Bonito – it’s not just about the water.
There is at least one attraction that involves none of the wet stuff.
Ecotourism entrepreneur, Senor Modesto Sampaio used to be a farmer. In 1986 he acquired an unusual piece of land. Part of the land included a giant sink hole, a natural sandstone crater with it’s own unique ecosystem. The largest sink hole in South America, and second largest in the world. Of course, engineers advised him to cover or fill it somehow, so that he could use all the land for farming, but Modesto, now in his 70s, realised its unique potential.
Bonito is the centre of responsible travel and ecotourism in Brazil.
It’s a small, fast growing town in the central region of Brazil, and it was my home for 3 days.
Thanks to the recommendation of Fabio Pellegrini, I was able to connect with one of the leading tour operators of Responsible Tourism in Bonito – Ygarape.
Ygarape’s founder, Juca Ygarape, really seems to be the father of eco-tourism in Bonito. He discovered many of the attractions of Bonito over the last 20 years. Juca is the man that the Discovery Channel or National Geographic call when they need a local expert. (Juca showed me his videos, where he tracked a huge wild anaconda in the water, and introduced it to scientists and professional photo-journalists).
Over the years Juca and his friends have also been responsible for designing many of the guiding principles to keep the tourist trade here sustainable.