" Bonito " The hidden paradise of Brazil By Marcia Pavarini text and photos (all rights reserved)
Beautiful, wonderful, and amazing should be known of the city named BONITO. The humble name does not reflect its greatness. This ecological paradise is breathtaking, either in the river diving or in the pristine water of Rio da Prata. Snorkeling in the river “Rio Sucuri”, in the waterfalls or in the blue lake grotto, “Gruta do Lago Azul”, where the turquoise crystal water could reveal its 70 meters depth, is the paradise on earth. These rivers seem more like aquariums, where you can swim among the fishes including piranhas, already used to the strange beings, humans, which daily invade their habitat of clear water, interacting with this explosion of biodiversity offered by mother nature.
Traveling gives us strength, a sense of well-being and euphoria by the idea of new discoveries. It is a magic medicine that recharges your batteries from your stressful days. Travel to interact with nature, sharing this natural treasure, with respect and care is a healthy activity and one of the reasons of enjoying being onboard our wonderful planet. The concern with eco-tourism has brought hope for the conservationists of the environment and biodiversity of those ecological paradises. BONITO is an example of this. BONITO is a true environmental laboratory, where the visitor is conditioned on the understanding of nature’s preservation and of the living things that exist there.
The fame of this ecological berth crossed borders and, as a result, tourists from all over the world come to check it out. To dive in this natural aquarium and admire the exuberance of this scenario has no parallel in any other corner of the planet. Hovering at the mercy of the currents, seeing large fish, inches from your colorful mask, not afraid of you, is an experience not to be forgotten in a lifetime. If there is another existence after death, I bet that you will still remember Bonito.
In this small town of Mato Grosso do Sul, nature is considered sacred. Extremely well-preserved by law, even smoking is not allowed in the open. Consequently, respecting the biodiversity of the conservation programs, the number of visitors is limited for the day. Only small groups are allowed and booking is needed in advance; in general, one day before with tourism agencies. Guided tours only are allowed.
After day tours, you should try the cultural countryside, the dances, and of course, the typical cuisine. Do not forget the roasted ice cream that doesn’t melt. The clue is to try the delicacies in local restaurants, based on freshwater fish which, by the way, are not from here. Fishing is strictly forbidden in BONITO, but the fish are imported from the Pantanal.
Buying a tour package is the most practical way to travel to BONITO. This includes, generally, three of the best tours of the region: boating on the Rio Formoso, snorkeling in the Rio da Prata as well as a visit to the Gruta do Lago Azul. Travelling on your own is a little more work to arrange everything. Advanced booking is required as the attractions have a maximum limit of visitors per day. During the high season, school vacations, July, January and February, the hotels are usually fully booked. Travel is strongly recommended during the months of June and August where the temperature is mild at this time.