The Bonito region encompasses three major cities: Bonito, Bodoquena & Jardim, and is located in the western part of Mato Grosso do Sul State (Brazil). The region is a famous eco-tourism destination because it has several trails, waterfalls, sinkholes, caves and crystalline rivers where you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities (snorkeling, scuba diving, light rafting, rappelling, wildlife & bird watching, horseback riding and trekking).
Two major formations dominate the landscape of this region: a limestone formation called Bodoquena Sierra (600 m – 450 m) and the Miranda depression (300 m – 100 m). Crystalline rivers and creeks flow down to the plains in the form of rapids and waterfalls. The presence of calcium carbonate in the water helps precipitate all other particles to the bottom, providing a magnificent water transparency.
There are over 18 eco-tours in the region. It is required to make reservations through a local travel agency, since some of the tours have daily limits. Also, an accredited tour guide will accompany tourists to ensure eco sustainability of sites. Below, I describe two of them:
Cave of the Blue Lake
After a descent of 100 m through a cave trail, you will find a lake of bluish waters, whose estimate depth is 90 meters. The roof of the cave has many stalactite formations, which has taken millions of years to form. At the bottom of the cave an expedition has found pre-historic skeletons of a giant ground sloth and a saber tooth tiger. Only two forms of life are found in the lake, an albino shrimp and a worm.
The tour takes approximately 2 hours and there is a limit of 225 visitors per day. The cave is located 20 km from Bonito.
Flotation on the Sucuri River
A van takes the visitors to the “São Geraldo Ranch” (18 km from Bonito), where a trail by the riverside forest leads to the river spring. Next, a boat will take you for a 45 minute ride along the crystalline waters of the Sucuri River. Once you have the appropriate gear (wetsuit, life vest and snorkel) you can jump into the water and start floating on the surface of the water. During the 750 m course you will observe, subaquatic flora and shoals of fish – “curimbatás” (Prochilodus), “dourados” (Salminus brevidens), “pacus” (Metynnis) and “piraputangas” (Brycon orbignyanus).
Ceramic work by the Kadiweu Indians as this one can be found in local shops. Approximately 1,000 Indians live in the Kadiweu Indian Reserve (Bodoquena Sierra).