| If you plan on doing any snorkeling while in Bonito, we highly recommend first visiting the Aquario de Bonito in Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil to learn about and become acquainted with the various freshwater fish that you might see while snorkeling in its many rivers, which will make for a more interesting adventure. The Aquario de Bonito opened in 2007, and it is the first aquarium in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The aquarium came into existence after brothers Tiago Perez and Marco Aurélio visited the Aquário de Ubatuba, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil in 1999, and decided that there was a need to create an aquarium in Bonito to make visitors aware of its biodiversity.
School of fish ("School is in session")
We visited the aquarium during our trip to the Pantanal and Bonito in late-March 2019 and had the opportunity to see rare and large varieties of regional freshwater fish including more than 3,000 fish in their large tanks.
As scuba divers, we always enjoy visiting aquariums to have a better understanding and appreciation of the aquatic world. What made the Aquario de Bonito especially interesting for us is that their focus is on regional freshwater fish.
We had a great time touring the aquarium with the guide and learning about the aquarium and its plethora of fish, which included Pantanal regional fish, Cara-açu (Astronotus crassipinnis), Pacu-peva (Metinnys maculatus), (family: Chanacidae), and Pacu-peva (Metinnys mola). An interesting note about Pacu is that it is a relative of the Piranha and its bite is more forceful than a pit bull.
Other fish included 2 Brazilian catfish species, similar in appearance, the shovel-nosed Pintado (found on many restaurant menus) and the shovel-nosed Cachara, both of which can reach lengths up to 3.3 feet / 1 meter. The distinguishing characteristic of Pintado is that it is spotted, and Cachara is striped. We also saw Pintado hibrido (hybridbred in captivity, family name: Pimelodidae), which can reach a maximum size of 51-inches / 1300-mm. Other catfish we saw included Jaú (Gilded catfish), and Pirara (Red-tailed catfish).
Not only did we see Piranha at the aquarium, we also saw "Caldo do Piranha," the famous Piranha broth that it is thought to bean aphrodisiac on many restaurant menus during our visit to Bonito. We also saw Traira (Hoplias malabaricus, family: Erythrinidae) a wolf-fish, that we also saw on restaurant menus.
We especially enjoyed feeding the Piraputanga (Brycon hilari, family: Characidae), which jumped into the air to stealthily remove food from the bamboo poles that we held high over their water tank. In the wild, they can jump out of the water to eat seeds from trees and plants hanging over the water's edge.
Children at heart, we made time to pet the gentle, spotted Araia (stingrays), that were velvety soft to the touch, which made for a very memorable experience at the Aquario de Bonito.
The Aquariode Bonito is open daily from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm, children under 5 years of age are admitted free, and there is a special price for groups of 15 or more.
Catching up on what is new at Aquario de Bonito
For more information, please visit their website: www.aquariodebonito.com.br
Aquario de Bonito
Rua 24 de Fevereiro,2083
Mato Grossodo Sul, (MS)
Telephone: +44 (67) 3255-3085
• Watch as Debra C. Argen pets the stingrays - https://youtu.be/JFuVVG7OXUQ
• Watch as Debra C. Argen feeds the jumping fish -https://youtu.be/wW5SVL_emqw
Read more about our experiences in Brazil in the Pantanal and Bonito in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, and Adventures sections.
Come Visit Me at Aquario de Bonito
Important Travel and Planning Information
How to Get There from São Paulo
Azul Airlines flies from Campinas (VCP) Airport to Bonito (BYO) airport. The flight time is 1 hour and 35 minutes. Note Azul Airlines only flies to Bonito on select days of the week. Check their schedule accordingly. Flight time 3 hours 25 minutes.
GOL Airlines and LATAM fly from Guarulhos (GRU) International Airportto Campo Grande (CGR). The flight time is roughly 1 hour 50 minutes. To get from Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul to Bonito, you can rent acar. Drive time is roughly 3 hours 40 minutes.
Travel and Tourism information:
We used Agência Ygarapé for expert and professional tour information and booking our adventures. The agency has been providing high-quality, attentive service for tours, packages, accommodations, and transport services and more for over 20+years, serving Bonito and the Pantanal region.
Please visit their site for more information (site is available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish): www.ygarape.com.br.
Agência Ygarapé is open daily from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm (and until 10:00 pm during high season).
RuaCoronel Pilad Rebuá, 1853, Centro
Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS)
Telephone: +55 (67)3255-1733
Cellular: +55 (67) 99213-7374
For more information on Bonito and Pantanal, please visit: http://www.visitbrasil.com/en/destinos/bonito.html, http://www.visitbrasil.com/pt/destinos/bonito.html
Important Tips for Bonito and Pantanal
Bonito is focused on eco-tourism and as such they only allow a certain number of visitors to eco sites each day. Be sure to book your tours well in advance to not miss out.
For Water Sports (snorkeling), the sites request that you not use sunscreen, tanning lotions, or insect repellent to help keep the waters pristine.
Going hiking in the woods? Wear light colored clothing as dark colored clothing attracts mosquitos!
There are no ATMs, only banks: Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Economica and Sicredi, so plan accordingly. Some small restaurants accept cash only.
Shops stay open late in Bonito usually until around 10:00 pm and most accept credit cards.
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