybara lying around... 

capybara are the world's biggest - and sleepiest! - rodent (Damon Ramsey)

The main walking tracks are in the riverine forest scrub along the river, and this can be good for birds...

Southern Crested Caracara, (Damon Ramsey)
Plumbeous Ibis poking it's schnoz into the grounds of Mato Grosso (Damon Ramsey)

The river cruise is usually in the morning, and they often see Giant River Otters, which they train to come out by feeding.

how to get there...

There are tour operators that conduct wildlife tours into the Pantanal, and some stay here. There are companies that take bookings overseas or in Brazil. I met a few of these tours and tour guides, and they seemed very good, more like an African Safari model than say an Amazonian tour. If you have the money, go for it.

However, for the naturalist that wants to do it themselves, and at their own pace, the best way is to hire a car. The Pantanal is spread through a few different countries, but the largest section is in Brazil. You can fly to the closest large town, Cuiaba, then hire a car here and drive in (via the small town of Pocone). It is about 150 kilometres and takes a couple of hours. Of course, once inside the Pantanal proper, you will probably be stopping a lot. The motel is located halfway along the Transpantaneira 'highway' into the Pantanal region. It is located on the right (driving in) on the southern banks of a major river (I think it is the Pixiam River, which flows into the Rio Cuiaba.

a warning...

As you drive along the length of the 'Pantanal highway' you will be crossing many bridges. These offer great views, but they are also rickety and full of nails. It is a good idea to get out and check the bridge, especially for any sharp nails sticking out. I once drove over a bridge and punctured two tyres on one nail at once. And I only had one spare tyre. But that's another story.