By Alison McGowan
January 22, 2011
The Pakaas Palafitas Lodge is one of the most amazing hideaways I have ever seen in all these years of travel. Nestling in the exotic jungle at the confluence of 2 rivers near the Brazilian-Bolivian border, it is built on stilts 4-10 metres high, and two kilometres of winding walkways link the 28 cabanas to the main lodge with its spacious reception, restaurant, caf, and infinity pool. That the surroundings and the flora and fauna and the birds and the views are spectacular almost goes without saying, but here you also get the phenomenon of the meeting of the waters where the muddy river Marmor and the dark Pacaas Novos converge but don’t mix. It’s the same phenomena you get in Manaus with the rivers Solimes and Negro and in Santarm with the Tapajós and the Amazon, but here it is right outside your window.
I actually found the Pakaas Palafitas because I was interested in something historical rather than ecological- the story of the curious railway nicknamed Mad Maria built through the inhospitable jungle at huge cost (of life and money) and inaugurated in 1912, only to be deactivated shortly after when the rubber boom came to an abrupt halt. But there are many other things you can do here if you want more nature related activity – including bird watching, boat trips down the river and visits to local indigenous communities.
When the lodge was constructed some 10 years ago by the Saldanha family the concept was very much to offer something hitherto unknown in the Amazon region – comfort and charm within an ecological friendly environment. In keeping with this the thatched cabanas (which almost look camouflaged when seen against the jungle) are spacious, with king sized beds, fridge, hot showers, bathrobes, split air-conditioning and even local shampoo, soap and hairdryer. There is a totally recyclable water system so as not to interfere with the ecology of the river and the lodge supports the local community, only using local staff and training them on-site.
I sat in the huge open reception area looking out over tropical rain beating down on the infinity pool, using the free wi-fi and sipping a cold beer and thought there was much to be said for contemplating the Amazon jungle from the rare comfort and beauty of the Pakaas Palafitas Lodge.
A couple of minutes after arriving at the Pakaas Palafitas Jungle Lodge my mobile bleeped with a “Welcome to Bolivia” message. We weren’t in Bolivia but it shows how close the lodge is to the border (and also how sometimes the phone system works better in neighbouring countries). Rondnia, where the lodge actually is, is about as far off the beaten track as you can get in Brazil. The nearest airport to the lodge is in Porto Velho, but even from there you’ll have a 4 hour taxi ride ahead of you to Guajar-Mirim. It’s not a bad road when it is dry; in torrential tropical rain it is treacherous and after Guajur Mirim the last 15 kilometres is potholed dirt track. Although it is not difficult to find the lodge, you definitely feel a very long way from civilisation.
There are regular daily flights to Porto Velho from Manaus and Brasilia with connections to and from other major cities, but it is also easy to get from here from La Paz in Bolivia and via La Paz from Peru. For anyone “doing” a Trans-South American tour, the Pakaas Palafitas Lodge is one place you must stop!
Not To Be Missed
– Boat trip down the Pacaas Novos river
– Guided jungle walk
– Visit across the border to Bolivia
– Chilling out by the infinity pool
* Spacious, comfortable cabanas with king size beds
* Huge reception and common areas
* Ecologically friendly
* Infinity pool
* Spectacular views
Try a Different Place if…
… you prefer somewhere smaller and more intimate, or you want somewhere easy to get to
Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.
Previous articles by Alison:
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d’Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airão, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia