Fazenda San Francisco
Fazenda San Francisco is set in 15,000 hectares of land, of which 3,500 hectares are allocated to cattle ranching, 4,500 hectares are cultivated for rice, and 7,000 hectares given over to a private nature reserve. The drive time from Campo Grande is about 3 hours 15 minutes, the fazenda being 35 kilometre west of Miranda and 6 kilometres from the main road.
There are 10 rooms with a total capacity of 35 guests. Four rooms are located in the main building and six rooms in a separate, newer block a short distance away. All are en suite (hot and cold showers) with air conditioning and a minibar. They do not have much character but are clean and functional. There is 24-hour mains electricity and a backup generator. Facilities include a swimming pool, children’s playground, hammock area, TV room/lounge and small museum. The Fazenda has an arrangement with the Centro de Reabilitação de Animais Silvestres (Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre) to assist in the rehabilitation of confiscated parrots, resulting in the entertaining spectacle of numerous parrots and macaws coming to feeders outside the communal areas.
Food is plentiful and tasty with a large variety of dishes on offer. Fresh vegetables come from a hydroponics farm in Miranda, manioc and beans from a nearby native community, and the fazenda produces its own beef, rice and desserts. The staff are employed mainly from the local town and are very attentive, but little English, apart from the guides, is spoken.
Available activities include trail hikes, canoeing, horse riding, boat tours, night drives and photo safaris. There are also evening lectures given by biologists when in residence. The photo safaris are in 11, 25 or 28 capacity vehicles and the boat tours in a two-storey boat with a capacity of 35 passengers. Group departures have set times each day (typically 07:30 or 08:00 for the photo safari and 14:30 for the boat tour).
In addition to guests staying at the fazenda, some visitors come from Bonito for a day trip or overnight, so the vehicles and boats can get full. It is recommended to book private services wherever possible. July is extremely busy with Brazilian visitors.
The night spotlighting tour is probably San Francisco’s most popular. Plastic glasses are provided to keep insects out of the eyes, and blankets for the cold (recommended). The night tour departs at 18:00 and lasts two hours. The route is largely the same as the photo safari route (see below) along the raised tracks that run between the rice fields, alongside the forest reserve, and the lakes. During a night tour in the dry season there is a 90% chance of seeing an ocelot, and other common sightings include marsh deer and giant anteater. Tapir, jaguar, maned wolf and puma are also occasionally seen.
There are daytime excursions by boat along the Coxi River (a tributary of the Rio Miranda) and photo safaris in 4×4 vehicles. Horse riding across nearby ranch land, walking safaris along trails and a visit to a canopy tower are also available.
Dining room, TV room, air-conditioning, mini exhibition room, hammock area, internet access, swimming pool and children's play area.
Very good chances of seeing ocelots, giant anteaters and marsh deer. Giant and neotropical otters, yellow armadillos, rheas, macaws and parrots. The longer boat tours and night drives in the dry season offer a greater chance of seeing a jaguar.
Boat trips on catamarans, and smaller speedboats, 4x4 photo safaris, Horse riding, Canadian canoe outings, walking safaris and night drives are all on offer.
To avoid sharing activities such as the boat trip with potentially large numbers of day-trippers, book a private guide and services in advance. The dry season is from June to November.
If you have any questions regarding our Brazil tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
Well planned itinerary giving appropriate time at each venue…. 7 sightings of 4 different jaguars including one for over an hour in the open with excellent light [at the Jaguar Research Centre] exceeded our expectations. Thank you very much for your helpful organisation throughout. It proved a memorable holiday.