My trip to Bonito/MS - Brazil

Intro

After spending a couple of months trying to find somewhere to go during my vacations, with the help of some friend's suggestions I decided to go visit Bonito for 7 days.

Why Bonito? First, I did not want to go to beaches - they would be crowded because of Carnival.
In addition, I wanted to disconnect. Be not available for a while.
And - of course - because Bonito is very bonito!

(bonito is portuguese for beautiful)

I went to Bonito on Feb 8 and left on Feb 15 - so, 8 days/7 nights.

I am planning to publish some posts to help people wanting to go to Bonito, to share tips, suggestions, and talk about the experiences I had in there.


How to get to Bonito

Bonito is a municipality located in Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), which is one of the Central-Western states of Brazil.

There are three ways to get to Bonito: coming from Pantanal (North of MS) via overland trip; Coming from Campo Grande via overland trip; Or flying to the Aeroporto Regional de Bonito (Bonito Regional Airport - BYO). I choose the third one.

Azul offers a direct flight on Sundays, departing from Viracopos (VCP - Campinas) at 12am and landing at Bonito's airport (BYO) at 2pm. Even though there is only a weekly direct flight, it was the best option for me because coming from Campo Grande requires an additional 4-hour overland trip. That is tiring.

During low season, you can always find a seat on this flight. Thus, I suggest you to wait until Thursday or Friday to buy your flight tickets. Although I looked up the prices on Tuesday and bought it on Wednesday, I kept monitoring and the prices did not go lower. At the end, I saved R$300.00 :)

Where to stay at Bonito

You should always have an accommodation before arriving at Bonito. It does not matter what period of the year you go there, the city will be full.
Yes, there are lots of hostels and hotels there. However, do not take the risk. Have a place to sleep before leaving your home!

After some research, I found two hotels and a hostel that could accommodate me during my trip (2/08 to 2/15).
The daily rate at the hotels were about R$160.00 breakfast included.
The hostel charged R$40.00 (shared room) with breakfast too.

Since this was my first REAL solo trip, I - paraphrasing a friend - decided to go experimenting: The activities there should occupy my whole day and money doesn't grow on trees, so I decided to stay at the hostel. This deserves a post of its own.

You can find out where to stay using Hostel World or even the city website, Portal Bonito (I am afraid they do not have a version in English =/). Try to stay as close as possible to the main street (Rua Coronel Pílade Rébua).
Tip: if you got an Android phone, make sure to download Nokia HERE and its offline maps for Centro-Oeste region of Brazil.

Bonito/MS - Brazil map

What to do in Bonito

After booking a hotel room, also book up the activities you want to do. The costly prices are fixed and most of them have to be booked up through a local agency. I suggest you to ask your hotel if they have a partner agency. You can always get in touch with the agencies directly. Here is the agency list available at the Bonito's website.

Also, the website contains a list of all the activities you can do there. I recommend you to do at least one snorkeling and one eco tour to the waterfalls.

Beware: everything in Bonito is expensive. Everything. Besides paying for the activity itself, you will also need some transportation to the place where the activity is hold. The agencies will offer you shared transport (like mini vans, mini bus, etc) but it is not cheap. If you are vising Bonito in a group, renting a car will probably be cheaper. I noticed that there are many signs so you will not have much trouble to drive to the activity you have chosen.

If you will be staying there for a long period - more than a week, that is - it may be good to reserve a free day to go visit some natural balneary. There are many of them and they will not require you to have booked up previously.

Brazilians often go to Bonito between January and March. The locals told me that the best period to go there is February to first half of March, mostly because it rarely rains and if it happens, it will be usually by the end of the afternoon. This will assure your activity will not be cancelled - activities like snorkeling need crystal clear water, and after a rain the water might get turbid.

IMHO: four days at Bonito is enough to provide you with a good taste of Brazil. In addition, you will not have problems bringing your 5+ year old kids.

I am planning to write more about the activities I did there soon.

Summary

  1. Research and decide when you will be staying at Bonito.
  2. Decide how to get there.
  3. Book up an accommodation.
  4. Research/make a list of the activities you want to do.
  5. Contact local agencies and book up the activities.
  6. Buy tickets, pay for the reservations, pack up!
  7. Have a good trip!!!

Questions? Is there anything you want me to talk about?