We are staying at Catarino’s Guest House and we want to go and swim with giant fish at Balneario Park. We’ve just had a really exciting time in the last few days exploring the largest wetlands in the world – right near here in The Pantanal of Brazil.
We have picked two of the least expensive tours but discover that transportation and tours in this town have set prices, so no matter where you book, it is expensive and all the same.
To get around we book moto-taxis. Now in Peru, these are little motorbikes with a cabin at the back and we figure that is what we will get today. But no! Two motorbikes turn up and I am extremely nervous as my son heads off in the distance! At least they provide full helmets, which is a bonus.
Balneario Municipal Park
We want to go to the Balneario Municipal Park which is located a bit outside of the town of Bonito where we are staying. About 6 km or so we believe. What really makes this Balneario special is the experience of swimming in parts of a crystal clear river full of huge fish.
All around Bonito is giant carved fish, birds and animal statues. They appear as phone boxes or totems amongst other decorations.
What’s inside Balneario Park
This part of the river is obviously not in its completely natural state. However, it is well maintained and does not feel too artificial.
First, we head off for a walk around Balneario park to see what we can discover. The wooden walkways are well set out. The water is pretty blue-green in color and the fish look amazing.
Feeding the Fish
With fish food available for sale, we are armed and ready to feed the fish. We soon get into the fun of fish feeding as we watch them jump out of the water.
We rent snorkels and jump in but it is very, very cold and I really do not like cold water.
Sometimes the fish nibble at your skin or suck on it, and that feels very, very weird. As they swim past you, their bodies might also touch you and it is a very weird feeling. You love it or hate it.
The fish are the most famous part of Balneario Park and what brings people here.
We were quite fortunate that a couple from the Guest House was here and offered to take out photographs too.
One thing that ruins it is the rough and somewhat jagged stone steps as my feet get grazed a bit and my son clutches at me as we get in and out.
It’s So Quiet!
In the middle of the week, Balneario is really quiet. When we checked the Trip Advisor reports, they were quite inaccurate saying that it is busy even in the middle of the wee. However, we found it semi-deserted.
One downside of Balneario is that it has so many mosquitoes. This limited our walks and times that we could sit around on the wooden boardwalks and relax watching the fish.
Hammocks And Happy Feet
Anyway, we really had too much time here at Balneario – two hours would have done it. So we brought some snacks and sat in the free hammocks. We then finish off with a nice foot bath.
Time to go River Tubing next and we can’t wait!
Questions And Comments
- Have you ever swum with fish?
- How did it feel?
- Would you ride on the back of a motorbike if that was the only taxi you could get?
- Tell us in the comments below – we would love to know.