Owing to the enormous quantity of limestone in the ground, the water of these rivers passes through a real natural filter where impurities are deposited at the bottom of the river bed, leaving the rivers to be some of the clearest and most transparent in the world. A number of fish and plant species have adapted to this high calcium environment, so that all rivers teem with life. The government of the region has consciously aimed to promote tourism and develop infrastructure for receiving and directing tourists, while strictly controlling the numbers of tourists allowed. These limitations are aimed at preserving the rich natural beauty of the area, maintaining popular tourist sites as close as possible to their natural state.
There are more than 30 tours available in and around the Bonito area. The majority of the tours are based around exploring the ecology and natural environment of the area. Almost all of the tours need to be booked through an official tourist agency in the town and require an accredited guide, although this will be organised at the time of booking. Some of these most popular tours include: RIO DA PRATA (Silver River) This award-winning snorkelling tour features crystal-clear water, lots of fish,a walk through the forest and a delicious lunch.
AQUÁRIO NATURAL (Natural Aquarium) The tour starts with a 25 minute walk through the jungle, followed by a 900 m snorkel, where you float with fish and appreciate the underwater vegetation. After starting the trek where you can see varieties of animals of the region, you can finish with a visit to the museum of natural history.
CIRCUITO ARVORISMO (The trees circuit) The adventure trek allows you to walk through the treetops on a suspended steel walkway installed in native trees such as Aroeira and Mahogany. The walkways have platforms fixed in the trees, varying in height from 10 to 20m.
GRUTA DO LAGO AZUL (Blue Lake Cave) The tour starts with a 10 minute walk to the entrance of the cave, which was discovered by a local Indian in 1924. In its interior, after descending 100 meters, it is possible to see the lake of crystal clear water and depth of approximately 90 meters, which makes it one of world’s biggest flooded caves.
Many tour agencies exist in Bonito, although increasingly they are being located in the hotels and “pousadas” (small hotels) in the town. It is best to ask about tour agencies when you book your accommodation.
Bonito has a full range of hotels and “pousadas” (small hotels), catering from expensive five star resorts to back-packer budget accommodation. In the holiday season (July and December to March), accommodation can be very hard to find and prices also rise accordingly. English is spoken at the more expensive hotels and resorts, but very few of the lower priced hotels have competent English speakers, although Pousada Villa Verde does have English speaking staff.