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Vulcano Spring at Rio da Prata - Marcelo Krause
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30/07/2009 - 08h33

Bonito for backpackers

 
 

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Dorado fish at Rio da Prata
Dorado fish at Rio da Prata

Bonito for backpackers

 

Have you met Bonito? A small city located in Mato Grosso do Sul, in the mid-west of Brazil.

If not, it is definitely worth it!

At first, it might seem far and a lot of work to get there, but it is actually pretty easy. You can find plenty of information in the internet.

You should stay at least 3 -4 days. There is a lot to see and most attractions are located outside of the town.

 

How to get to Bonito

To get to Bonito from São Paulo, you have to go first to Campo Grande and from there to Bonito. There is not much to see in Campo Grande, but you could stop one day in the city if you have time. It has 700 thousand inhabitants, which makes it a middle sized city in Brazil (it is not amongst the 10 largest).

 

São Paulo - Campo Grande - 1,000 km or 1h20m flight

 

Campo Grande - Bonito - 258 km or 3h by car or bus

 

There are 2 ways of going to Bonito: you can either go on your own, book hotel and tours and find transportation, or buy a package that includes it all. It should be cheaper to go on your own, and it`s definitely more flexible, since in a package you might get stuck with a huge group of Brazilians (which can be quite an interesting experience).

 

Travel agencies where you can buy a package:

 

CVC (www.cvc.com.br)

 

It is the largest travel agency in Brazil, offering packages to all destinations in Brazil. It is usually cheaper and service might not be so good. You can choose the hotel among some options they offer. The packages they currently offer include the flight from São Paulo (SP) to Campo Grande (CG) and the bus from Campo Grande to Bonito. However the package includes only a few tours (not the best ones) in the price, you have to pay separately for the others.

 

Ambiental (http://www.ambiental.tur.br/)

 

Travel agency focused on ecotourism. It is more expensive than CVC and offers more options. They offer tours for Bonito only or joining the Pantanal and Bonito. In all packages you fly from SP to CG, and then it is either bus or flight to Bonito. The packages include more tours, but some of the best might not be included as well.

 

If you go on your own:

 

The following airlines fly from São Paulo to Campo Grande:

 

Gol (www.voegol.com.br)

Tam (www.tam.com.br)

Azul - flies out from Campinas (www.voeazul.com.br)

Trip and Ocean Air also have flights from major Brazilian cities to Campo Grande.

 

From Campo Grande you can take a bus to Bonito (you can also ask the hostel if they offer transportation).

 

Best Place to stay (low budget):

 

Albergue da Juventude - HI Hostel. More information at http://www.ajbonito.com.br/

You should book in advance, especially if travelling in high season (school holidays and public holidays). The hostel is well located in the city, the installations are okay and it is a good place to meet other people travelling around. They also receive a lot of foreigners, so there should be English speaking people among the staff. They arrange transportation for the tours.

 

You might have some trouble in other pousadas (small hotels) since very few people speak English. Some restaurants will have an English menu as well.

 

Tours you should not miss:

 

There are many tours in Bonito. The duration is usually ½ day but some take the whole day (such as Rio da Prata). You have to book before going, which can be done in any agency in the city or through the hostel, which also organizes transportation. Plan your days in advance.

 

Rio da Prata (www.bonitoweb.com.br)

 

· Tour - Some people say it is the best tour in Bonito. You go snorkeling in a crystal-clear water river with abundant aquatic life. Horseback riding and Bird watching (229 species registered) are optional tours.

· Scuba Diving - You can go diving in a deeper part of river, even without previous diving training. Very different from the tour, you can combine both in one day.

 

Abismo Anhumas

 

The most impressive place in the region. It is a cave with a transparent water lake in the bottom, and the only way in is rappelling 72 meters down (and then up). You can either snorkel or dive. A rappelling training on the day before is required. Expensive but worth it.

 

Estância Mimosa (www.bonitoweb.com.br)

 

Typical ranch with a trail passing through several waterfalls, where you can swim in natural pools. It is a nice walk and chances that you will run into a group of monkeys are very high. Great regional food. Horseback riding and Bird watching are optional tours. Located in a region of great environmental diversity within the Cerrado Biome, the Brazilian savanna, and with 190 species registered, Estância Mimosa is a Birdwatching hot spot.

 

Gruta do Lago Azul (Blue Lagoon Cave)

 

Cave with a blue lagoon at the bottom. Unfortunately swimming is not allowed but the formations in the cave are quite interesting. It is the most visited place in Bonito.

 

Useful sites:

 

www.bonitoweb.com.br

www.viagembrasil.tur.br

www.bonitopantanal.blogspot.com (in Portuguese)

 



Written by Luciana Spengler Coelho

 

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