| As our name "The Adventure Kids"® aka Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta of Luxury Experience implies, we love challenging adventures! When we heard about rappelling the Abismo Anhumas located 23 km from Bonito, in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, we knew this was an adventure we had to experience. With the Tom Petty song, "Into the Great Wide Open" playing in our heads, we were ready to experience the ultimate adventure of rappelling 72 meters (236 feet, the equivalent of a 26-story building) to experience the incredible formations in this wet cave. Our adventure involved specialized training, trekking to the site, rappelling, snorkeling, and a boat ride around the inside of the cave to fully experience its majestic wonders. At the end of our experience, we wanted to do it all over again!
Luxury Experience Team getting ready to attack
Discovered in 1970 after a forest fire, Abismo Anhumas opened to the public in 1999 after much planning, mapping, training, and meeting all certifications and safety requirements. When we heard about the opportunity to rappel into the Abismo Anhumas, a dream for adventure lovers, we could not wait to experience it. As their focus is sustainable ecotourism, they only allow small groups access at any time, and only allow 20 visitors per day, hence we booked our spots well in advance of our trip to Bonito in mid-March 2019, as this was an adventure that we did not want to miss out on.
Debra C. Argen at rappel training
Rappelling is a thrilling, exhilarating sport, however you need specialized training to become familiar with and comfortable with the equipment and the techniques used. As safety is their first and foremost concern, in order to be able to rappel at Abismo Anhumas, we had to attend and pass a training and safety course at their state-of-the-art 20 meter (66 feet) climbing tower, the night before we were to rappel the Abismo Anhumas.
Edward F. Nesta checking out the training from 25-feet in the air
On the night of Monday, March 18, 2019, we arrived at the training center, filled out the necessary forms, tied Abismo Anhumas bandanas on our heads to cushion our helmets, and got into the harnesses and equipment that we would use to rappel. Working with individual instructors, we learned techniques on how to pull ourselves up the rope, as well as how to descend. Once we felt comfortable, we started hoisting ourselves up the rope. Initially we were inching our way up, which was very tiring, and we were not making much progress until the instructors called out to remind us to widen our reach and then work the legs and arms together. Wow! What a difference! We felt a rush of accomplishment when we reached the top of the climbing tower and then eased ourway back down. Trained and comfortable, we were ready for adventure and could not wait for the following day to rappel at the actual site, the Abismo Anhumas. The last step before leaving the training center was to be fitted with wetsuits and water shoes that we would use for the snorkeling part of the adventure, which the Abismo Anhumas team would bring to the site for us. (Note: All equipment was well-kept and new.)
Luxury Experience Team
Last minute discussion with instructor Fernando Paiva
Early Tuesday morning, we drove the 23 km (14 miles) from Bonito to Abismo Anhumas with excitement flowing through our veins. Once we arrived at the parking area, we eagerly trekked uphill to the site where we were warmly greeted by the Abismo Anhumas team.
Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen
Geared up and waiting their turn
After walking along a bridge for a view into the Abismo Anhumas, we were pumped for our rappelling experience to begin. Wearing comfortable clothes, with our bandanas on our heads, we donned our helmets (and affixed Edward's camera to his helmet) and let the Abismo team hook up our equipment. We were psyched!
Gilberto and Regina Sacilotti ready to descend
Standing on the platform from where we would rappel down a vertical descent of 72 meters (236 feet, the equivalent of a 26-story building), our hearts were racing like thoroughbred horses at a race track. Excited yes, but we also had a bit of trepidation, and respect for what we were about to experience.
One Last Kiss (hope not) before descent
Edward F. Nesta and Debra C. Argen
As we would rappel side-by-side, we posed for a photo before making our descent. Narrow and semi-dark at the opening, the Abismo Anhumas loomed below us and as we looked into each other'seyes as well as the depth of the rappel we thought, "Are we crazy????" Actually, it was very thrilling as we made our slow descent into the cave and landed on a wood platform suspended over the water.
Luxury Experience Team inside Abismo Anhumas
First step of the adventure accomplished, it was now time to don wetsuits, water shoes, snorkel and mask to explore the cave that has a width of a soccer field and its incredible limestone formations that reach upwards to 20 meters (66 feet) from a depth of 80 meters (262 feet).
Edward F. Nesta - Ready to snorkel
Snorkeling and free diving through the cave lead by our professional guide, we came to know the Abismo Anhumas in a sense that can only be achieved in nature with a thoughtful reverence. The low light and cool waters, approximately 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) also added to the profound and mystical experience.
Hanging out on the floating dock in Abismo Anhumas
Our snorkeling tour completed, we changed back into our dry clothes, and explored the cave in an inflatable boat for an up-close view of the walls and above-water formations. Having rappelled, snorkeled, and boated around the cave we felt as if we had come to know its beauty and its spirit.
Breathtaking limestone walls
We took a last look around the cave before donning our helmets and harnesses again for the ascent to the top. As visitors are individually lifted back up, we took the time to look around and enjoy the ride, shouting with glee at the sheer glory and achievement we felt after this incredible experience.
Debra C. Argen - Getting ready for her ascent
Arriving back at the rappel platform, we were ready to do it all over again! It was a most memorable adventure, one that we would definitely like to experience again on a future trip.
Gilberto Sacilotti - "Going up"
A big shout out to the Abismo Anhumas team of dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced, professionals who not only ensured everyone's safety throughout the experience, they also made sure that everyone had a wonderful time.
Thanks to Fernando Paiva, Edenir Junior, Rodrigo Scordim Martins, Ruan Irola, Dhienatan Wilham, Sondro Scordim Martins, Tiago Vinicius Sata Neves Moraes, Giovane Vargas do Silva, and Clara Antunes.
What a fantastic adventure!!
• Adventure Kids Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta Abismo Anhumas rappel descent (Filmed with Wunder360 helmet camera - Drag mouse on screen to see 360°) - https://youtu.be/tOQ4sAisTkI
• Walking around the floating dock (staging area) within the Abismo Anhumas (Filmed with Wunder360 helmet camera - Drag mouse on screen to see 360°)- https://youtu.be/NizyMBCfdic
• Boat trip around inside Abismo Anhumas (Filmed with Wunder360 helmet camera - Drag mouse on screen to see 360°)- https://youtu.be/4X6rAW7HvkE
• Regina Sacilotti Abismo Anhumas rappel ascent - https://youtu.be/P-KpMDZ55KM
• Debra C. Argen Abismo Anhumas rappel ascent - https://youtu.be/ugW6_PUsSpI
• Edward F. Nesta Abismo Anhumas rappel ascent (Filmed with Wunder360 helmet camera - Drag mouse on screen to see 360°) - https://youtu.be/2gYrEhMhQH0
Select Videos Filmed with Wunder360
Important Notes: You must attend a training class the night before you rappel, so plan your trip accordingly and book well in advance as they only allow 20 visitors each day. There is a minimum age of 11 as well as a weight limit. Certain health conditions may prevent you from being able to rappel. The cave is semi-dark and there are a few narrow spaces during the descent and ascent where you touch the cave walls. Certified scuba divers with diving cards can opt to dive the site however you must book this in advance as they only allow 4 divers per day.
Inside Abismo Anhumas
"All equipment used in Abismo Anhumas follows international safety specifications (VIAA and CE) and is inspected before and after each operation. The use of your own or third-party equipment is prohibited. All equipment must be provided by Abismo Anhumas."
For more information on Abismo Anhumas, please visit their site: www.AbismoAnhumas.com.br
Training Center (Centro de Treinamento)
Rua General Osório, 681 - Centro
Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS)
Telephone: +55 (67) 3255-3313
Read more about our experiences in Brazil in the Pantanal and Bonito in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Gastronomy and Adventures sections.
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. Flighttime 3 hours 25 minutes.
GOL Airlines and LATAM fly from Guarulhos (GRU) International Airport to 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 a car. 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? Wearlight 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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