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Overview

Brazil’s biggest, and most successfully operated, eco-tourism playground, Bonito (Portuguese for “beautiful”) is a small town in Mato Grosso do Sul whose surroundings offer a spectacular array of natural attractions. Hike along trails that weave through the emerald forests of the Serra da Bodequena. Rappel into deep caverns studded with stalactites and stalagmites. Don a mask, snorkel, and neoprene suit and accompany schools of rainbow-colored fish as you make your way down crystalline rivers. All of these activities and more are guaranteed to thrill since Bonito’s attractions are rigorously preserved. For this reason, they can only be ...

Brazil’s biggest, and most successfully operated, eco-tourism playground, Bonito (Portuguese for “beautiful”) is a small town in Mato Grosso do Sul whose surroundings offer a spectacular array of natural attractions. Hike along trails that weave through the emerald forests of the Serra da Bodequena. Rappel into deep caverns studded with stalactites and stalagmites. Don a mask, snorkel, and neoprene suit and accompany schools of rainbow-colored fish as you make your way down crystalline rivers. All of these activities and more are guaranteed to thrill since Bonito’s attractions are rigorously preserved. For this reason, they can only be visited by making a reservation, paying an environmental fee, and hiring a guide (or going with one of the town’s many tour agencies). Although independent-minded nature buffs may chafe at the rules – and costs – many find them a small price to pay for experiencing natural marvels in such pristine condition.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A landlocked municipality located in the southern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Currency: Brazilian Real
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    From June to September (dry season), Bonito's rivers are at their most transparent.