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.