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'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'

What makes this trip special?

Caves, freshwater rivers and adventure activities

Caves, freshwater rivers and adventure activities

Bonito

A fantastic off-beat destination with spectacular scenery and some excellent outdoor activities such as river snorkelling and rappelling.

Wildlife watching paradise

Wildlife watching paradise

The Pantanal

The wetlands of the Pantanal offer wonderful wildlife experiences, with some of the best opportunities to see the animals and birds that are most emblematic of the South American continent.

Itinerary map for Brazil 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Bonito
  • 2 Bonito
  • 3 Bonito
  • 4 Bonito
  • 5 Refugio da Ilha Lodge
  • 6 Refugio da Ilha Lodge
  • 7 Refugio da Ilha Lodge
  • 8 Refugio da Ilha Lodge
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'

DAY 1

Arrive Campo Grande - Bonito

You reach the southern Pantanal by air, usually from Sao Paulo. On arrival at Campo Grande airport, you pick up your rental car from the desk at the airport. There are few major roads and not much traffic in the area and navigation is fairly simple. You set off to Bonito, a journey of around 4 to 5 hours. Here you stay for the next three nights at a mid-range lodge. Bonito is a small three-street town in the Bodoquena mountain range. Its spectacular limestone scenery, crystal clear freshwater rivers and stalactite-strewn caves make it a focus for a wide variety of adventurous pursuits, from horse riding and rappelling to freshwater snorkelling. An impressive wildlife list including toucans, alligators, monkeys and anteaters adds to the area's enticements.

DAY 2
B

Gruta Azul and Fresh water snorkelling in crystal-clear waters of Rio Sucuri

In the morning your English-speaking guide will meet you at your lodge from where you set off driving in your hire car to visit Gruta do Lago Azul, a dramatic cavern with a cobalt blue underground lake. You continue to the Rio Sucuri, about 20km outside from Bonito, for a freshwater snorkelling in its crystal clear waters. There is a short walk to the river by a forest trail where you might be lucky enough to spot black monkeys and agouti. You are supplied with a buoyancy jacket, snorkel and flippers and you set off to float gently downstream along a shallow 1.7km section of the river. The underwater scene is pretty amazing, a natural tropical aquarium with colourful tropical fish in the pin-clear waters. A boat accompanies visitors (for those who tire of snorkelling or don't wish to enter the water). When we tried this trip we were lucky enough to see a smallish anaconda about 2m long swimming near us in the quiet waters of a bend in the stream. It's rare to see them so our guide had a closer look and took photos. (We kept going!) Afterwards you drive yourselves back to Bonito where you have the rest of the day free. There are more excursions available locally at additional cost.

DAY 3
BL

Estancia Mimosa

This morning your guide will meet you at your lodge from where you will all set off driving in your hire car to visit Estancia Mimosa, 24km from Bonito. Your visit starts with a lovely trail winding through the forest surrounding the Mimoso river. The trail passes by 8 waterfalls, some of which have areas where you can bathe. At the end of the trail a lunch of regional food is served in the central ranch house, then relax in a hammock for a while before you drive yourselves back to Bonito. Estancia Mimosa is a good place for bird-watching. Horse-riding at the ranch is an option for the afternoon, at extra cost.

DAY 4
B

Fresh water snorkelling in Rio da Prata, visit to Buraco das Araras

This morning your guide will meet you at your lodge from where you will all set off driving in your hire car to Rio da Prata to do a second river float. This excursion won the 2008 Best Ecological Attraction in Brazil award. The tour begins with a walk through the forest surrounding Rio da Prata, with the chance to spot birds and other wildlife before diving at Olho d'Agua, a tributary of Rio da Prata. Floating in the crystal-clear water feels like being in an aquarium with dozens of different species of fish and aquatic plants. Wetsuits, shoes and equipment included. At dusk you drive and then walk to the Buraco das Araras to see the red and green macaws that live in this immense sinkhole crater, which has a lake at its base.

DAY 5
BLD

Southern Pantanal

Leaving Bonito in the morning, you head north along a gravel road into the southern Pantanal. You might choose to stop on the way at the Boca da Onça private reserve and take the 4km forest trail to a series of 14 waterfalls, the highest of which, Boca da Onça, stands at 156m tall. The visit takes approximately 3-4hrs. After crossing the Miranda river twice, a small dirt road through forests and meadows leads to Refugio da Ilha Lodge, your base for the next four nights. The lodge is situated on a 4000ha fluvial island in the Salobra river delta. It has 6 rooms, each with private bathrooms, A/C, ceiling fans and screened windows. Facilities include two bars, a covered rest area, dining hall, observation deck, a small library, souvenir shop and a small pier.

DAY 6
BLD

Three full days at Refugio da Ilha Lodge on safaris accompanied by the lodge's guide to see the Pantanal's flora and fauna, on foot or by horseback, boat or vehicle.

DAY 7
BLD

Full day at Refugio da Ilha Lodge on safaris accompanied by the lodge's guide to see the Pantanal's flora and fauna

DAY 8
BLD

Full day at Refugio da Ilha Lodge on safaris accompanied by the lodge's guide to see the Pantanal's flora and fauna

DAY 9
B

Return to Campo Grande

Today you drive back to Campo Grande, dropping off your car at the office at the airport, in time to catch your flight to your next destination in Brazil.

Guide prices for 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing
Prices are per person and include:
  • all accommodation
  • all land transport in Brazil
  • meals as indicated: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
  • tours as described with an English speaking local guide
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • domestic flights
  • airport and departure taxes
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Bonito 32°C rainfall 190mm
2 Bonito 32°C rainfall 190mm
3 Bonito 32°C rainfall 190mm
4 Bonito 32°C rainfall 190mm
5 Refugio da Ilha Lodge 33°C rainfall 219mm
6 Refugio da Ilha Lodge 33°C rainfall 219mm
7 Refugio da Ilha Lodge 33°C rainfall 219mm
8 Refugio da Ilha Lodge 33°C rainfall 219mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Bonito & the Southern Pantanal'