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By Davi Baldussi, Contributing Reporter

River head of Formoso River, photo by Werner Zotz/EMBRATUR.
River head of Formoso River, photo by Werner Zotz/Embratur.

RIO DE JANEIRO – There’s a place located in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, close to Paraguay, named Bonito (beautiful) that is know for the unbelievably blue colors of its water. Almost 900 miles from Rio, this small city of 17,000 residents is surrounded by natural beauty, and is one of the most frequented touristic points in Brazil.

This region was first occupied by Indians, but instead of Portuguese, it was the Spanish conquers who colonized the area. Later, in the 17th century, Brazilian explorers, called “bandeirantes” took control of the place. One of the first land owners in the region named his farm Bonito, that’s why in 1927 the city received the name.

A Gruta do Lago( The Cavern of the Blue Lake), photo by Daniel De Granville/EMBRATUR.
A Gruta do Lago (The Cavern of the Blue Lake), photo by Daniel De Granville/Embratur.

Years earlier though, the Terenas Indians discovered one of the biggest attractions in Bonito, A Gruta do Lago Azul (the Blue Lake Cavern). After walking into a cave a 100 meters down, visitors gaze upon a lake with intensely blue waters, illuminated when sunlight beams down the entrance, reflecting off the water to create an eerie turquoise glow.

Some say that the lake is 90 meters deep which attributes to the color. The cavern can be visited by only 250 people a day and in 1978 declared National Patrimony, an ecological reservation created and now the land is administrated by the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Beyond A Gruta do Lago Azul, most of the natural beauty’s encountered in Bonito are in private property’s, whose owners frequently charge for visits. There are many options for rafting, trekking, mountain bike, and others sports mostly close to the water. Bonito is also called the “water paradise”.

The best way to get to Bonito from Rio is in a plane. The city is 1444km away from Rio so a bus trip would take more than a day. But Bonito doesn’t have an airport. The solution is buying a ticket to Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, and from there take a bus. The whole trip costs approximately R$700,00.

Here are some options to stay in Bonito:
Albergue da Juventude
Rua Lucio Borralho, 716
Tel.: (67) 3255-1462
www.ajbonito.com.br

Chalé Apart Hotel
Rua Nova Jerusalém, 834 centro
Tel./fax: (67) 3255-1422
www.chaleaparthotal.com.br

Excel Park Hotel
Rua Antonio Alle, nº 77
Jardim Andréa
Tel.: (067) 3255-2054 e 3255-1780
www.hotelexcel.com.br

Pousada Caramanchão
Rua das Flores 1.203
Tel.: (67) 3255-1674
www.caramanchao.com.br

Pousada Céu de Estrelas
Rua Joana Sorta, 1122 Vila Donária
Tel/Fax.: (67) 3255-3301
www.pousadaceudeestrelas.com.br

Pousada Chão de Pedra
Rua Soldado Desconhecido, 580
Bairro Formoso CEP 79.290-000
Telefone: (67)3255-4281
Fax: (67)3255-2264 (67)9917-5277
www.chaodepedra.com.br

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