My mother, my 15 year old son and I spent four nights at Caiman in August. We had a great time in general but there were a few things that we didn't like. Positive things: 1). the wildlife - because of Project Oncafari (more on this below) it is relatively easy to see jaguars. We got to see 3 jaguars on 3 days. We also saw capybaras, giant anteaters, agoutis, coatis, 4 oncelots, tuiuius, hyacinth macaws, alligators, different types of deer, peccaries etc. 2). the guides - the guides were very good (a special thank you to Thiago and the Oncafari guides Jessica, Marinelson and Cinthia) and did everything they could in order to show us as many animals as possible. 3). Projects Oncafari and Arara Azul - the goal of these projects is to study and protect the jaguar and hyacinth macaws of the Pantanal. It is possible to join them for a day and look for jaguars and macaws (we did the Oncafari and loved it. Before looking for the jaguars, we got to see a presentation about the project and what they do. We really liked it). 4). the staff of the lodge - they are all wonderful.
Now to the 2 (important) things we didn't like: 1). our room - Caiman is a very expensive lodge (probably the most expensive in the Pantanal area). We have been to Anavilhanas Lodge (Amazon) and Pousada Maravilha (Fernando de Noronhas) and expected Caiman to be similar to them (they are all in the same price range). At Anavilhanas we felt immersed in the forest (we could lie in a hammock in a glassed porch that was surrounded by trees) and at Maravilha we could see the Sueste Bay from our bed and the hot tub. By contrast, when we opened the window of our bangalow, we could see some hoses on the grass, a fence and the staff house. In the front of the bangalow there is a daybed but we didn't use it because it is not private at all (to get to the dining area and the other suites one has to walk/drive past our room (room 4). Caiman has 3 lodges - Baiazinha, Cordilheira and the Main Lodge. We stayed at the Cordilheira because the rooms are bigger (we were three). Apparently the rooms at Baiazinha have a better view. Another problem with the room is that it is not well appointed. For example, the wall in the shower stall has cracks, we needed a piece of paper to hold the door of the wardrobe in place etc. For the price we paid, we expected something much better (the couple who stayed in room 5 and with whom we did the drives had the same complaints). We learned that rooms 4 and 5 will be torn down and that new rooms will be built in a more pleasant area. That is a good idea; however, since they know these rooms are subpar, shouldn't the guests staying there pay less? 2). the truck used for the drives - the lodge does have safari cars (like the ones used in Africa) that fit 9 people (one person being the guide). So, if more than 8 guests are going on a drive, they use a truck instead. This truck is truly horrendous - noisy and extremely uncomfortable (one has to sit sideways on a bench). We had to use this truck twice and we felt that the whole safari experience suffered because of that. Again, for the price we were paying, we expected the safari cars to be used all the time (we guess the truck is used so that the owners don't have to hire more drivers and guides).
I think that with new rooms and cars Caiman could be a truly amazing lodge (it already has a wonderful staff and great wildlife). At the moment, however, it is only average.
- Also Known As:
- Caiman Ecological Refuge Hotel Campo Grande