Hiding in the hemline of the Amazon basin is Bonito, Brazil. Like a looking glass to the underworld, it’s one of the most precious places in South America. While the surface is an unassuming place of ochre landscapes, beneath the layers is a destination worthy of its name, which is Portuguese for “beautiful.”
It’s the gateway to the Pantanal region, yet in this maze of brushlands, the focus turns from the Pantanal’s jaguars and spectacled caimans to serene natural aquariums. Located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the magical and seemingly mythical waterways offer shallow, warm, undulating pools that are clear as glass. Credited as the cleanest water on the continent, the area’s rivers, lakes, and waterfalls beckon to an elite class of adventures in search of a freshwater paradise and fairy forests.