Hello guys! Brazil is huge and full of beautiful places, don’t you think? Each of them has a different personality. However, none has a force as big as the Amazon Rainforest, able to make us feel small. Every step in the forest echoes a world of exuberance, wisdom, respect, simplicity and harmony. And do you know who are the most visited tourists in the Amazon? The foreigners. As Aldir Blanc says “Brazil does not know Brazil, Brazil has never been to Brazil”. So it’s time to feel that powerful force on your skin. Come with me to the Cristalino Lodge.
To immerse yourself in this jungle adventure you need to surround yourself with care and be guided by those who knows its mysteries. That is why I chose to explore the Amazon Mato Grosso with the support of Dona Vitória’s team, a woman of great fiber who from the height of her 73 years of wisdom and respect for nature commands the sensational Cristalino Lodge, one of the most incredible hotels that I have stayed at in Brazil. Perfect for those who want to explore the vastness of the forest with great comfort.
Cristalino Lodge’s ecotourism implementation project was born in the 1990s in a Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) 30 times larger than the island of Manhattan, part of the Cristalino State Park (created in 2000 around the RPPN). The pioneering initiative was considered so special that it received the Ashoka prize in 2011. And it does not stop there, Cristalino Lodge has been ranked as one of the 25 best lodges in the world by National Geographic and has won an edition of the World Savers Awards by Condé Nast Traveler. It’s that awesome?
Eco Lodge is in an incredible region rich in both flora and fauna. It is a dream place for birdwatchers worldwide for having around one third of the species of birds cataloged in Brazil (600 species), as well as other mammals such as tapirs, capybara, porcupine, otters, and Jaguars. But keep in mind that the animals will be loose in nature and spread over a vast area. Getting to see them is a matter of luck.
To get to Cristalino Lodge, you must fly for an hour from Cuiabá to Alta Floresta de Azul (the only airline that does this stretch), drive an hour to the Teles Pires River and ride in a motor boat for another 30 minutes. The difficulty of access guarantees total exclusivity and a lot of adventure. Know that the rainy season runs from October to April.
The arrival is on a floating deck full of beautiful ombrolones, where I saw an otter walking. The hotel has 18 rustic-elegant bungalows, made in harmony with nature, with excellent ventilation, screened windows, solar heating and waste treatment. Some of the accommodation has an outdoor bath area and there is an inviting hammock on the porch. Pure charm!
Day-to-day programming includes trekking through more than ten existing trails, watching the sun rise and the forest awakening from the top of two observatories from the height of a 15-story building, watching the sun set on the river, birdwatching, getting to know a bit about jungle life, kayaking, stand up paddle, swim in the river, eat very well in the hotel restaurant which features an organic vegetable garden and delicious homemade food including lots of fish chestnuts, and relax whether on the floating deck or in the social area where a campfire is lit at dusk.
Now the question that everyone asks, “Are there spiders?” Yes. And insects as well. But, that’s part of the ecosystem. Just wear proper clothes, repellent and follow the teachings of the guides to minimize the dangers inherent to forest life. The beauty of seeing macaw parrots flying freely in the sky, of finding an otter crossing the river, of hearing the howling of the howler monkeys, of seeing dozens of birds and butterflies is so shocking that it minimizes any fear that may exist. It is a luxury to be able to experience life in this sanctuary so rich and so Brazilian.
XoXo and see you all next week.