Set in a wild, remote corner of the Pantanal, family-run Fazenda Barranco Alto is a sprawling lagoon-pitted ranch the size of the island of Jersey, but the cosy accommodation for visitors consists of just six guest rooms. The yawning wetlands, where the farm is situated, host a mind-boggling 4,791 species of wildlife, and the lodge’s guides will send you out in a 4WD, by motor boat, on horseback, in a canoe or on foot in search of it.
With luck, you’ll identify hyacinth macaws, with their gorgeous electric blue plumage, lanky storks, families of giant otters and the grinning caiman’s mating rituals. Maybe even a jaguar – but that’s a long shot. You can bird-watch from a hammock, or sit beside a river quietly fishing. At the end of the day you can cool down with a dip in the velvety dark waters of the Rio Negro and move on to an ice-cold sunset caipirinha.
This is a genuine farm experience – the one-storey en suite accommodation is rustic, but you’ll feel part of the landscape, and be able to engage with the authentic Pantanal cowboys who work there, as well as the members of the family. All your meals are home-cooked using traditional ingredients, many of them plucked from the fazenda’s own garden.