Last year, Sara from Wildfoot embarked on a wildlife-viewing trip to Brazil and recorded her journey highlights. We’re using the Wildfoot blog to share her experiences. Today, Sara stops by the Veu da Noiva before travelling to the Cristalino Lodge.
Today feels like a transitional day because we move from one area to the other without anything significant planned, but thankfully there are some great moments along the journey to keep me occupied.
We start the morning with a quick visit to Veu da Noiva, a waterfall which translates as Bride’s Veil. This is probably the most iconic of the national park’s waterfalls and is a great photography stop for any amateur or professional alike. Although I could have happily spent the whole day at Veu da Noiva, enjoying the picture postcard views and abundant birdlife, my flight to Alta Floresta awaits.
Upon my arrival at Alta Floresta, I am met by a guide from the much acclaimed and award winning Cristalino Lodge, which is to be my residence for the next couple of days.
The transfer consists of an hour-long jeep ride to the banks of the almighty Cristalino River, followed by a short boat ride into camp.
Cristalino is renowned for its prolific birdlife and is considered a ‘must do’ by all serious birders that visit Brazil, and it’s not long till I understand why. On my 15-minute boat transfer, I manage to get some terrific pictures of the Amazon and ringed kingfishers, capped heron, black-girdled barbet and green ibis. My goodness, this place is a bird lover’s paradise!
As I walk into the main lobby at Cristalino, I am immediately aware that this lodge is truly special. The attention to detail is exceptional, and the accommodation is likened to that of a five-star African lodge. It has every right to call itself an Amazonian Sanctuary.
I am introduced to my guide Adriana, who will be looking after me for the next couple of days, and after a quick orientation briefing, she leads out to one of the two 50-metre-high viewing platforms they have. Designed to give you a 360-degree panoramic view of the rainforest canopy, it’s the perfect place to enjoy my first Amazonian sunset of the trip.
While waiting for the sun to set, I spot a troupe of black spider monkeys swinging through the trees, and I catch sight of my first Blue-headed parrots, although Adriana quickly warns me that they won’t stick around when I try to snap the perfect photograph!
As night falls, we descend the tower and make our way back to the lodge where my first Brazilian caipirinha awaits. As expected, my dinner is fantastic, with some locally caught catfish being the star of the show, closely followed by the homemade chocolate and pecan brownies. Clocking up some serious mileage today has taken its toll, so I am quick to retire to bed to ensure I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed for the days ahead.