Brazil’s ecotourism capital, Bonito (meaning 'beautiful') is a charming little town with a rustic vibe. Set in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Bonito is visited for its myriad rivers with pure, transparent waters; natural hot springs and waterfalls; lush forests inhabited by multi-colored macaws and toucans; and dozens of ancient limestone caverns, many of which contain spectacular underwater lagoons. Here are our favorite ways to spend three days exploring Bonito's wealth of natural attractions.
Day 1: Crystal clear waters
Morning is the best time to visit the Gruta do Lago Azul, given that when the sun’s rays illuminate this lagoon, the waters turn to a surreal blue. After checking that out, take a plunge into the uncannily transparent waters of Rio Sucuri or Rio da Prata. Surrounded by nature, you can snorkel alongside exotic schools of fish in the most crystalline of Bonito’s rivers.
Day 2: Underground lagoons
Embark on a full-day excursion to the Abismo de Anhumas. Equipped with rappelling equipment, take a flying leap into a crack in the earth that widens into a vast underground cavern, adorned with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites. Once you reach the dim depths of the abyss, you'll want to try out snorkeling or diving in the underground lagoon.
Day 3: Jungle waterfalls
Chill out by bathing in the chilly but invigorating waterfalls of the region, whose crashing sheets of water exhilarate travelers. The largest and most spectacular is Boca da Onça (Mouth of the Jaguar). This 515-foot (157-meter) curtain of water is only one of a dozen falls and cascades sprinkled through a lushly vegetated nature reserve explored via hiking trails. Less strenuous activities include tucking into a traditional ranch lunch, hanging out in a natural spring, and dozing off in a hammock in the jungle.