Bonito is a small Brazilian city located in the Bodoquena Sierra in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul - a region with a tropical climate. The city is located in the middle of the Bodoquena Sierra plateau, where the soil is predominantly formed by calcareous rocks, which are responsible for the crystal clear waters of the region that draw so many tourists who want to snorkel and dive .
The Bonito area is Brazil’s center of adventure and nature sports, having been awarded the title of best ecotourism destination 13 times by the country's leading travel and tourism magazine. The tourism agencies offer tours for every type of interest, like snorkeling, rappelling, scuba diving, horseback riding, hiking, biking, boia-cross, birdwatching and visiting waterfalls.
There are now almost 40 different attractions in the area at 25 different locations - most on private property. These are not all located in the city itself. Most of them are 20-60 kilometers away, in every direction. To preserve environmental conditions and to maximize tourist experiences, visitation to the various attractions is controlled. There are daily limits for each attraction and the visitors are split into small groups and are assigned specific start times so that there are not too many people together at one time. For instance the maximum number of people that can go to the Anhumas Abyss is 20 per day and the maximum number at some of the other attractions is 150. At some locations, they split people into groups of 15, while at others the groups are 9, spaced throughout the day.
Some of the guides speak English, but many do not. So if you want to make sure that you have an English-speaking guide, you need to pay extra for one. You may get lucky and get an English-speaking guide for your particular start time, but it may be that your start time only has a Portugese-speaking guide.
During peak periods, such as Brazilian holidays, the most popular attractions sell out, so it is best to reserve ahead of time. But during a recent visit, the director of tourism told me that there are other great sites where the property owners are just waiting for financial backing in order to develop more great attractions to attract and delight visitors. In years past, ranch owners were kind of skeptical about opening up their land to ecotourism - many of them preferred to just raise cattle. But after the success realized with attractions on other ranches, owners are not so reluctant any more!