Snorkeling isn’t just for the ocean, as you may know, latest now upon reading my previous post about the Abismo Anhumas Absys, a massive cave with an underground lake. The obligation to rappel down to this particular cave might make it inaccessible to many, but the good news is that Brazil’s eco-adventure capital of Bonito offers plenty of other snorkeling options that allow even the most inexperienced swimmers the unique chance to lazily float in one of the most stunningly clear freshwater habitats in the world.

Rio da Prata

Snorkeling in Rio da Prata is an opportunity like no other, an elite class of adventure in a freshwater paradise. The water is impossibly crystal clear with more fish than a running sushi buffet, and the great variety of plants on the riverbed makes you feel as if you’ve submerged into an aquarium, complete with an occasional anaconda and a caiman.

Luckily, the spectacled caiman we saw was on the shore, and the anaconda was a baby hiding between the rocks

Rio da Prata is a natural lazy river winding through lush green farmland. Snorkelers leisurely drift over gardens of glorious vegetation with a large variety of finned inhabitants including the sizeable metallic dorado, the orange-tailed piraputanga, the smoky-colored pacu, and hundreds of tiny fish darting among the shades of dayglow green, deep purple, and warm maroon.

Tucked away on the edge of the Amazon Basin in the southwestern corner of the country, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Bonito is a destination worthy of its name, which is Portuguese for “beautiful”. It’s indeed a remote but pretty area, set amidst the verdant countryside with tall palm trees and big white Brahman cows contrasting with ochre land. Plain simple “Bonito”.

To top it off, white sandy river bottoms, aquamarine skies, and verdant green foliage combine efforts to create the illusion of a colorful watery wonderland. A serene natural aquarium that’s Rio da Prata your Brazil bucket list is missing!

Check out the compiled video from our trip on YouTube:

At one section of the river towards the end, the sand was bubbling.
Exit from paradise. An activity we should have repeated in the other rivers of the region as well. One of our biggest regrets to this day…