Bonito Bonito


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South America » Brazil » Mato Grosso do Sul
January 9th 2015
Published: February 19th 2015
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Bonito is a small town that has exploded with tourism companies offering excursions along the various rivers that flow nearby. Bonito means beautiful and it is a place that truly lives up to its name. We’d only had this destination recommended to us while we were in Bolivia and upon reading about it, decided it’d be the perfect pit stop to break up the 700km journey from the Pantanal to Iguaçu falls. The draw card of Bonito is the river system that has created a natural phenomenon with incredible visibility due to calcium in the rocks reacting with contaminants and creating sediment rather than floating debris. This results in the rivers having almost perfect visibility (>30m) even in fast flowing rivers that are only 1 or 2 meters deep.

Staying in the HI Bonito we managed to obtain the last available room (thankfully with air con!) for our 2-night stay. Taking a recommendation from our hostel staff we hired bikes to explore the town, found the bus station to arrange our onward travel to Iguaçu and had another amazing fish dinner.

There were many enticing options for day tours but as we were booking last minute most were sold out (numbers are limited to conserve the environment) but if we’d had more time to plan, it’s possible we would’ve blown our budget on all the amazing options such as abseiling 70meters into a cave and scuba dive the cave system with 30m visibility!

The tour we opted for was to a water park that included a snorkeling float down the pristine river to view the vegetation and fish species of the area. With all the gear provided we kitted up in wetsuit, life jacket, water shoes, snorkel and mask before a floatation tutorial in the pool. Once everyone got the thumbs up from our leader, we were off for a walk through the jungle to our launching point. The water was an incredible aquamarine blue and you could see many plants and fish on approach. We swam in a lagoon area with fish and amongst the plants before setting off down river for the 40 minutes floatation. Avoiding kicking so as not to disturb the sediment that would reduce the water clarity we kept a leisurely pace as fish schooled around us and ferns waved us past.



Completing the afternoon relaxing in the pool we chatted to a family holidaying from the NSW Central Coast who had many tips for us for the remainder of our time in Brazil. We also took full advantage of the air con by doing a TRX workout in our room as having hit the 3-month mark of our trip we were definitely craving a bit of normal routine.

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