Brazil, Ecotourism, Latin America, Travel Guides, Voyage


Imagine yourself in a place where the sunshine is dazzlingly beautiful and at every turn your breath is taken away, and you find yourself in a haze of loveliness. Envision a region where miles and miles of flat, pristine fields meet hazy elevations far in the distance and then plunge into profound valleys covered with jungle, only to be separated by the crystal clear rivers.
This place is the Serra da Bodoquena National Park in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The Serra da Bodoquena covers almost two hundred thousand hectares
of land andis a protected area of natural beauty, accommodating many animals including endangered species of catfish and jaguars.I stayed at the Pousada Arte da Natureza, in the small town of Bonito. H2O Ecoturismo are great if you want to do a few tours; they focus on eco tourism, and even better they operated from the lobby of my hotel! This probably wasn’t the cheapest excursion i’ve ever done, but I’d heard great things about Bonito and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

Bonito field

The first tour I did was the Rio da Prata. This is a stunning place where you can snorkle in the clear waters and watch the tropical fish glide by. I was picked up from my hotel by a private transfer and after an hours drive through sunny farmlands and bumpy tracks I arrived. We had an early start and by 7am the macaws were squawking, horses were galloping all over the fields and rays of light were kissing the leaves. It was so relaxing here that I almost forgot I was on a tour.Wetsuits, boots and snorkels were provided and the guide gave us
instructions,then took us to the river. There are strict rules when you enter the water; no standing on the bottom and no kicking in the water. This is to ensure the habitat is left undisturbed. The water is about twenty degrees celsius so it’s actually very pleasant floating around.
The river carries you along for a few hours at a gentle pace so you can watch the thousands of fish as you glide by. It is an otherworldly experience that I highly recommend.

Bonito fish

If, however you don’t fancy a guided tour down the river you can go to the Balneario Municipal which is located 5 miles from Bonito. Here we found restaurants and more places to hire snorkelling equipment.
You can go in and out of the fish filled water whenever you want, take a break to sunbathe or walk along the trails to see the very friendly marmoset monkeys.

Bonito pond

The second tour that I recommend is the Boca da Onça which starts at a huge country house. A jeep picks you up and takes you to the start of the trail where you begin walking through the forest heading down into the valley.. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen here including giant anteaters and monkeys. There’s also waterfalls and many a sparkling pool along the way that are absolutely mesmerising.
Here’s something that will make your heart beat faster – on this tour i got the chance to swim through a cave and emerge under a magnificent waterfall! (one ticked off the bucket list).When you reach the bottom of the valley after following the rivers and waterfalls, there is another opportunity to swim in the luminous waters before hiking up about a thousand steps to the top of the valley again to observe the landscape.
This area of the world has given me memories that I’ll never forget, and when I left the Serra da Bodoquena, I left with
a little piece of its magic that I will hold in my heart forever.
What do you think? Is it time to book your plane ticket?