I have just returned from wonderful photo trip to Bonito in Brazil. It is located in the state of mato grosso do sul. This area of Brazil, along with the state Matto grosso (which is just above it) is full of wildlife. This is mainly due to the massive amounts of water and wetlands in the pantanal, which drain into the rivers of bonito. Bonito is a wildlife photographers dream, with crystal clear rivers and waterfalls, full of fish, otters, caimans and the dreaded anaconda (In fact Bonito is one of the best places in the world to see the Anaconda). Bonito is also home to an amazing array of colourful birds. From the red macaws to the Toco Toucan to a vast array of hummingbirds.
In terms of places to take photos in Bonito you are spoilt for choice. The area is primarily privately owned farmland with cerrado vegetation. There are areas of Mata atlantica style jungles too. But many of these farms are open to tourism and for people to see and photograph the beauty of the area. Many of the amazingly clear water rivers and waterfalls in Bonito are on privately owned land, but they have very good tourist facilities for visiting them, whilst preserving their appearance and protecting the wildlife. Rio da Prata river was one of my favourite rivers in Bonito, and one that has amazing photo opportunities. This river in Bonito is one of the clearest I have ever seen and is teeming with many species of fish. We were lucky enough to see otters fishing as we snorkeled down the river. The whole trip was about three hours, one of which was in the water. You just let the river take you down stream whilst observing the abundant wildlife. I took my underwater camera bag for some photos of the vast array of fishes.
Another amazing photo trip I took whilst in Bonito was to the Burraco das Araras. This is a ancient sinkhole, which is home to dozens of beautiful red macaws. They roost here and use the minerals as a clay lick. You will get to photograph many of the macaws in flight here. They usually travel in pairs through the air, and it can make for some stunning photos. Make sure you take a long zoom lens though. I was slightly unlucky with the weather and the fact I went on a national holiday, so there was a bit more of a rush. I will definitely be going back though as it has great potential.
Overall the best way to get great photos out in Bonito is just to hire a car or bicycle and wander around on the empty roads and dirt tracks. Everywhere you look there is something going on. Whether it scores of parakeets flying through the air, Toco Toucans resting on a branch, hummingbirds feeding on beautiful flowers, or monkeys swinging through the trees. To get the best photos in Bonito I take a zoom of at least 300mm (I took my Canon EF 200-400mm, a wide angle lens (i took my Canon 14mm and my Canon 24-70mm) for the waterfalls and landscape shots, and if you can some underwater housing for you camera. And don’t forget you insect spray. This place as you can imagine is full of insects.
See the entire Bonito collection