A few weeks ago I went to this amazing travel event, it was a whole weekend of travelers talks about people’s experiences traveling around the world. So inspiring… A lot of them had traveled through South America, either by bus, hitch-hiking, car, bicycle… They had been to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Equador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Paraguay… Do you know how many of them had been to Brazil?
(Shocked face. Disappointed face. Angry face. Sad face… Those were my reactions)
Brazil is a BEAUTIFUL country which has everything: Amazing beaches, stunning mountains, huge cities, small cities, rivers, lakes, nature, the happiest people on earth, blue blue skies, red and orange and purple sunsets, the most diverse, rich gastronomy you will find within one country, and much more… So WHY do people completely ignore this country when traveling through South America?
Because is not safe? Neither are Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia… Because is not cheap? Neither are Argentina, Chile, Uruguay… Because of the language? People still travel to Portugal a lot… Because is not interesting? Nope, sorry, this is not a valid excuse.
That’s my brother feeding a monkey. In the wild. To me, this is pretty amazing, don’t you agree?
So, I take it as my duty as a well-informed traveler and good Brazilian citizen to try to change this. I’ll try to write more posts about Brazil, so you can see that it is much more than just Rio and carnival. I already wrote this post about some stunning, unknown waterfalls in the south of Brazil that I discovered this summer.
But today you will come with me to discover a place where the Garden of Eden meets the Earth… Like here!
Today I will tell you about a place that has beauty in its name: Bonito.
Caves, mountains, waterfalls, rivers with the most crystal clear water and so many fishes you feel like you are swimming in an aquarium – which you are, but it’s a natural one. Animals like you would only see in a zoo, but they are all free. So many tones of greens and such a rich variety of plants… That I will have to divide this post in more than one part or it will be too big, too long. But I promise; once you’ve read this first one, you will be anxiously waiting for the next ones and be looking for flights to Brazil!
So come with me and I will show you some amazing places… Are you ready?
Let me start with some basic stats: Bonito is a county in the Central-West region of Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. It is considered the Brazilian National Capital of Ecotourism, and it has good reasons to be so. Primarily composed of private farms, ecological conscience imposed itself and many of those farms decided to open it’s treasures to tourists, in a respectful, sustainable way. Nowadays Bonito can be considered an example of how to do ecotourism, and a great win for us, that can now have access to those natural jewels!
In this first post I’ll talk about one unmissable program to do if you are in Bonito: Flotation in the Prata and Sucuri rivers.
Just relax and float away… While enjoying some VIP underwater views!
Me in my special suit for the occasion
Differently from many underwater activities, for this one you don`t need to be an expert diver, you don`t even need to know how to scuba dive. Here, all you have to do is let yourself float away in crystal clear waters… Actually, I can`t think of a laziest activity! And when I mean floating, I really do mean it. Since Bonito is a preserved natural area, you can`t dive deep in the rivers as not to disturb the local flora and fauna, so instead, you just float in it, gently carried away by the natural flow of the water…
Getting ready to float. You have to buy a guided excursion, but the good thing is that they give you all the equipment needed, so you don`t have to worry about anything but enjoy the nature…
This is not a picture taken of a miniature sized aquarium. This is the view you get…
I’m a diving fan so in the beginning I thought I would feel a little frustrated. I could not have been more wrong. As the river current started to carry me, suddenly I was surrounded by fishes, of all types and colors and sizes, as if I had just become a mini person and immersed myself into an aquarium. Plus, the water was so incredibly transparent that it was hard to believe that no man interference was needed to maintain this…
I was not using zoom in those pictures. Bonito is a magical place, and the animals feel really comfortable among humans because they know that they are not endangered here…
I mean, just look at these colors, and how clear this water is?!?
I had my underwater camera with me – I’m
poor old style so I don`t have a Go Pro, instead I use my good old Sony TX20, she`s such a survivor, but hey, if anyone would like to sponsor me with a Go Pro 5, I’ll gladly accept! ;). And as I let myself get carried by the waters, my finger went crazy at the shutter of the camera…
So many fishes!!! Look at this one! And that yellow one over there! Oh wow, look at how big those other ones are!!!
My great underwater photographic skills were not really needed here… A great photo is effortless at this place!
Heeeyyy huge fishy fishy, come here!!!
There are two main river areas that you can do this: Rio da Prata and Rio Sucuri. I went to both (did I mention that I love being inside the water?) and they are pretty similar, but if you only have time for one, I would recommend doing the flotation in the Prata river, because the end of the ride has a really cool surprise…
An underwater vulcano!!! In this area you can dive, of course, I had to free dive myself all the way to it… It wasn`t too deep though so no special equipment was needed.
So, before I lose myself between the fishes again, a little more practical information about how to do this: Most of the excursions can be done in half a day, so you can do one thing in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Also for most of then, you have to buy a guided package, it usually includes the pickup at the hotel you are staying at, transportation to the activity point, all the equipment you’ll need (the neoprene clothes and snorkeling material), a guide and sometimes, like the day we spent at the Rio da Prata, a delicious homemade lunch at the farm with some great hammocks under the trees for relaxing while digesting the food included…
It was impossible to actually get tired of floating in the most amazing river but I did try my best to act like I needed to rest after the dive so… Do you think I got it?
But for the flotation at Rio Sucuri you also start and finish at a farm, where they have all the amenities one need, so even if you are not an “into the wild” kind of person, worry not my dear reader, you will be treated well, swimming pool included…!
If a natural swimming pool is not enough for you, you can always enjoy this one as well, at São Geraldo Farm, where you go to access the Sucuri River!
And you can even make some new friends while there…!
This guy decided to join me in the hammocks after lunch. He also brought the dessert…
Ohhh my god a baby boar!!! Can I go play with her? – That was me having Felicia feelings…
So, are you looking for flights to Brazil yet? No??? Do you need more reasons? I can give you a lot more, soon, in my next posts! And if you have any comments or questions, write in the comments below and I`ll answer!
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