The Cristalino Lodge was envisioned as a Private National Heritage Reserve (RPPN).
The concept is to keep the forest standing, while conducting activities related to ecotourism in the southern Amazon, a region that is recognized worldwide as one of the most important, in terms of biodiversity. Out of the original area of 700 hectares, just 2 hectares were used for the construction of the infrastructure that is today the sustainable Cristalino Jungle Lodge hotel. In 1997, the Cristalino Lodge created the first RPPN in northern Mato Grosso, to ensure its preservation in perpetuity. The reserve has grown and now covers an area of 11,399 hectares – much larger than the New York island of Manhattan and six times the area of that other Brazilian ecological paradise, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha – and it serves, along with the neighboring Cristalino State Park, as a wildlife corridor for the incredibly diverse endemic species in the region.
Cristalino is the name of the Amazon river whose dark waters run for 114 miles from its source in the state of Pará to its mouth in Mato Grosso, where the Cristalino Lodge is located. The Portuguese word cristalino means “crystalline” or "crystal clear", which is a perfect description of this pure, well preserved river, despite the dark color of the water – caused by the tannin released from decaying leaves and the pink granite rock formations that provide some stunning landscapes.
The hotel offers some memorable experiences within this wonderful setting, with guided trips into the forest and along the river. The daily activities include walking the forest trails accompanied by experienced guides, birding and visiting local conservation and educational projects. Boating and canoeing, plus enjoying the beautiful sunrises and sunsets from the vantage point of one of the observation towers are among the outstanding memories of the guests. Others might prefer to relax on the floating deck built over the River Cristalino or take a nap in a hammock. The bungalows have comfortable beds, ample bathrooms with exclusive amenities and a natural ventilation system – and they all make use of solar water heating and bio-waste treatment. The Cristalino Lodge is ideal for people who like nature and want to be a part of the local conservation effort. It is a perfect destination for married and honeymoon couples, families or groups of friends. The lodge was presented with the World Savers Award in 2008, by Condé Nast Traveler, and was selected in 2013, by National Geographic Traveler, as one of 25 best Ecolodges in the world, due to the authentic experiences it provides, along with comfort and responsible tourism.
Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Cristalino Private National Heritage Reserve, photo by Marcos Amend