The Serra da Bodoquena mountain range surrounding Bonito is waterfall country. Almost all of the region's eco-reserves feature nature trails that wind through the native Cerrado ecosystem, following crystal-clear rivers from their idyllic sources (natural springs surrounded by tropical vegetation) to their inevitable encounters with other rivers. Along the way, you’ll find cascades and waterfalls of all shapes and sizes waiting to be observed and photographed, often from suspended viewing platforms). These sites are also prime for diving, soaking, and floating. Although the water is chilly, treating yourself to an invigorating natural hydro-massage as you sit back on a sculpted rock more than compensates.
Mouth of the Jaguar Waterfall (Boca da Onça)
The highest waterfall in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the 515-foot-high (157-meter-high) Boca da Onça is only one of a dozen falls scattering the lushly vegetated yet rocky landscape. A guided 3.5-hour tour along a 2.5-mile (4-km) nature trail allows you to pass by them all and stop for refreshing dips in several of them.
Cachoeiras do Rio do Peixe
Stuffed with colorful schools of exotic pacu and dourado, the aptly named River of Fish (Rio do Peixe) weaves its way through the canopy forests and rocky outcrops of the Cerrado area. A three-hour guided trek along the shores of the river allows you to view the terrestrial and aquatic landscapes at your leisure. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to plunge into tranquil natural pools and rushing waterfalls.
Parque das Cachoeiras
Located 10 miles (16 km) from Bonito, Parque das Cachoeiras showcases six fabulous cachoeiras (waterfalls), each with its own pronounced attributes. Amor is the highest and most majestic with a 20-foot (six-meter) curtain of falling water, while the less voluminous Figueira is fringed by a small beach, ideal for kids. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy Carretilha, where you can zipline right across the blue pool formed by the cascades. All six falls can be visited during a three-hour trek.
Cachoeiras da Estância Mimosa
The Estância Mimosa, a former cattle ranch converted into a nature reserve, is home to eight waterfalls, all of which can be visited during a 3.5-hour trek through the lush landscape. Special mention goes to Desejo, with its curious rock formations, and Salto, featuring a 20-foot (six-meter-high) natural diving board from which, channeling your inner Tarzan or Jane, you can let out a primal yelp before plunging into a clear, blue pool.