Bonito is a small and peaceful town in the South-West of Brazil and is the ecotourism capital of Brazil. It is famous for its clear blue rivers where the snorkeling should be amazing. The water is this clear thanks to the unique combination of natural heat sources, a bottom of hard limestone and water that is filled with calcium carbonate.
It’s one of Brazil’s best places to snorkel. It’s like swimming in an aquarium and that this aquarium is in the middle of the jungle, makes it even more special.
There are no straight busses going to Bonito from Foz. That is why we took a bus from Bonito to Campo Grande at 6 pm with Eucatur and we had to get out in Dourados, which was around 5 am (Cost 112 Real p.p.). This bus had a bit of a funky smell but we managed to get a good sleep. At Dourados we had to wait for about one hour before we could get on our next bus (Company is Cruzeiro do Sul, cost 80 Real p.p.) and we arrived in Bonito at 12 pm. From the central busstation in Bonito it was only a 10 minute walk to our hotel.
We went out for dinner once and had pizza at a great place called Zapi Zen. They serve pizzas and wraps and have really delicious juices. We sat outside and loved the ambiance they created.
Our place for the night was the lovely Marruá Hotel which was much bigger than we expected from the outside. Funny thing was that the boy at the reception did not speak a single word English, but we managed to communicate with Google translate. After checking in, they brought us to our room which was simple but perfect. It was really hot that day so we were extremely happy with the strong aircon. Nice feature about the room is the little balcony and the fridge. And we loved their creativity with the towels!
The hotel has a pool and restaurant next to it. They serve great burgers and salads, which appeared to be a burger as well. In the morning the breakfast is buffet style and there is plenty to choose from.
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We had a busy schedule during our days in Bonito. We came to Bonito for the snorkeling, but got in contact with Wilian from Aguas Tourismo Bonito and he brought some other tours to our attention. They all sounded like much fun so instead of doing just 1 tour, we ended up doing 4!
DIVING RIO FORMOSO
It’s been a while since we dived in sweet water and when we heard it was possible to dive in Bonito, we decided to give it a try! And it was a new experience. Kelm Scubadiving is situated next to the river called Rio Formosa and this place looks beautiful. After getting our gear, and going through the instructions, it was time to stick our heads underwater.
We had to crawl over the bottom instead of using the vins and we saw some huge fish. The instructor brought some fishfood in a small bottle and every time he pinched some it out of the bottle, the fish would go crazy! The sight wasn’t really good unfortunately but it was cool to feel how powerful even a small waterfall is under water. It’s a fun experience for people who really like to dive and have some extra time in Bonito.
* Our dive took about 30 minutes and costs 247 Real p.p.
BURACO DAS ARARAS
We were able to combine a visit to Buraco das Araras with our snorkeling trip, and this was a great combination. We got picked up at 7 am by EK Tourismo and after picking the rest of the passengers, we headed to this sinkhole. This place is pretty amazing. This huge sinkhole is home to dozens of Macaws who fly around, showing of their colorful feathers and screaming to each other like maniacs. The acoustics in the sinkhole are quite good! But it is special that the birds are still here. Before the preservation of this sinkhole started, the rock walls and macaws were used as shooting targets and there was a lot littering and even remains of robbed cars where thrown inside.
* The visit to Buraco das Araras takes about one hour and costs 65 Real p.p.
** The transport is not included in the tour. EK Tourismo charges 70 Real p.p. and this includes the transport to Rio da Prata.
SNORKELING RIO DA PRATA
We loved this trip. This was the reason why we came to Bonito and it did not disappoint us. We had to put on a wetsuit and take a shower to wash off the mosquito spray and other cremes etc. that can disrupt the clearness of the water. After this, we were delicious targets for the mosquitos that attacked us during our 20-30 minute walk to the actual startpoint of the trip. But all of that was forgotten as soon as we saw the water and were allowed to go in. It’s amazing to see how clear this water is. It truly is like swimming in an aquarium. We saw the biggest fish (Golden Dorado) that weren’t scared at all. They just swim in front of you, turn around and start a staring contest. You don’t really have to swim, you just float along with the stream of the river. When sticking our heads above the water, we heard the sounds of the jungle and even saw some monkeys. Really cool experience en definitely worth the time and money! And since being in the water makes you hungry, the buffet lunch is very welcome afterwards.
* The snorkeling trip to Rio Da Prata takes about 5 hours in total and cost 170 Real p.p. (price for low season). This is including Lunch.
** The transport is not included in the tour. EK Tourismo charges 70 Real p.p. and this includes the transport to Buraco das Araras
Since Michiel is a big fan of waterfalls, we decided to do this trip as well. Because we just came from the big waterfalls in Foz, we weren’t really impressed by these waterfalls, but it was a nice trip. EK Tourismo picked us up at 8 am and it was a short drive to the nice fazenda which was our starting point where they even have some pet crocodiles. We visited 7 different waterfalls and we could swim at each one. The one we liked most was the one where you could jump of a little platform, 6 meters high. We felt like little kids, good fun. Again, water makes you hungry so the lunch afterwards was a good treat. We were back at the hotel around 3 pm and where exhausted after all these fun trips.
* This Estancia Mimosa trip takes about 7 hours in total (including transport and lunch) and costs 100 Real p.p. (price for low season).
** The transport is not included in the tour. EK Tourismo charges 50 Real p.p.