Bonito is an underwater utopia thousands of kilometers from any ocean. It’s fresh water rivers, streams and lagoons are the perfect sanctuary for escaping the Brazilian heat. We stopped by for 4 days on our way to the Pantanal and were truly amazed at the snorkelling in Bonito and number of quality things to do here. We could have easily spent an extra couple of days here. Bonito has the most Incredible fresh water snorkelling, in some of the clearest water I have ever seen. The only downside to this pretty little town is there’s not much you can do for free. However, that doesn’t mean the area isn’t worth visiting. All of the tours here are top notch, especially the Rio da Prata which is a truly unforgettable experience.
booking a snorkelling tour
We arrived out of peak season and didn’t expect to have any problems booking a tour last minute. We were a little surprised to find out the most popular snorkelling tours in Bonito were booked out for the next few days. Luckily, we were able to wait around and adjust our schedule for these. Because of this I would always recommend booking in advance, just to be sure.
Booking a snorkelling tour in Bonito is really easy. All of the prices are regulated, so there’s no need to shop around for the best deal. The only thing that you will need to worry about is, which of the remarkable tours in Bonito you going to do.
*Some tours do require a minimum of 4 people.
The fresh water snorkelling in Bonito is easily one of the premier attractions in Brazil. There are numerous excellent tours to choose from. After talking to a lot of locals and reading many reviews we narrowed it down to our top two. The Rio da Prata and the Rio Sucuri. We decided to splurge a little and do both.
fresh water snorkelling in bonito
The Rio Sucuri was our first snorkelling tour in Bonito. It is famous for having the clearest water in the area. Unfortunately, we were a little unlucky with the weather when we were here. It was cloudy and rainy, not the best weather for snorkelling. However, it was still a fantastic experience.
Once you are fitted with all of the gear, you take a small electric powered boat up the river. From the top you float back downstream for a couple of hours until reaching the initial starting point. Had we wanted to we could have spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing and swimming by the river on their grounds.
gruta de sao miguel Caving
We had an extra day to fill as we waited around for our Rio da Prata tour. So we decided to take a tour to the Gruta de Sao Miguel cave. The tour is only a couple of hours long and it’s the cheapest tour ($20) offered in Bonito. Because of this, we didn’t have the highest expectations. But after a short but very steep decent down into the cave the view and colour of the water was just astounding. We were happily surprised with both the tour and our guide.
Every tour we participated in Bonito had applaudable minimal impact practices and guides who were both informative and passionate about the area. We didn’t mind paying a little more for the tours here knowing that our money was helping to protect the area and employ those who take care of it.
snorkelling in bonito - the rio da prata
Before the snorkelling part of the tour commenced, we went through the usual safety and gear procedures. Then it was a short Jeep ride followed by a beautiful 15 minute walk through the jungle to reach the river. From the moment you enter the water you are surrounded by hundreds of fish. Then eventually you leave the little bay and begin the float downstream. Although there aren’t as many fish in the moving water it is still just as impressive. From the finishing point it’s another short jeep ride back ride back to the base for a tasty buffet lunch.
The Rio da Prata tour was the best fresh water snorkelling tour that we did in Bonito. Everything from the guides, to the gear and the lunch provided was remarkable. If you are only going to do one tour in Bonito make sure it’s this one! I can’t recommend it highly enough.
where to stay
There’s a few really nice places to stay on the outside of town but that can make transport a little harder so we’ve only listed places within walking distance to the town center.
Bonito Hi Hostel is the best backpacker option in town, with a great pool. It’s not the closest to town (800m) but still easily walk-able. The staff also speak English here and breakfast is included which is a nice bonus.
For a bit of luxury you can’t go past Pousada Arte da Natureza. The pools look amazing!
how to get to bonito
To get to Bonito you first need to get to Campo Grande. From here it’s easy to find a bus or van for the 300km journey to Bonito. There were 4 a day when we were visiting.
A hire car is a really good option worth considering, as none of the tours include transportation from town. Europcar is available around Campo Grande and Bonito and offer really good value options.
Or you can even fly into Bonito. There are flights from Campo Grande every Thursday & Sunday. We have consistently found Skyscanner to be the best option to find cheap flights. If you are flexible with your dates, try searching for the whole month you expect to go. Sometimes you can find a bargain!
How to get around
Unfortunately none of the tours in Bonito come with transportation. This means taxi rides and transport can be expensive, especially to the tours which are located one hour from town.
Organising tours through your hostel or with a group of people is a great way to try and save a bit of money, as you can share the cost of a taxi or van.
We had a car that we bought in Chile and loved the ease and flexibility it provided. If you don’t have your own wheels, I would really recommend looking into hiring a car. Split between a few people it would probably work out cheaper.
other things to do in bonito
If we had more time and money we really would have loved to do the Abismo de Anhumas tour. It looks like an incredible adventure packed full of abseiling, caving and diving, but at $700 each it was a little out of our budget for this trip. But, we still had an unforgettable time in Bonito on the caving and fresh water snorkelling tours that we did choose to do. I think the photos and video speak for themselves.