Fazenda Barra Mansa is a small, family-run lodge in a remote part of southern Pantanal. It is a 3-hour drive on unpaved roads from Campo Grande airport, or an hour by Cessna aircraft landing on the private grass airstrip. This flight is a wonderful introduction to the wetlands: you can really appreciate the vastness of the Pantanal wilderness from the air.
The fazenda was built in the 1940s as a cattle ranch and is now managed by the founder’s grandson, who is very eco-conscious. You can expect a warm welcome here. The position of the lodge is unrivalled: truly isolated from human interference, it sits right on the banks of the Rio Negro which flows into a flood plain. There is very little river traffic, an abundance of wonderful natural landscapes, and oodles of wildlife. It is not uncommon, even in one visit, to see giant otters, giant anteaters, toucans, hyacinth macaws, caiman, capybara, and perhaps even the elusive jaguar.
Being a guest here is almost like staying in a private home: there are just four guest rooms situated in the gardens next to the main house. The rooms are decorated and furnished in the original ranch style: simple but comfortable with air-conditioning and a shared veranda. Families with children are very welcome.
Guided excursions are offered on horseback, on foot, by boat, or by safari truck. Since the lodge entertains so few guests at any one time, they can be tailored to suit you: why not enjoy breakfast on the riverbank after an early start for bird watching?