Hidden amongst huge tropical trees on a small bend of the Cristalino River in northern Mato Grosso State, the remote and rustic Cristalino Jungle Lodge is one of South America’s foremost conservation projects and eco-lodges. Arrive by motorised canoe and walk up the path to a series of simple but unexpectedly comfortable and spacious solar-powered wooden bungalows set in a jungle clearing.
The surrounding private reserve is home to an astonishing 580 species of bird and is also particularly rich in butterfly species. There are also excellent opportunities to spot the local mammals, including tapir, capybara, anteaters, river otters, deer and agoutis. Seven primate species (Night Monkey, Dusky Titi Monkey, Brown Capuchin, Red-handed Howler Monkey, White-Whiskered Spider Monkey and the endemic Red-Nosed Bearded Saki Monkey) also call the reserve home.
A series of trails (22 miles in total) and river trips take you to the six different ecosystems within the reserve, that vary from rocky savannah to dense primary rainforest. There is also a spectacular 50-metre canopy tower, arguably the best in the Americas, ideal for viewing the colourful birdlife. The tower allows the viewing of many rainforest layers and, on the top, you stand above the canopy. The sight is remarkable, especially during sunset and sunrise.
Accommodation at Cristalino Jungle Lodge is in eight standard rooms and four bungalows with private bathrooms. The lodge is located in the midst of the forest, with accommodations that blend with the native jungle.
The highlights are the bungalows and the superior rooms, which were carefully designed in wood, with ceramic tile floors, presenting the perfect balance between design and comfort. All rooms have solar water heating and biological waste treatment, which emphasizes the preoccupation with environmental sustainability.
Sustainable practices are present in the solar heating, gray-water treatment system, black-water treatment system and in the roof design with air-escapes to maintain a cooler temperature.
|Standard Room |
Standard rooms have two or three beds with rustic and simple regional decoration, fan ceiling and private bathrooms. Each room has 23m2 and accommodates from one to three people. Each block has four rooms with opposite entrances.
These rooms are slightly smaller than the Private Bungalows and don't offer sofas. Each bungalow has two comfortable master beds - choice of queen size or twin - reading table, ceiling fan, large screened windows and natural ventilation. Each room has a private modern bath facility with separate wash basin, toilet and glassed-in shower with a view to the private outdoor cold shower. In the entrance there is a small veranda with a hammock.
The Bungalows are perfect to provide a rich experience with the surrouding environment and is ideal for families, couples and friends. Two comfortable master beds - choice of queen size or twin, and two additional sleep sofas for children or small adults, ceiling fan, large screened windows and natural ventilation. Spacious modern bath facility with separate wash basin, toilet and glassed-in shower. This bungalow also has an outdoor cold shower with garden view. In the entrance there is a spacious private veranda with a hammock.
This accommodation is similar to the private bungalow, however it has an additional outside bathtub, with hot and cold water, in a private garden setting-ideal for relaxing at the end of the day. Each room has 68 sq meters (731 sq feet) distributed in one bungalow, allowing for a greater privacy. These bungalows can accommodate from one to four people (two adults with two teenagers) with comfort.
Children of all ages are welcome at Cristalino Jungle Lodge. However, due to the length of the transfer to the lodge and the nature of the excursions we would not necessarily recommend it for very young children. Older children are sure to enjoy the adventurous nature of a stay in the rainforest and looking out for the local wildlife.
Facilities at Cristalino include a floating deck for swimming, wildlife viewing and relaxing, living room and library, restaurant and bar, 50-metre canopy tower, screened treehouse and binoculars for rent.
A variety of activities are included in all stays at Cristalino, including birdwatching, butterfly observation, hiking into the dense surrounding rainforest, canoeing, swimming and boat trips.
When to travel
All year round destination. The climate is hot and humid throughout the whole year. Between June and November, it rains less (although it is a tropical rainforest and therefore can rain at any time) and it is hotter. From December to May the rainfall is more intense and the water levels increase and large marshlands form both in the archipelago and on the mainland. The flooded land reaches the highest levels between March and April and the lowest between August and October. When the land is flooded, more areas can be accessed by boat however during the 'drier' season beaches are formed along the archipelago and there is more chance to see wildlife such as caiman and capybaras on the river banks.
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Location and directions
Alta Floresta, Brazil
Cristalino Jungle Lodge is set amidst pristine forest in Brazil's south western Amazon region. Hidden amongst huge tropical trees on a small bend of the Cristalino River in northern Mato Grosso State.
How to get there
A 2-hour flight from Cuiaba to Alta Floresta followed by a 2-hour road and boat transfer to Cristalino Jungle Lodge.