We left the muddy wetlands of the Pantanal and headed to Bonito. The enterprising Catarino hostel owner runs a minibus from the Pantanal direct to his door. Being the lazy travellers were are we were pretty happy to check in to this cute, clean and welcoming hostel. Also their breakfast was massive and included pizza and cake.
Bonito is a Brazilian holiday destination, famous for it’s exceptionally clear waters, beautiful scenery and caves. Our visit also happened to be towards the end of our mammoth 18 month trip. We were running low on funds and feeling a bit credit card happy. As a result we booked a complete day package of activities that would see us visit a giant sink hole, dive in a giant cave and snorkel down one of the clearest rivers in the world.
Buraco das Araras
The giant sink hole formed about 500 years ago. Apparently it was discovered by a local farmer when his cattle kept disappearing. There are caimans that live down in the murky green waters but the area is most famous for the red macaws that call the surrounding area home. We also spotted some toucans and a woodpecker on the short walk.
The walk was easy and over a flat surface, offering little explanation why the staff there said we would not be able to do it in flip flops and instead had to rent some Croc like shoes from them.
Lagoa Misteriosa/ Mysterious Lagoon
Next up was our first dive in almost 6 months. It would turn out to be one of the weirdest dives we’ve ever completed. The lagoon is situated at the bottom of a sinkhole, clearly there are a lot of sinkholes in the area! The cave is very very deep, we reached 25m and were not even close to the bottom. It descends to a whopping 220m! The water was some of the clearest we have ever been in, you could look up and see the trees outside very clearly.
The lack of life down in the cave was always going to mean this wouldn’t be our best dive ever. However the dive was turned into what was more or less a photoshoot of Pinion and I for 25 minutes, we were made to pose every few seconds and despite my best efforts at ignoring the guy it did get a bit annoying. There was no mention that our guide would be a photographer at any point on land.
I am not sure I would recommend bothering with the dive here, especially if you can book on to do the Rio da Prata snorkeling, our next activity.
Rio da Prata
After a short walk through the forest you reach the river, and it easy to see that this is going to be some fun snorkeling. The water was clear and there were some small fish jumping out. We chose to use the life jackets, they save a lot of effort when you’re snorkeling. This river was full of fish ranging in sizes from tiny to a pretty good dinner. You get to snorkel down one section and exit just before some rapids would turn this quite sedate activity into an adrenaline junky favourite. You then bypass the rapids on land, and enter again on the other side. This was the highlight of our time in Bonito.
After all these activities we were pretty wiped out, but on the journey back home our driver spotted an ant eater 😀