Caiman Ecological Refuge

 

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is a sustainable eco-lodge located on a 53,000 hectare ranch in the heart of the Brazilian wetlands called the Pantanal.  The flood plane is a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to more than 650 species, thousands of varieties of butterflies, 80 species of mammals and more than 250 species of fish.  In 2000, the Pantanal wetland was designated a World Natural Heritage and World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Caiman Lodge macaw

 

Guests staying at the Caiman Lodge have the unique opportunity to see the elusive jaguars.  Projeto Onçafari is a non-profit conservation initiative that aims to promote ecotourism in the Pantanal by habituating Jaguars in order for guests to witness the fascinating behavior of these beautiful animals from a safari vehicle.

Jaquar Caiman Lodge

Jaguar Caiman Lodge

Most recently, clients of mine saw four jaguars on their very first day at the lodge and I was thrilled to receive the following photo from them.

Jaguar at Caiman Lodge by Steve Ice

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is considered the premier lodge in the region and is a must stop on any wildlife enthusiasts’ itinerary.  I recommend at least 3 nights and 4 days at the lodge.

Baiazinha Caiman Lodge

Contact Jill for itinerary planning and reservations.

Jill Siegel Named to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s Top Travel Specialist List


Named to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s  World’s Top Travel Specialists List CN-Traveler-cover-201215 Consecutive Years

MONTCLAIR, NJ – NOVEMBER 2012– JILL SIEGEL, owner of South American Escapes has been named one of the world’s Top Travel Specialists by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for the 5th consecutive year.  By combining firsthand experience and 30 years of knowledge within the Brazilian Travel Industry, Jill provides the type of expertise needed  to create  seamless and unique travel experiences for her clients.  Out of thousands of candidates, 150 made the list this year.

“To be included on the list, travel specialists need to remain ahead of online travel sites, and they need to offer a combination of insider advice, local connections, added value, and special access,” said Condé Nast Traveler Consumer News Editor Wendy Perrin.

“Working within the Brazilian Travel Industry for the last 30 years has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience and I am honored to be recognized by Condé Nast Traveler for being one of the world’s top travel specialists,” said Jill Siegel.

Brazil Travel Specialist – Jill Siegel, focuses on exclusive out of the way places that provide the very best in the Brazilian hospitality and tourism sector.  From coordinating travel to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to arranging private travel arrangements for clients as diverse as Susan Sarandon or the great great grandson of Charles Darwin–Jill’s six years of living and working in Brazil makes her a true insider.

Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Travel Specialists list began as a service travel directory 12 years ago, yet it has turned into a must-have list of the most impressive, knowledgeable, and experienced travel specialists in the world.

Each year, Condé Nast Traveler Consumer News Editor Wendy Perrin leads a team of editors in evaluating applicants.  Listed travel specialists have undergone a rigorous screening process that includes a 47-question application with sample itineraries and client references, then continues with phone interviews and, in most cases, road-testing by Condé Nast Traveler staff.  Perrin receives hundreds of letters annually from around the world reporting back on the trips that were planned by these specialists, and you can read the most recent ones on Wendy Perrin’s blog at perrinpost.com.

About Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler does not accept free travel and accommodations, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously.  The result is travel the way consumers experience it — good and bad, with reporting that is fair and honest.  Condé Nast Traveler has a circulation of over 800,000 and is published by Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

Click here to read the reviews of Jill’s client’s trips!

[email protected]

Phone: (973) 783-2277
Toll Free in USA and Canada: (888) 462-7428

Call Jill for custom designed itineraries to Brazil and expert travel planning.

Pousada Maravilha – Fernando de Noronha – Brazil

maravilha-for-blog3Located 200 Nautical miles off Brazil’s northeastern coast, Pousada Maravilha is the first 5 star luxury inn located on the tiny island paradise – Fernando de Noronha. Blending seamlessly with its natural surroundings, Pousada Maravilha’s 5 private bungalows and 3 suites offer breathtaking views of the stunning turquoise bay. Muted tones with colorful accents highlight the simple interiors and set a mood of quiet tranquility and reflection. This beautiful island is the perfect destination for those who love diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, hiking or honeymooners who want to escape from it all and enjoy some of the best secluded beaches in South America.

 

maravilha-pool maravilha-viewRooms: 5 private bungalows and 3 suites. Cable TV, AC, balcony

Services: Restaurant, swim up pool bar, massage, tour services, transfers, excursions

Activities: Diving, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, fishing, boating, bird watching, horse back riding, island tours, and bicycling.

mirante-do-forteClosest Airport: Flights daily from Natal and Recife airports

Google Maps: Fernando de Noronha

Image Gallery: Fernando de Noronha

Rates: Please contact Jill for current rates.

Back in the Trees Again – Ariau Amazon Towers

ariau-best-arial-viewIt had been two years since my last visit to Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel and I was more than eager to get back in the trees! Upon my arrival I was greeted by the “welcome committee”, a playful troop of woolley monkeys with the irrepressible Natalie in the lead. She immediately took to my shoulders and gave me the appearance of a Russian with one of those funny fur hats!

 

natalie

suite-divina-sunlitThe staff had fun making sure the rest of the rambunctious troop did not enter the reception area and kept them distracted on the boat launch. After convincing Natalie I would be around for a few days she released the monkey grip she had on my head and let me check-in and find my suite. This time I had the pleasure of the “Suite Divina”, with a 360 degree panoramic view into the rainforest canopy! This is truly heaven, three days with only the sounds of tropical birds and monkeys howling in the distance! Good-bye phone, fax, computer! Hello! Piranha fishing!

 

 

amazon-sunsetFinding my way down Tower 5 and onto the catwalk suspended over Ariau Creek, I spotted two bright red macaws perched on a tree. Spider monkeys scurried playfully at my feet as I carefully and quickly entered the restaurant on top of Tower 4, making sure none of my little friends would slip in as well. One of the absolute delights of Ariau is the regional Amazonian cuisine served up buffet style three times a day. At breakfast, an array of tropical fruits that are not even known outside of the region are displayed beside a large selection of warm homemade Brazilian pastries, breads and soft cheeses. A delicate white manioc pancake the color and texture of lace is enjoyed lightly spread with sweet butter. Homemade jams and jellies with exotic Indian fruit names such as cupuaçu, jaca and acai add just the right touch. Then there is the Brazilian Cafezinho.  Need I say more?

jimmy-and-roslyn-carter-at-ariauLunch and dinner feature the absolutely exotic Amazonian fresh water fish, the two-meter long pirarucu and the delicious tambaqui both prepared in the regional manner. On one wall of the restaurant are displayed hand carved plaques honoring illustrious guests who have also been initiated into Ariau’s magic – Bill Gates, Isabel Allende, Jennifer Lopez, Prince Frederick of Denmark and Jimmy and Roslyn Carter among many others.

After lunch our little international group pile into a motorized canoe with Ricardo our guide and we’re off for the afternoon to explore the flooded forest. As we leave Ariau Creek and approach the Rio Negro an indescribable feeling of vastness fills me with wonder as we approach the mouth of the Anavilhanas Archipelago – the largest grouping of fresh water islands in the world. Here the river becomes an ocean at 17 miles from shore to shore. Pink dolphins leaping from the water create a magical landscape only equaled by a Peter Max painting. The sky seems to go on and on forever. We enter the flooded forest and the motor is turned off, all at once the wonder of the rainforest explodes around us as we navigate the backwaters. The primordial forest, vines, lianas, bromeliads, butterflies – this is why I came, it is all right in front of me. I have returned to the place that I love. post by Jill Siegel

ariau-global-aerial-new

 

http://www.ariauamazontowers.com/