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Reviews (108)
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All reviewshis knowledgeearly in the morninghorse ridingwet seasonrio negrowould love to go backmemorable experiencegreat carefauna and florasouthern pantanalvictorenvironmentplanecanoehorseslandscapetrips
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Reviewed 24 February 2017

We flew into Barra Mansa after a long journey from the UK, and as we landed, we knew we had arrived at paradise. Just the view of the Pantanal from the plane was worth the trip alone, but then we landed and our adventure began. This is a truly magical place and it was a total highlight of our trip to Brazil. As other reviews have said, this is not high end luxury accommodation, but it was very comfortable, the food was delicious and the staff delightful. The birdlife here is spectacular and we loved doing our walking, jeep and canoe safaris. Our guide was Victor, who spoke excellent english and enthused us all with his knowledge and passion, we cannot recommend him more highly. We fished for piranhas with caiman snapping at the waters edge and we rode through the unfolding landscape, conscious how lucky we were to have the experience. We would love to go back in the wet season when the landscape looks completely different. It is difficult to be somewhere so far from anywhere and yet so completely immersed in nature. For this reason alone Barra Mansa is a very special place.

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank CalAlp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2016 via mobile

Barra Mansa is in a wonderfully remote location. Roads are poor so a light aircraft flight to get there is pretty essential (expect two approaches to the ranch's airstrip - the first is just to frighten the cows off the runway). The accommodation is basic, but air-conditioned and clean. It has the authenticity of feeling like an old ranch rather than a hotel. Rooms are all air-conditioned, however this is far from civilisation so "do it yourself" is the order of the day - everything worked but the finish and fittings are probably best described as 'rustic'.

The staff are friendly and welcoming, but have no formal hospitality training, so it felt very much like you were a guest in someone's house rather than a hotel. Very little English is spoken. We had our own private guide (not part of the hotel staff), and without him we would have struggled to understand both in the ranch and out and about on the activities.

The location is superb and has great wildlife areas all around. The birdwatching is the main attraction, but this was mostly due to our excellent guide 'Fino' who is a great ornithologist. The hotel does not have its own guides but gets an independent English speaking guide for UK and USA visitors - if you are a birdwatchers ask if Fino is available when you book. He found me 150 species of bird in 4 days! The variety of birds was truly amazing - on the first day we saw 20 different species without leaving the ranch's garden. If you are not into birding, the rest of the animals are pretty shy, so don't expect the African safari experience of an animal around every corner. We found that just being out in such a beautiful and remote environment was fun in itself, with the options of walking, horse riding, boat in the river, safari vehicle or kayak on the river.

There is a fridge with water, beer and wine. The bottled water is quite expensive, as it has to be transported a long journey to get it there. So if you drink the 4 or so litres a day that you will need in the heat at £1 for a 500ml bottle it will get expensive! A much better idea is to drink the filtered water available in the bar - this is what the staff drink and seems to be perfectly good. If you fill a bottle and put it in the freezer compartment you will have cold water to take out on the activities.

The food is home-made rural farmhouse cooking, with a choice of two mains at each meal. As expected meat is a big feature, but there was always nice vegetables. Eclectic breakfasts with excellent fruit compote. (The website uses the word 'gastronomic', I think this should be translated as 'good food' rather than the European use of gastronomic to mean fine dining). It is the normal custom for your guide to join you for all meals - however if you want to be by yourself for some meals just say.

We visited at the end of the dry season so there were few flies or ticks about, but fly repellent was still needed. Bird numbers are apparently much greater when the area is flooded in the spring, but there are also many more insects. Take a can of room fly spray - we usually spray the room before going to dinner in the evening so that we avoid the chemicals yet come in it a bug free room for the night.

The main attraction of Barra Mansa is being a long way from civilisation, but you have to accept the limitations that this brings, for example the nearest proper medical help is several hours away and the weather determines what you can do. We loved the informality of Barra Mansa - it is a comfortable and friendly outpost in the wilderness of the Pantanal, but do not expect all the trimmings of a luxury hotel.

Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
2  Thank TJCLeicester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2016

As I just happened to be running in the Olympic Torch Relay in the remote location of Dourados, I contacted Imagine Latin America to see if they had any suggestions for a holiday in the same area. Sinead and Millie suggested Barra Mansa, and what a great trip we had! We were met by Victor, our friendly, hugely knowledgeable English speaking guide before our transfer by 4wd vehicle, which was an adventure in itself. It took about 6 hours to reach the lodge - having only got stuck in the mud once and stopping to see lots of wildlife on the way. The 4 days we had at Barra Mansa were amazing - it's a lovely little lodge, with clean comfortable rooms, and fabulous food prepared by Ekta and her team. Victor was brilliant on all of the tours we did: boat trips, canoeing, horse riding, jeep safari, walks and fishing. His knowledge and enthusiasm for all nature was infectious, and we were lucky to see lots of animals such as otters, anteaters, anacondas and howler monkeys - as well as countless colourful birds. A fabulous trip - thank you Barra Mansa, Imagine Latin America & the local operator Bravo tours.

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank JonnyBramley1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2016 via mobile

Everything about this place is nature. Their staff is really knowledgeable, friendly and well organized. We went with our 5yr and 2yr old daughters and enjoyed every activity we did, from fishing piranhas to horseback riding. We've never done organized tours before and were a bit apprehensive at the idea and the cost but Polliana at Bravo tours was super efficient and organized everything for us. She was careful enough to consider our daughters young age when making suggestions and she was spot on.
There is nothing fancy about this place but it's clean and very efficient. Highly recommend it of you are looking to get an idea of the real life in the pantanal.

Stayed: May 2016, travelled with family
1  Thank JP &
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2016

We have never been on a tour before but because I couldn'd figure out how to do the Pantanal on my own I contacted Polliana at Bravo Expeditions who arranged everything. Though not "budget" this stay was worth the expense. We spent four nights in June at Fazenda Barra Mansa arranged through Polliana at BravoExpeditions. The accommodations are simple but clean and comfortable. We paid extra for transportation into Barra Massa and for Victor, our knowledgeable and amiable English speaking guide and naturalist. He helped us plan and joined us on eight excursions by boat,canoe,safari vehicle, horseback and walking. We saw over 60 species of birds and most of the mammals of the Pantanal (jaguar tracks but no jaguars). His knowledge of nature and life in the Pantanal seemed endless. The meals (three a day) were DELICIOUS. The Fazenda manager, Ekta, could not have been more helpful and gracious. She is a naturalist as well and all of her suggestions for activities were spot on. Even though I had not been on a horse for 50 years I took her advice and was glad I did. We were not "birders" when we arrived but we are now. Four nights are plenty and if you only have three days for this excursion you will get the full taste of the Pantanal. Supposed to be even better in July and August. We did not encouter mosquitos even though it was still in the end of the wet season.

  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Dawn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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