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December 12th 2012
Published: December 17th 2012
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Day 86

We arrived in Bonito late afternoon yesterday, and, after a bit of research into things to do for the next few days here, got a decent steak dinner at a place with live music before bed.

Today we woke up at a reasonable time and, after an awesome breakfast with fresh fruit, breads, meats, cheeses, and about 6 different types of cake(!) we headed for a trip to Gruta do Lago Azul (Blue Lake Cave). As suggested by the name, this is a cave with a blue lake in it. The trip took a couple of hours as we headed about 80m downwards into the impressive cave, to admire the unbelivably bright blue water at the bottom. It is apparently the mixture of magnesium and calcium in the water that does it, but it seemed to glow like it was radioactive.

After this, and a stop at the supermarket to get some lunch, we headed to Estancia Mimosa, which is a beautiful area just outside bonito where you can trek along the river and swim at a number of natural pools and waterfalls. Though not quite on the scale of Iguassu Falls, it was a really nice and a very relaxed afternoon (until the end, when we were jumping from a 6m platform into a deep pool along the river).

Feeling the pinch in Brazil, which is more expensive still than Argentina, we got some pasta and bits at the supermarket for dinner, before bed.

Day 87

Today, after another amazing breakfast, we headed to one of Bonitos most popular attractions, Rio da Prata (Silver River). The trip took about 4 hours, an hour of which was a scenic walk through the woods (already dressed in our wetsuits) to a point up stream in the river. We then entered the water and snorkled around 2km back down stream. It took around 3 hours, with the slow current doing most of the work, and it was really amazing. It was like swimming through an aquarium, with incredibly clear water that is absolutely teeming with fish of all different sizes and shapes.

After a fantastic lunch at the lodge by the river we headed back to our hostel to relax for a few hours. In the evening we headed to a small climbing place for "training" for tomorrow's activity. This involved rapelling up and down a ~10m rope a couple of times, before we signed our lives away and handed over the credit card.

In the evening, we again cooked for ourselves, before getting an early night in preparation for tomorrow.

Day 88

Today (mostly against Suzannes will) we headed to Abismo Anhumas. We arrived early and got kitted out in rapelling gear. We then got strapped in and were dangling over the top of the cave, which had an opening only a couple of feet wide. We then rapelled the 72m through the opening and down into the cavern below. It took about 10 minutes to get all the way down the rope and was a surreal experience, the large cavern was damp and dimly lit by sunlight from the small opening and was full of interesting rock formations. At the bottom was a large pool of clear blue water with a small wooden bridge, on which we eventually touched ground. We then boarded a small rubber dingy and had a quick tour of the cave before we got changed into wetsuits and snorkels and jumped into the ice cold water. We then had a half hour guided snorkel, exploring the 40m deep water, swimming amongst huge submerged stalagmites with underwater flashlights. It was an other-worldly experience and felt like something straight from a sci-fi movie. After exiting the water, drying off and changing, we rappelled the 72m back up the rope--an exhausting exercise, taking about 30 mins.

This was one of our favourite and most unique experiences of our trip, and we spent the afternoon relaxing in the small but pretty town centre of Bonito, before a tasty fish dish for dinner.

Day 89

Today was our last big travel day before the journey home. It consisted of a 4 hour minivan transfer to Campo Grande, before a 3 hour flight to Rio, followed by a 6 hour public bus to Paraty. We left Bonito around 10am, and arrived tired, but without major problems, to Paraty at around 2am.

Additional photos below
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Hundreds of fish and crystal clear water at Rio da PrataHundreds of fish and crystal clear water at Rio da Prata
Hundreds of fish and crystal clear water at Rio da Prata

We stole this pic from Google because we didn't have an underwater camera but it really was like this!!

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