Bom Jardim - Cachoeira da Serra Azul - Lagoa das Araras, Mato Grosso
Snorkeling in crystal clear rivers:
The little community Bom Jardim lies approx. 145 km north west of Cuiabá and has got 685 inhabitants. Bom Jardim lies amidst rocky forested elevated plains. The district capital Nobres (40 km away from Bom Jardim) has been founded in 1719 by gold seekers. Nearby is the reservation of the Santana-Indians (indigenous people). The Santana-Indians do not accept visits and want to live untroubled.
The surrounding of Bom Jardim is characterized by mountain ranges, forests, rocky caves, waterfalls and grottos (Lagoa Azul). In the grottos you can still discover old Indian rock paintings. An ideal area to hike and to snorkel. However the grotto is closed by the environmental department right now. Tourists unfortunately do not have access to it.
The grottos and lagoons nearby Bom Jardim remind very strongly of Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul. Unfortunately the grotto in Bom Jardim is not as famous as Bonito and therefore not made accessible to tourism. If you want to visit the most beautiful waterfall of Mato Grosso, the "Cachoeiro da Serra Azul", you should plan on 2 nights in Bom Jardim.
Cachoeira da Serra Azul
The way to this waterfall is a little difficult and you need to be in good physical condition. From the Pousada Reino Encantado you drive 32 km to the Fazenda Serra Azul, where a sanctuary for Yellow-collared Macaw (Ara auricollis), red macaw and other bird species is located at. The animals (from illegal captivity or sick) are to be coddled up here, recorded and registered. Then they are brought back into the forest. But also in the great outdoors you will be able to observe very many parrot and bird species as well as Black and Gold Howler (Alouatta caraya), Brown Capuchin (Cebus apella).
On demand you get a life vest and snorkeling equipment here. You travel 2 km to the entrance of the nature park, to get to the waterfall and to the blue lagoon. You hike approx. 1 km through unaffected nature (gallery forest) and climb up 480 steep stairs. The way is the destination! You are not going to regret this physical effort since you are going to be rewarded by a breathtaking landscape and view. You can swim/snorkel in the blue lagoon together with manifold fish.
We are interested in a gentle ecological tourism to preserve the nature. In Bonito (southern Pantanal, nearby Campo Grande) the Grotta Azul is already irrevocably damaged by the masses of tourists. To visit Bom Jardim is in any case worthwhile and it stands in extreme contrast to overcrowded Bonito in the southern Pantanal with its mass tourism.
Waterfall "Cachoeira da Serra Azul"
The area around Bom Jardim is not yet made accessible to mass tourism and waits for its awakening. The authorities set value on gentle tourism to preserve the beauties of nature and not to exploit the area by mass tourism and ruthless interests.
Lagoa das Araras (1 km away from Bom Jardim):
Another highlight in Bom Jardim is the Lagoa das Araras. In the late afternoon hours and in the early morning hours (04:45 p.m. or 05:30 a.m.) Yellow-collared Macaw (Ara auricollis), parakeets and other parrot species cavort there. They stay the night at this spot and return every day. It is a unique spectacle of nature that you should not miss.
Lagoa das Araras
Note:When booking one night at the Pousada Reino Encantado (Bom Jardim), you visit the Lagoa das Araras and snorkel in the nearby river Salobro ("Rio Salobro"). The river can easily be reached afoot from the lodge.
When booking two nights at the Pousada Reino Encantado (Bom Jardim) you furthermore visit the beautiful waterfall with the blue lagoon ("Cachoeira da Serra Azul"), which invites you to snorkel and/or swim as well.
What you should bring along:Swimming/bathing clothes, sneakers, sandals, shorts, hat, sunglasses, sun lotion, rain jacket (it might get cool in the evening), underwater camera – if available. There are not very many mosquitos in this area but you should think of it as a precaution. Apart from a yellow fever immunization and the normal standard such as tetanus and diphtheria shots, no other immunizations are required.
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© Photos by Günter Stysch