10.08.2012 - 13.08.2012 32 °C
The logo for the small town of Bonito in Brazil reads: "Bonito es Bonito" (Bonito is beautiful), and its not lying. The town is small and has the feel of the an English sea-side town, but its what surrounds it that attracts the masses.
On our first day we cycled 10km or so to a stretch of river that has been developed to include some small restaurants, bars, volleyball courts and snorkelling hire. Locals and tourists alike flock here and with good reason – the crystal clear waters. Owing to an abundance of limestone in the ground, the water is so clear you can see for meters and meters and meters, and you share the experience with the hundreds of fish that also enjoy the view. And when you're not swimming you can lay down, enjoy the 28 degree sun and watch the abundant bird-life fly by. A more relaxing day it is hard to imagine.
After we had spent the day at the river we cycled back to the hostel and were welcomed by the smell of a barbecue starting and the sound of caipirinhas being made. Like their Argentinian neighbours, the Brazilians like cooking outdoors, and also like their Argentinian neighbours, they don't like any of their guests to finish eating until they are nothing short of stuffed, which was fine with us. The price of the barbecue also included as much caipirinha as we could drink, so when we finally fell into bed at some hour of the morning we were full to the brim.
The day after the barbecue we booked onto a 3 hour snorkelling trip that had come highly recommended by others in the hostel who had done it the previous day. After driving for an hour or two, we got into wetsuits, donned our snorkelling equipment and got into the river. The next few hours were spent idly floating down the river in the company of thousands of fish ranging from a couple of centimetres long to a metre or more. And these fish weren't shy – at one point I found myself accepted amongst a school of huge fish that followed me, or perhaps I followed them, for a good 50 metres or so. It was so interesting to submerge ourselves and glimpse at life under the water, although its not without its dangers. Anaconda and caiman are regularly spotted on the trip and whilst they are not usually dangerous, there was one story of an American (well it would be, wouldn't it?) who got too close trying to get an underwater photo of a caiman and that was the last trip that unfortunate chap ever did. No sightings occurred on our trip, but the group who left an hour later spotted a caiman which frayed a few nerves.