Holiday review by Mr. Philip O’Brien
Name: Mr. Philip O'Brien
Date of trip: 29/08/2015
Number of people: 2
AS we said the trip round Rio on a clear cloudless day was excellent as was Iguazu seeing the sunrise on the tower at Christilino while watching troops of Spider and Howler monkeys will always be remembered as will watching Tapirs at close quarters at Christilino and the brief appearances of Jaguars in the river near Porto Joffre and watching the many eyes of caymans at night and the fire flies above the waters on our way back to the Jaguar Eco Lodge.
Rio and Iguazu were above expectations, we had a great start to the holiday this was continued at Christilano, We had a few issues at Araras wher we felt there was room for improvement and the experience at Jaguar Eco Lodge was disappointing but a big factor in this was the extreme weather that made the Trans Pantaniale impassable on our first day and a half and made it difficult for the rest of the time there.
Paul was very helpful and informative about options available however I would have one concern and that was when we arrived at Iguazu airport for our 5.10 flight heading to Christolino via 4 different locations we were surprised to see a flight leaving 3 hours later direct to Cuiaba which would have required only 2 flights and a lot longer time in bed and breakfast. We were also surprised that we could of got a direct flight to Sao Paulo from Cuiaba on the way back instead we flew vis Brasilia and Belo Horizonte. However I must say that we were very impressed by the Azul airline flights leaving on time and no issues with luggage excellent service from them. We had one flight with Gol from Rio and found that the flight was fully booked when we went to check in fortunately there was help there and we got an upgrade.
We have made comments individually about our guides based on the 5 locations we stayed at , they varied from excellent to average and we were generally disappointed with the guides in the Pantanal.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
All the lodges worked to protect the environment and the local wildlife.
The places you stayed
A good hotel in a good location easy access to the airrport and the national park, breakfasts were fine. Due to the early departure of our flight mentioned elsewhere they were unable to provide us with breakfast on the day we left. The guide we had for the falls Ceaser was very good and helpful and helped to arrange evening entertainment for us on the day we arrived..
Everything about this lodge was excellent , the bungalow was very good, the food was excellent considering how far away from any town it was and our guide was terrific in all the work she did. Excellent viewing of wildlife on the river and from the towers but due to the dry weather limited viewing of wildlife on the trails in the forest.
The lodge was in a good location and the room was fine and the swimming pool was useful in the heat of the day. Our guide at the lodge at times was very good but seemed to lose interest quickly. I was surprised that activities started at 7.30 when the best viewing time for wildlife was coming to an end. The lodge seemed to be unbending in its approach to activities. We had no say in what we did, which was annoying one day when we were initially told we were going out in the boats for the day and this was replaced by a vehicle safari which ended at 10.00 after starting at 7.30, little wildlife was seen. generally surprised how little wildlife we found at this lodge.
This was a disappointing experience but part of this was due to the inclement weather which led to us being marooned in the lodge for most of the first 2 days we were there. There was limited trails available to walk and a vehicle safari only used one road which was repeated on the night safari on both occasions the wildlife was close to non existent. On the 2 days we were able to get to the river to view Jaguars one day was OK and we were able to see some wildlife including one jaguar as the sun was setting on the second day the weather was cold and over cast and we had a very brief viewing of a jaguar and only managed to find one family of otters, thios wasn't helped by us having the slowest boats on the river and having a boatman one day who couldn't speak a word of english and no guide. The food at the lodge was adequate however with the heavy rains ont the evening of the day we arrived our room was flooded soaking my suitcase. They had only 2 guides and with the numbers at the lodge this was inadequate. generally it was an amateurish operation very different to the rest of our experience on the holiday.