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Floating on the Rio de la Plata

Considered one of the few 5 star attractions in Brazilby Guia Quatro Rodas (in Bonito, the floating of the Sucuri River and the Abismo Anhumas also have this privilege) and one of the 1000 Places to See Before You Diefrom Patrícia Schultz’s book, the floating tour on the Rio da Prata accumulates these and other recommendations, in case you don’t just trust my words.

I could even say that I do not have words to say how much I liked it, but this is a blog and words are my way of working, so they can’t be missing.

Floating on one of Bonito’s rivers is one of the must-see tours there. at the same time extremely relaxing and excitingyou dive into a crystal clear river and comes across several fish along the way.

In addition to the words of this post, photos and footage will also help me in this task.

When editing the video with the images of the float (which you can find at the end of this post), some of the emotion of the experience returned. I hope you too can feel (or remember, for those who have done it) a little bit of what floating is.

Bonito MS – Floating on the Rio de la Plata

Emotion in words, photos and footage in the crystal clear waters of Bonito

A river with waters so crystal clear that the water just doesn’t seem to exist

Let’s start by “fixing” two pieces of information about the fluctuation of the Rio de la Plata.

  • The Rio de la Plata is actually in the municipality of Jardim, neighbor of Bonito. But as Bonito is the most famous destination, it ended up taking the fame.
  • The fluctuation actually starts in the Olho d’Água River. Only from the middle to the end does the Olho d’Água river meet the Rio da Prata and the fluctuation continues.
Bonito - Floating on the Rio de la Plata
Map of the location of Rio da Prata, on the way to the city of Jardim/MS

See map on Google Maps

It is one of the farthest walks from the center of Bonito, so it is need to book in advance its fluctuation. That’s because it’s one of the most popular activities, and you won’t want to miss the trip or even go without this float.

The road is a bit boring up there, with some dirt tracks.

Know more:
What to do in Bonito – Top 10 Tours and Floats

Tips and General Information

  • The tours must be booked through travel agencies. It is not possible to buy directly in Rio da Prata.
  • By municipal law, all tours in Bonito are accompanied by a tour guide. This applies both to the access trail to the Rio da Prata and to the float.
  • As the road is dirt to Jardim, the recommendation is to drive at a speed between 30 and 50 km/h.
  • Recanto Ecológico Rio da Prata is located on a private farm. There is no public transport to the site. You can go with your own vehicle or hire a transfer. Take this into account when booking the float.
  • This was the most problematic item: how are you going to float in the source of a river, not allowed to use sunscreens or repellents. Get ready, mosquitoes punish!
  • But take the protectors anyway or repellents to use at the end of the float. We disembark at one point and then we still have to walk a little, and at this stretch the mosquitoes seem even more voracious. The Rio da Prata people take part of your belongings to the final point of the float, where you can get clothes and repellent, for example.
  • The Rio de la Plata offers underwater camera rental. It cost R$65.00 on the date of our visit. For those who don’t, it’s worth it.
Ecological corner of the Rio de la Plata
At the entrance to the Recanto Ecológico do Rio da Prata

Finally, we arrived at Recanto Ecológico, but it was not yet time to float. The groups arrive and organize themselves, and the wait was a little long until it’s our turn.

The luck is that the structure of Recanto Ecológico do Rio da Prata is very nice. It has a TV room, souvenir shop (with attractive prices) and hammocks for those who want to relax. Makes you want to stay there all day (in fact, recommended for those who have more time in Bonito). Other activities there are also horseback riding and bird watching.

Finally, it was time for us to start the tour. We passed by a place to pick up the neoprene clothes and boots, diving mask and snorkel, already included in the tour price. If you prefer, you can also request a life jacket (also included), but it is not mandatory. As I don’t know how to swim, I thought it best to ask, but the wetsuit helps with flotation.

O river is shallow in most parts, but in some it is very deep, so just in case I thought it was better to take the vest. Another reason is that it is not allowed to touch the river bedas this raises sediment.

Shallow stretch of the Olho D'Água River - Floating on the Rio da Prata

Although you don’t need to swim, you do need some physical preparation, as the float is about 2,600 meters or approximately 2 hours. I’m not going to lie, I got a little tired at the end of the activity.

Transport and start of the interpretive trail

But let’s go back to the beginning. Before starting everything, we take a truck that takes us to the beginning of a trail through the riparian forest. Is interpretive trailthe guide accompanies us talking a little about the local forest.

O problem of the trail was the mosquitoes. Even using the neoprene clothes, they attacked all the skin gaps that were left, including on the face and neck (remembering that we couldn’t use repellent). The amount of mosquitoes was impressive. It was punk and it just made us want to get into the river right away. But the issue of mosquitoes varies according to the day, we were very unlucky.

Training at the spring of Olho D’Água

So when we got to the river entry point, it was that relief. The first section is an immense natural pool of impressively crystalline waters, the source of the River Olho D’Água. There we give a short training lap to test the adaptation to the equipment, before starting the float.

Stay tuned and prepare your machines. Despite being just training, this is one of the most interesting and beautiful areas of the float. Lots of fish and the colors of the water impress you right away.

Floating on the Rio da Prata - Source of the Olho d'Água River
The source of the Olho D’Água river is the training point for floating

Although it is not necessary to know how to swim, some experience with the use of a mask and snorkel is necessary. In my case, additional experience because the beard interferes with the adhesion of the mask. If you are bearded, try to trim your beard or mustache as much as possible.

But I had suffered more on the Sucuri River, a float we had done the day before.

After a good few minutes circling this initial stretch, we returned to the deck area, where all received instructions to start floating. Among the main ones, not moving away from others, but also keeping a space so as not to disturb the buoyancy of the colleague. And always avoid putting your feet on the riverbed.

start of float

At the beginning, there’s that frenzy to photograph and be photographed on the float.

That’s what we did, in two cameras and taking turns: the GoPro and an older one from Kodak. Although the GoPro records are infinitely better, the wide angle distances objects, so if you want to photograph the fish up close, get very close or use the retractable pole. We only used a float and we had difficulties.

Floating in Bonito - GoPro

About Bonito fish, we saw a great variety. Among the main ones, we can mention the piraputangas (the easiest to see), the dourados, the curimbatás, the piaus and the matogrossinhos (the smallest ones).

I’m not very good at identifying the types of fish, but the important thing is that it’s very pleasant to follow the course of the river and suddenly find yourself accompanied by some fish. Most of the time, however, you walk past them, you don’t follow them. But it’s beautiful and exciting anyway.

Piraputanga - Bonito
When the shoals appear, it’s that emotion, like these piraputangas
Curimbatá in GoPro registration
Golden in Bonito
Record of a golden one, this time by the Kodak Playsport camera

After some time enjoying the photos, and as the route is very long, we decided to relax and just enjoy the float, without photographing. It is worth it. It’s a 2 km route, so there’s time to do a little bit of everything.

At a certain stretch, we were stopped by the guide. In the next stretch, the calm of continuing to float down the river would end and we would catch a strong current in the river. The guide gave some instructions and hit the adrenaline. If we didn’t follow the guidance, we could go off course. And we threw ourselves into the current.

In the end it all worked out and the stretch is as incredible as it is fast. See it in the video (it’s the part without music).

Afterwards, we were able to relax again until we reached the the meeting of the Olho D’Água river (which was until then the river of our floating) to the Rio da Prata.

The floating on the Prata takes place in the last 600 meters of the course and its main feature is the volcano, a stretch in which water springs from the ground causing a kind of effervescence in the water. Incredible.

Rio de la Plata volcano
Cleber went down there near the Rio da Prata volcano for a photo

It is in this final stretch, of the Rio da Prata, that those who are more tired can choose to follow the route aboard a small support boat. It’s a good opportunity to take some pictures and enjoy the view from outside the river.

Finally, we arrived at another deck where our float ended, almost 2 hours after it started.

We had to take off the neoprene clothes and the thing is to quickly apply the repellent (in the end it’s released) and put the clothes on. I was seriously attacked by mosquitoes.

Support boat and piraputangas at the end of the float

At this point in the championship, it was almost 1 pm and we returned by truck to the farm’s support point, where we were finally able to have a nice meal, which also includes homemade sweets. Between lunch and our departure, it was still possible to relax and exchange ideas with the staff about the experience we had lived.


  • Tour: Floating on the Rio de la Plata
  • Direction: Jardim – Mato Grosso do Sul, about 50 km away from Bonito
  • Production: R$ 162.00 in the high season and R$ 132.00 in the low season. Optional lunch (BRL 36.00)
  • Photography: Cleber Alcantara and Fábio Pastorello
  • The best: some stretches are unforgettable, such as the beginning of the source of the Olho D’Água river, the encounters with the fish, the rapids and the volcano. But the experience is, as a whole, sensational.
  • The worst: the mosquitoes, definitely. A torture during the interpretive trail.
  • Year: 2014
  • Country Brazil
  • Rating: ★★★★★

Know more:
What to do in Bonito – Top 10 Tours and Floats

The accommodation of Viagens Cinematográficas in Bonito was an invitation from the Hotel Pousada Águas de Bonito and the tour had the support of the Rio da Prata Group.

Be sure to check out the video of this experience. If possible, watch in full screen to dive with us in this wonder.

This page contains links to websites affiliated with Viagens Cine. We are not responsible for the companies, hotels or advertisements displayed on this site.

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