The transfer to Cristalino Lodge from the airport at Alta Floresta starts conventionally enough, as a minibus takes you out of town and through bucolic scenes of grazing white cattle and fields of crops. But then you pass through a gate and the effect is like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. Here, a boat waits to take you on the 30-minute ride to the lodge, along the Cristalino River. The water is strikingly dark and clear. And there are trees, lots of them – pristine forest cloaks both sides. You may see monkeys and some of the 600-plus species of exotic birds found here before mooring up at the walkway that leads to the lodge itself.
Cristalino Lodge, in the southern Amazon, is a beacon of sustainability. Accommodation is in wooden bungalows with natural ventilation, rather than air-conditioning, and powered by solar energy. The food is organic and local, and recycling is taken seriously. The restaurant is lit by candlelight at night; afterwards, you can retire outside to have a drink by the open fire while gazing at the stars.