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Welcome to SouthWild Amazon Lodge

A three-hour drive from the Alta Floresta airport brings you to our private, unhunted, 25,000-acre (10,000-hectare) rainforest replete with visible, charismatic wildlife that is extremely hard to see well anywhere else in the world. Our property boasts 12 kilometers (8 miles) of unspoiled riverfront on the most beautiful of the 3,000 navigable rivers of the entire Amazon. At the heart of this property lies our eight new, purpose-built, air-conditioned guest rooms with en suite hot shower bathrooms.
Amazon Wildlife Watching The Way It Should Be.
SouthWild Amazon Lodge is the first lodge in the entire history of the Amazon that checks all the boxes: 1) easy access all year from an airport that has daily jet flights from a city that ecotourists would want to visit anyway (Alta Floresta has daily flights from the “Jaguar Capital”, Cuiabá), 2) twenty-four-hour electricity from the national power grid (and backup generator, just in case), powering continual air conditioning of guest rooms, 3) total prohibition of hunting for more than 20 years (since 1998), 4) more habituated, large monkeys visible per day than anywhere else in the entire New World (mostly Gray Woolly Monkeys, White-nosed Bearded Saki Monkeys, and Black Spider Monkeys), 5) more points of access to the wildlife-rich canopy of protected tropical rainforest than anywhere else in the world, 6) guaranteed viewing of the world’s largest flying predator, the Harpy Eagle, 7) guaranteed viewing of the largest land animal in South America: the 250-kilo (550 pound) Brazilian Tapir, 8) outstanding macaw photography at a traditional palm swamp roost and nest site, 9) the most beautiful scenery of any Amazonian river seen by either the CEO of SouthWild or by Dr. Paulo Petry, The Nature Conservancy’s Brazilian ichthyologist, who has extensive Amazonian experience, 10) accessible, year-round fun, as there are never more than a few mosquitoes and the roads operate all the time.
A final, convenient aspect of the road route between Alta Floresta and SouthWild Amazon is 90% good asphalt and only 10% dirt road, and so it is extremely manageable in all seasons. This detail is important for guests who wish to see tiny, fluffy, white Harpy eagle chicks being watched over by hulking mother eagles, as that happens most often in December to June on a trip to SWA.

Highlights

Good Year Round

Visit SouthWild Amazon at any time of year. The wildlife is great at all times, there is no season with noticeable numbers of mosquitoes. SWA lies only 3h by road from Alta Floresta Airport, and the road is operable all year.

Harpy Eagles Guaranteed

SWA is the only lodge in the world that guarantees viewing of Harpy Eagles, but it might require 2-3 days of patience. Most seasons, we offer Harpy viewing at eye level from our own easy-walk-up towers, as featured in October 2020 Nat Geo.

Most Large Monkeys Per Day in the Americas

You see more large monkeys at SWA than at any other site in the Americas. Often we see a combined daily total of 80 Gray Woolly Monkeys and rare, endangered White-nosed Bearded Saki Monkeys.

The easiest, most guaranteed Tapir viewing in the world.

is needed After 4 years of constant research, we have cracked the code on how to see and photograph one or more Brazilian Tapirs at 8-13 meters, and no walking

Most Canopy Access in unhunted rainforests

In tropical rainforests, the colorful biodiversity is in the canopy, but the forest must be large and protected from hunting. We have the world’s greatest number of walk-up canopy platforms in unhunted rainforests.

Beautiful river and 24-h air conditioning

The most scenic of all Amazonian rivers, with the 900-m-wide river sprinkled with islands with mature forest, creating narrow river channels. Spacious guest rooms air conditioned day and night.
Upon arriving to Alta Floresta Airport, we start the three-hour drive west to the east bank of the mighty, 900-meter-wide Juruena River. Given the outstandingly-positive reactions by our guests, we normally spend that first late afternoon at 2-hectare (5-acre) palm swamp photographing and observing 20-30 Blue-and-Gold Macaws, 4-6 Scarlet Macaws, 10-20 Red-bellied Macaws, and other parrots and wildlife. Then we check into an air-conditioned hotel in the town of Nova Bandeirantes, dine and sleep. This site represents one of the finest macaw viewing locations in the world and is a SouthWild exclusive.
The next morning we leave after breakfast to drive the last hour to the east bank of the beautiful Juruena River, where we then enjoy our first motorboat outing. Usually we go straight to our favorite spot to photograph an iconic, photogenic Hoatzin, which looks a bit like a punk-crested, goth kind of chicken.

SouthWild Amazon Lodge Accommodations

In 2018-2019, the owner of this 25,000-acre private forest, the French government’s Forest Service, ONF, built this 8-room lodge specifically at the request of and for SouthWild, which then developed the finest rainforest nature tourism as a pilot project to permit replication and scaling-up of conservation tourism throughout the Amazon. SouthWild was chosen by the French government as their ecotourism partner because ONF wished to diversify their sources of green revenue from their spectacular riverfront forest, and ONF felt that SouthWild was the best qualified rainforest tour company to entrust their spectacular, wildlife-rich forest.
The first place ONF looked to gather design ideas for guest rooms was…SouthWild’s Jaguar Suites. As a result, like the guest rooms at Jaguar Suites, the guest rooms at SouthWild Amazon are notably large, feature open-format storage for your camera gear and clothes, and include a very large desk for organizing field guides, laptops, and hard disks for downloading and editing photos. Additionally, like in Jaguar Suites, the beds are custom-designed to fit together seamlessly to allow for a comfortable king-sized bed for couples.
SouthWild is proud to work to support ONF’s cutting-edge rainforest conservation and reforestation at SouthWild Amazon. When in 1998, ONF bought the property with major support from Peugeot car maker, a quarter of the 25,000 acres was in unproductive cattle pasture. Immediately ONF got to work to reforest 6,000 acres (nearly 10 square miles) with millions of trees, and now the entire property is a forest. Now rainforest animals happily walk, fly, and swing through all 25,000 acres.
The spacious rooms do not even require mosquito nets, as no matter the month, there are almost no mosquitoes either in the forest or near the lodge. Additionally, the very few mosquitoes do not carry any diseases, nor are there any other insect-borne maladies in the region.
The rooms are so large that it is easy to relax and spread out all your gear there.

Features:

✓ 7 rooms of 32 sq. m. each and 1 roomWIFI of 24 sq. m., all with 24-h split air-conditioning, and ensuite hot-shower bathrooms. available, but in a central location. ✓ Huge, fan-equipped, screened dining room with modern industrial kitchen serving rainforest researchers, the team of the most ambitious reforestation project in the history of the Amazon, and…. our ecotourism guests. Rainforest conservation in action. ✓ Large, air-conditioned research lab/lecture room for rainforest researchers, environmental education lectures for children of local homesteaders, and for SouthWild’s rotating series of wildlife lectures about Harpy Eagles, Large Monkeys, Macaws, Brazilian Tapirs, and About Possible Futures for the Amazon. ✓ Located in middle of a 100 sq km, private rainforest property complete with 30 km of well-maintained, single-land, private dirt roads and 12 km of forest-covered riverbank.

When to visit SouthWild Amazon Lodge

Every month of the year is outstanding at SouthWild Amazon. First, the road route from Alta Floresta operates all year, and 90% of it is asphalt and only 10% is dirt. The drive takes 3-3.5 h from the Alta Floresta Airport to the banks of the pristine, 900-metre-wide Juruena River, the site of SouthWild Amazon.
Those visiting SWA before or after a trip to Pantanal will come in June through November, as those are the best months for Jaguar viewing in Jaguarland. The best months, however, for seeing tiny, fluffy white Harpy Eagle nestlings being pampered by gigantic mother eagles are December through June. SWA’s many large monkeys, Brazilian Tapirs, canopy platforms, and large macaws are outstanding all year, and adult or adult-sized juvenile Harpy Eagles also are visible all year on a SWA trip. SWA truly is a mosquito-free destination for all seasons.

The huge, tasty meals are served at SWA in the over-large dining room, which is a scene like no other in a rainforest lodge, as our guests occupy a table or two in the quietest corner while professional teams of reforesters and rainforest biodiversity researchers joke and argue in the characteristically-animated Brazilian way. Mixing ecotourism with research and heroic reforestation might seem odd, but slowing and then reversing Amazonian deforestation is an “all-hands-on-deck” job that requires a mixture of approaches.

SouthWild Amazon Lodge Activities

SouthWild Amazon Lodge offers a greater variety of exciting activities than you will find at any other rainforest lodge in the world. We list the activities briefly, and then describe the top four of them in more detail.

✓ Viewing and photography (“V&P”) of large and small macaws and other wildlife at a small palm swamp.

✓ V&P of Harpy Eagles at one or more of our 38 Harpy nests located in northern Mato Grosso State.

✓ V&P of Brazilian Tapirs from 8-15 metres only a 5-minute drive from lodge (no walking needed).

✓ V&P of large monkeys and birds from the top of our custom-built, easy-walk-up canopy platforms.

✓ V&P of 50-100 large monkeys per day at active, monitored fruiting trees near our 20 km of walking trails.

✓ Motorboat wildlife and scenery outings on the especially-beautiful, pristine, 900-m-wide Juruena River.

✓ V&P of a flock of riverside Hoatzins (the entertaining, photogenic “punk chickens” of the Amazon).

✓ Birding from a roofless motorboat on a narrow, very “birdy” side stream of the Juruena River.

✓ V&P of the only herd-living mammal of the Amazon—the White-lipped Peccary.

✓ Daytime photography of Ocelot in a well-lit site in the rainforest understory.

✓ Birding on foot on the 20 km of forest trails inside the forest at SWA.

✓ Evening spotlighting drives on 30 km of well-maintained, narrow, private dirt roads inside the property.

✓ A series of unique, 20-40-min-long scientific lectures produced by SouthWild, given after lunch or dinner.

Details of the activities.
✓ We already discussed the macaw attraction.
✓ Harpy Eagle photography: We guarantee excellent viewing and photography of this eagle, which not only is the world’s most massive aerial predator and also is one of the Top Ten Birds in the World for birders and bird photographers. SouthWild is the only company ever to offer Harpy Guaranteed, and since we started Guaranteed Harpy in 2015, not even one of our hundreds of guests has missed photographing this huge raptor from eye level with a green background and from less than 40 metres away. By 2023, we should have more than 100 annual guests just for Harpy Guaranteed on trips to SWA.
Brazilian Tapir Guaranteed. SWA is the easiest, most reliable site in the world to see the largest land animal in South America, the simultaneously comical and regal, 270-kilo (600-pound) Brazilian Tapir. This hefty relative of the horse normally is outrageously-shy and hard to see, but after 25 years of behavioral research by SouthWild teams in multiple locations in the Amazon and Pantanal, we have discovered the secrets for how guarantee this prized animal up close and in good light.
There are 4-5 different tapirs visiting our viewing location, which is in a patch of Mauritia palms only a 5-minute drive from the SouthWild Amazon Lodge. We observe and photograph these bizarre horse-relatives from a roomy platform raised 5 metres off the ground. The tapirs wander around in good light for 15-30 minutes at only 8-15 m from your camera lens. The tapir site is only a 5-minute drive from the lodge and no walking is needed at all.
SouthWild Amazon takes a uniquely-scientific, ergonomic approach to finding and observing the famously-diverse wildlife of the rainforest canopy. First, we map and follow the patterns of fruiting of rainforest trees so that on any given day, we know where to take you to important but ephemeral concentrations of canopy wildlife. This “follow the fruit” might sound obvious, and we certainly think it is, but SWA nevertheless is the only tropical rainforest lodge in the world that boasts a full-time, dedicated team following the fruiting patterns and wildlife activity at tens of thousands of the most important trees for monkeys, macaws, toucans, cotingas and tanagers. Secondly, to simplify canopy observation, we have developed the world’s most user-friendly method of accessing the canopy.
Since the 1960’s, there have been dozens of canopy towers and walkways erected in tropical rainforests around the world, but the canopy fun at SouthWild Amazon is unique and superior in two ways: much more wildlife and easier canopy access.
More Wildlife. The canopy platforms at SWA allow easy viewing of amazing numbers of large monkeys and large game birds. These attractive species occur at maximum possible natural density thanks to the French Forest Service (”ONF”) investing heavily for decades in preventing hunting in this 25,000-acre forest. Nearly all other canopy walkways in the tropical rainforests of the world are in “empty forests” that have lost most of their large monkeys and large game birds due to the scourge of decades of uncontrolled hunting. ✓ V&P of Harpy Eagles at one or more of our 38 Harpy nests located in northern Mato Grosso State.
Easier Canopy Access.The canopy platforms at SWA are accessed by custom-designed, user-friendly, “easy-walk-up” stairs that feature low-rise stairs, which have only a 7-inch rise from stair to stair, which is a perfect height for the less powerful legs of mature travellers. Furthermore, each stair measures a very wide 1 foot (30 cm) from front to back, which is ideal for guests with large feet in long shoes. Nearly all other canopy access sites in the world’s tropical forests have inexplicably “user-unfriendly” stairs. Specifically, the stairs at nearly all other staircases in tropical rainforests are dangerously narrow from front to back, which means big shoes can slip off the front of the stairs as travellers descend. Also, nearly all other walk-up staircases in tropical rainforests are punishingly-steep for the legs of mature travellers. We are mystified as to why only SouthWild thinks of these things.