Birds Paradise in Bonito!

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Sep 09, 2010

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Where I stayed
Muito Bonito

Flag of Brazil  , Mato Grosso do Sul,
Saturday, May 8, 2010

To say the trip to Bonito was epic would be a slight understatement.

We left Foz at about 6 pm. The bus was crap compared to the ones in Argentina, more like a ten year old version of your stage coach, Edinburgh to Glasgow job.

The first drama ocurred when the bus was searched by armed police. This is routine as Foz sits right on the border with Paraguay and its a well documented cocaine trade route through from Bolivia. This was made more dramatic by watching the two brothers (You could tell by their noses!) in the seats in front. I'd noticed when we got on the bus one had taken a decent sized package from his bag and stashed it on himself. When the police came on the were thoroughly searching every other passenger. Me and Em got excluded as tourists but they still gave our bags a good rumage around. Of the guys in front, they searched the one with nothing on him, both guys were sweating but looking mighty relieved. Well dodgy.

A couple of hours later the bus stopped at the Brazilian equivalent of a service station. We thought we may have to change buses here but couldn't understand a word anyone was saying so were unsure, we got off anyway as everybody else seemed to. After a quick heart in the mouth moment as the bus pulled away with our bags in it - only to get fuel. It came back ten minutes later! After waving our ticket at the driver he agreed that we should be changing and we yoinked he bags from the hold.

We then waved the tickets at every bus driver that pulled up until one motioned that it was his bus we should get on. He took us to a town called Douradas. We were meant to get in at 4.30 a.m. In perfect time for our 6.00 am bus to Bonito. Only problem being we arrived two hours late and missed it! The next one was at 4.00 p.m. The station itself was small and as full of undesirables as it was undesirable to be there after a night of no sleep. We tied all the bags together and then to our legs as there were a few people looking like they may try a pinch and run.

Wow! When we made it to Bonito after a mere 28 hours we were so grateful for the place we were staying to be near the bus station and even more chuffed it was near a cold beer and good feed. Poor little Em hadn't eaten in over 24 hours due to the lack of veggie options.

Bonito itself is a small town, though more of a village feel. It is positioned at the southern end of the Pantanal (a massive wetland area famed for wildlife) and is the premier ecotourism spot in Brazil . It is pretty and has a few quaint touches like payphones on every corner in the shape of some of the wild animals, birds and fish you can see in the area. Its also clear to see who has invested in the town. Every street sign carries the mastercard logo and every table in the restaurants either has visa or mastercard engraved or stamped on them.  Bizarre.

The main reason we had come here was to snorkel down the Rio da Prata. Its a small river born from natural springs. For a couple of kilometers you can drift slowly down river and see a load of fish swimming, many quite big! You can also see the water bubbling up from the natural springs with visibility is amazing, 40+ meters. Afterwards we were taken back to the lodge. The amount of wild birds around here was crazy. Huge, flocks of parakeets, humming birds, a toucan and many others.

At one point I was snapping a humming bird when a baby owl came hurtling out of the tree trying to catch it! The owl crash landed in a bush beside me and then jumped up on to a near by branch. Just after I'd got a snap of it a sibling  owl came flying towards it and knocked it off the branch, they both tumbled a bit then flew off. A very cool way to round off an amazing day.
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