January 2, 2011

Disconnecting to reconnect while following the river's flow

To celebrate the new year, my wife chose an unusual destination: Bonito - one of Brazil's many eco-tourism havens. If you haven't read about it in National Geographic or Lonely Planet, this place is worth checking out. Hard to describe and certainly hard to forget. Bonito is a region cut by beautiful rivers of crystal-clear waters due to the high concentration of limestone. Rivers with romantic names like Rio Formoso, Mimoso and Rio da Prata, with amazing waterfalls and a wildlife that makes you feel like you're on a Discovery Channel show. In the five days we were there, we spotted macaws, alligators, armadillos, capuchin monkeys and a 3-meter anaconda, which we saw while snorkeling close to the source of Rio Formoso.

One of the things that amazed me is how the entire community seems to be dedicated to promoting a sustainable eco-tourism model. As a marketer, I love to see when a destination carves a well-defined position. Speaking to tour operators, the owner of our B&B or to the many guides who showed us around, there was always a genuine concern around preservation. Bonito seems to be moving in the right direction.

In this remote location, it wasn't easy to get a mobile connection, which was just wonderful. We ended up disconnected and yet very connected as a Family. One of the guides who took us snorkeling down the Rio Sucuri, told me that he tends to ask those coming from the big cities to just relax and let yourself follow the river's flow. What a wonderful way to start a year....

I found this video on eco-tourism produced by the Brazilian Government we some images of Bonito.


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