Find out how to get there, where to stay, what to do in Bonito (Brazil) and discover how the beauties of this city live up to its name!
Charming and preserved: this is how we can describe the nature of this little place in Mato Grosso do Sul. To account for the uniqueness of Bonito (name that means beautiful in Portuguese), tourism in the region has emerged as one of the most organized in Brazil, always seeking to respect the environment and create sustainable alternatives for the preservation of nature. Let’s get to know this city?
Where is Bonito
Bonito is located in Mato Grosso do Sul, 297 km from the state capital, Campo Grande. See below where Bonito is on the map:
How to get to Bonito and move around the region
Discover how to go to Bonito by plane, car or bus and understand what alternatives you have to get around the city and its surroundings:
How to get to Bonito
By plane, it is possible to travel directly to the regional Bonito Airport (BYO), 14 km from the city center. Another alternative is to take a flight to Campo Grande Airport (CGR), 300 km away, and from there take a rented vehicle, transfer or bus (#como-chegar-em-bonito-de-onibus). Flights to Bonito Airport are usually more expensive, but it is worth checking whether the time and cost of travel between Campo Grande and Bonito compensate for the lower price of airline tickets.
A transfer between cities can cost from R$ 100* the way, and the trip to Bonito lasts approximately 4 hours.
The bus trip from the capital lasts about 5 hours and costs R$130* per person per leg with the company Vanzella.
And to arrive with your own car or a rented car from Campo Grande, the best option is to take the BR 060 to Sidrolândia and from there continue to Nioaque and Jardim.
Fox Tips 🦊:
- If traveling by bus or plane, take a sweater with you because of the air conditioning;
- If traveling by car, confirm the route with your accommodation, as GPS services may indicate an outdated route. In addition, always be aware of the fuel so that you don’t run the risk of missing it on routes where gas stations are further away from each other.
How to get around Bonito
Own or rented vehicle
Having a car in Bonito can optimize your itinerary and even help you save money, since the other transfers available in the city charge per shift or stretch. You can rent a car both at Bonito and Campo Grande Airports.
Shared vans can be hired when scheduling tours with Bonito’s receptive agencies. They usually charge per shift or per day according to the chosen tour and distance.
Private drivers can be hired through receptive agencies. The approximate cost of a private transfer is BRL 300* per day. It’s the most expensive alternative, but if you’re going to share it with more travelers, it’s worth it. That way, you share the cost and even fit in more than one tour per day, taking advantage of the flexibility of schedules that private transfers provides.
Another available service is the “motorcycle taxi”. For short distances within the center of Bonito, the price is fixed and costs R$10*/ride. One of the companies that provide this service is Arara Moto Táxi, which can be contacted at 67 99940-0373.
Taxi is also a possibility of transport in Bonito. There are several taxi ranks in the city. The price per ride is fixed and varies according to the destination, and within the center it costs R$20*/ride.
Hotels and inns in Bonito
Before choosing where to stay in Bonito, it is important to know which kinf of transport you will use during your stay. If you have your own or rented car, you can even stay in hotels and resorts farther from the center. If you depend on shared transfers or taxis, the suggestion is to stay in a more central area, where you can easily access restaurants, bars, shops and tourist agencies, in addition to being within the route of the vans that take you to the tours.
Marruá Hotel Bonito
One of the indications is the Hotel Marruá, a little further away from the central square (20 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by car). The rooms offer air conditioning, minibar and TV. It is a good option for families, as it has swimming pools of different depths and a great indoor restaurant, which saves you on those days when you have a busy schedule and all you want at the end of the day is to rest and eat something delicious in the comfort of the Hotel. We tried the breaded tilapia fillet, it was very tasty and at a great price, R$49* for a well served individual dish.
🌱 Sustainability: the hotel has solar panels and a dispenser with hygiene products to avoid mini plastic packaging.
Selina is becoming one of the biggest hospitality brands today. Combining innovative design with coworking spaces, excellent wifi connection, leisure areas, activities focused on well-being and local experiences, Selina has a great infrastructure for those who want to travel and work. It is very well located, close to the central square, and has private and shared rooms.
What you need to know before traveling to Bonito
- The plugs in general are 110v, but it is possible that in some accommodations it is 220v, so bivolt electronics are ideal;
- It is not indicated to drink water from the tap or fountains, as it can cause stomach ache;
- Hire agency. We recommend our partner Ygarapé, as putting together an itinerary on your own to Bonito is not that simple, you need to have an excellent notion of distance and time between one tour and another to see what combinations to do per day. The agency also helps to put together a personalized itinerary, with more or less adventure, with intense or lighter physical exercise, in addition to considering the seasonality of each tour and balancing costs according to the possibilities of each client. Remember to inform the agency if you need a quote with transportation included.
When to go to Bonito
A great time to visit Bonito is between June and September, a period with more pleasant temperatures, less rain and consequently greater visibility in the fluctuations. The water can get a little colder, but wetsuits worn during float trips help to keep the body warm. This is also the best time to see the macaws, celebrities around here.
During the summer heat, the most popular attractions end up being the waterfalls. Due to the rains, the volume of water increases, making them even more beautiful and perfect for a bath. Prices at this time may be more attractive, however, visibility on the floating tours, the most desired in Bonito, may be impaired by rain.
How many days to stay in Bonito
There is a lot to do in Bonito, so consider booking at least five days in the city. Ten days would be ideal to do everything calmly and go beyond the more classic attractions. To explore the region well, going to more distant places or booking more immersive experiences, it is possible to stay 20 days without repeating tours.
How are the tours in Bonito
Bonito is a safe ecotourism and adventure tourism destination, as many attractions follow ABNT standards. Attractions have a fixed price, visitor limit per day, and entry vouchers are issued exclusively by the city’s tourism agencies – there are no ticket offices at tourist attractions. The ideal is to schedule the tours in advance through agencies such as Ygarapé, one of the largest in the city and with more than 30 years of experience.
Fox Tip 🦊:
- It was the Ygarapé Agency that received me in Bonito. They created an itinerary considering what I wanted to visit and also suggested tours far beyond what I imagined. It was essential to have this support to be able to optimize my travel days, so I could learn more things and in my time.
What to do in Bonito
Among the attractions of the city in Mato Grosso do Sul are:
Floating and diving in Bonito
Bonito is known especially for the fluctuations in rivers with crystalline and bluish water, whose transparency is due to the amount of limestone present in the water. During the experience, it is possible to see several fish, especially Piraputanga, Curimbatá and Dourado.
One of the most sought after places for the floating tour in Bonito is Recanto Ecológico Rio da Prata. In addition to snorkeling in crystalline waters (where an ecological boat powered by solar energy is used to move to the floating point), the resort offers scuba diving, bird watching, ecological trails and regional lunch.
Other floating points are the Sucuri River, the Natural Aquarium and the Mysterious Lagoon. To learn more about these and other tours in Bonito, you can access the Floating and Diving pages of Ygarapé Agency.
Caves in Bonito
Perhaps the most famous is the Gruta do Lago Azul. For many, it is considered the city’s postcard, with crystalline, bluish waters and geological formations in perfect condition. Depending on the time of year and the time of day, a beam of light enters the cave’s upper opening, making the blue of the water even more vibrant.
In the same complex of caves, you can visit the Cathedral Cave, whose geological formations are imposing and with formats that resemble cathedrals. It is possible to combine a 9km cycle tour on the Adventure Route to the cave and, in addition to the conventional trail, take underground trails that cross the mountain. This complex also includes the São Miguel Caves, dry caves, which are among the oldest in the planet.
The Gruta do Mimoso is a cave with several halls, being allowed to float in the first one. Floating in a cave is an unforgettable experience!
Another dream (now realized!) is the descent of the 72 meters of the Abyss of Anhumas in an electric rappel. The tour can be just contemplation with or without floating, but you have the option of doing a baptism dive here or, if you already have certification, diving up to 18 meters with a cylinder.
There are more places to discover caves and contemplate the wild fauna and flora of Bonito. You can find everything on the Cave and Contemplation page of the Ygarapé Agency.
A place with a great structure, trails and waterfalls is Estância Mimosa. In addition to the silent boat powered by solar energy used during part of the tour, the resort also has environmental projects such as a vegetable garden and agroforestry. It also offers a regional lunch with organic salads from the garden, and has a shop with handicrafts from nearby communities.
Parque das Cachoeiras has seven waterfalls for you to enjoy. To get to them, you have to follow a trail that is approximately 1,700 kilometers long, but it is a quiet and easily accessible path. Most of the route is on a wooden walkway.
And for those looking for more adventures in waterfalls, it is possible to go rafting and buoy cross. The Eco Park Rio Formoso and the Eco Park Porto da Ilha offer this type of tour. More information can be found on the Ygarapé Agency trails and waterfalls and adventure tours pages.
What to take to Bonito
Want to know what to pack on a trip to Bonito? Here goes a list:
- Protetor solar e repelente (de preferência biodegradáveis);
- Sunscreen and repellent (preferably biodegradable);
- Cutlery kit, straw and reusable bottle;
- Water shoes;
- Hiking shoes or hiking boots – several tours require closed shoes for trekking;
- Hiking sandals;
- Clothes with sun protection;
- Waterproof jacket.
Remember that you can find most of these hiking clothes and gear directly Columbia’s website with a discount! ✌️🦊
And in addition to making a checklist of what to pack for Bonito, don’t forget to guarantee travel insurance. We always recommend traveling with insurance, especially in ecotourism and adventure tourism destinations.
Sustainable Tourism in Bonito
Although Bonito is one of the most organized ecotourism destinations in Brazil and concerned about the environment, it continues to have to deal with challenges such as deforestation, rains and nearby crops that end up clouding rivers, such as Rio Formoso.
Something that can be rethought at the municipal level is the excessive use of plastic bottles and cups in the city, for example. A possible solution would be for hotels and tourist sites to provide gallons of water for tourists to fill their reusable bottles, thus reducing the need to buy plastic bottles.
There is still tourism focused on animals too. In some places it is possible to take pictures with macaws and boa constrictors and even manipulate them, a practice that we DO NOT encourage here at Live More, Travel More.
Some sustainability initiatives, such as the unmissable Casa do Vidro, are examples of how recycling discarded material can generate raw materials, jobs and income, in addition to contributing to the environment. See below for more tips on how to take care of Bonito!
Be a responsible traveler
Here are some sustainable travel tips:
- Take a straw, glass, bottle and other reusable items, essential to reduce waste during your travels;
- Buy a 5-liter (or more) gallon of water at the market to fill reusable bottles;
- Do not use chemical products on the body and hair before fluctuations to avoid contamination of water in rivers, ponds and waterfalls;
- Do not touch or hug wild animals, always keep a minimum and safe distance;
- Do not offer food to wild animals, especially with the intention of attracting them;
- Do not take selfies with wild animals, as by doing so we encourage animal exploitation through tourism – find out about best practices in wildlife tourism here.
Where to eat in Bonito
Gastronomy will also be part of your trip to Bonito. Check out some of the best restaurants in town:
- Juanita: praised for its flavor and impeccable service, Juanita offers regional dishes. The dish of the day, well served and accompanied by a natural juice, costs R$ 39.90*. Open for both lunch and dinner.
- Casa do João: with a familiar and pleasant atmosphere, Casa do João is a large space with live music, tasty food and signature drinks, such as Lagoa Misteriosa. The host, João, makes customers feel at home: he stops by the tables to chat with the travellers. One of his children is the head chef at the restaurant.
- Marco Velho: want to know where to eat cheaply in Bonito? The answer is right in the center of the city, at Restaurante Marco Velho. You can choose any of the dishes (very well served by the way) or eat at the varied buffet that costs R$43* a kilo.
- Restaurante Cazero: with homemade food and self-service style, it is also known for having more affordable prices.
- Zapi Zen: this pizzeria has a pleasant atmosphere and the tables on the street are a charm of its own. Pizza flavors range from the most classic to the most elaborate, and the stuffed crust is the specialty of the house. To give you an idea of the price, a special broto pizza, which would be an individual portion, costs R$ 35*.
- Delícias do Cerrado: to cool off a bit, visit this ice cream parlor with flavors of fruits from the Cerrado. Here you can find Pequi, Guariroba, Araticum, Buriti, Graviola and many other ice creams.
The best time to travel to Bonito is in winter, between June and September. This is the driest season, when water visibility is at its highest. And, to boot, it’s the macaw sighting season too.
Bonito is considered an expensive destination to travel considering Brazilian standards, especially due to the attractions, which are practically all paid and with fixed prices. To balance the values, consider choosing more economical lodging and restaurants.
Bonito is essentially an ecotourism destination. You will find attractions ranging from floating, diving and waterfall baths to trails, bird watching and abseiling.
Now that you know a little more about Bonito, you can get an idea of what the region’s attractions are like, right? We guarantee that after visiting there, you’ll never forget the experience!
* Amounts mentioned were collected in December 2022 for reference only and are subject to change.
Sponsorship: A special thanks to our partner Agência Ygarapé who organized and sponsored this trip. 🥰