Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Bonito Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
photo © Lucas Cordeiro Barbosa Dijigow
 

The area surrounding the municipality of Bonito is one of the best natural attractions in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the South-Western part of Brazil.

One of the best sightseeing from Bonito is the Rio da Prata and Rio Sucuri / Rio Formoso, where floating guided tours allows to snorkel and dive into the crystal-clear water: a unique scenery created by the water flowing onto the limestone rocks.

Abismo Anhumas
photo © Edmilson Sanches

About 20 km West from Bonito other striking natural formations are the Abismo Anhumas (Anhumas Abyss), an underground lake 70 meters below the ceiling of an enchanted cave with underwater stalagmites, (among the biggest in the world, up to almost 20 metres high) and the Gruta do Lago Azul Natural Monument, one of the biggest flooded caves in the world, were prehistoric large mammals fossils of giant sloth, sabre-toothed cat and giant armadillo have been found.   

50 km South of Bonito, the Buraco das Araras, a massive sandstone crater,  hosts hundreds of aracari toucans and red/green macaws.

La Mosquitia, Honduras

La mosquitia
© José Ignacio Huerta Gray

The wilderness area named La Mosquitia, located in the western part of Honduras, has one of the largest tropical rainforests in the world. It is characterized by great biodiversity and unexplored places.

In 2015, the National Geographic announced that a secret archaeological expedition with the assistance of the Honduran military discovered an unknown ruined city: the legendary Ciudad Blanca, also known as the City of the Monkey God.
Due to his extraordinary biodiversity and by the animals’ behavior, it is supposed that no humans have been in the lost city in the last 600 years, since it was abandoned.  To protect the area, its location is still not revealed.

To be safe, it is necessary to visit the rainforest with a guide, because the area has no tourism facilities and it is nowadays used as a drug route.

Pantanal, Brazil

Pantanal
© Raphael Milani
The Pantanal Conservation Area, located in Brazil, Bolivia & Paraguay, is the world’s largest tropical wetland, with an estimated surface area of about 170.000 square kilometers (at least 20 times the size of the Everglades, in Florida); it is one of the most unspoiled and unexplored places of the world.
 
For much of the year, the 80% of the land is submerged by the water, allowing the growth of a large variety of aquatic plants and supporting one of the world’s best diversity of wildlife. 
In addition to anacondas, caimans, jaguars and many other animals, you can also meet the pantaneiros, people living here of animal husbandry.

Bosawàs Reserve, Nicaragua

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, located in the northern part of state Nicaragua is one of the most unexplored tropical forests in the world. Designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1997 and approximately 21,800 km² in size, the reserve is the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere, after the Amazon Forest in Brazil. His name is derived from the Bocay River, the Mount Saslaya and the Waspuk River.
 
The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is the homeland of the indigenous communities of Sumos (Mayangna) and Miskito (about 40,000 people), who live by hunting and fishing, protecting the biodiversity of the area.
 
Owing to his high botanical diversity, within the Bosawás reserve lives more than 200,000 insect species and a rich variety of animals like quetzals, guacamayas, harpy eagles, pumas, jaguars and the rare Baird’s tapir.
 
Actually the reserve is in real danger due to the deforestation by non-indigenous settlers that in the last years has reduced by 29% the forest area.
 
The Mayangna people and some organizations for human rights denounced the current situation to the Organisation of American States to stop that environmental damage. 

Redwood National and State Parks, U.S.A.

redwood
 
Hyperion is the name of a Sequoia Sempervirens, the world’s tallest known living tree located in the Redwood National and State Parks, California (Western U.S.A.). It is 115,61 m (379.3 ft) high.

redwood
photo by Kai Schreiber

The biggest tree in terms of volume (1.487 mc) is General Sherman, a giant Sequoiadendron Giganteum located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California (U.S.A.).

It is also the longest-lived of all trees on the planet with an estimated age of 2.300 – 2.700 years and his name is in honor of William Tecumseh Sherman, a general of the American Civil War.