See The World
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I wanted to write a post about an amazing place I visited this last Summer and about change, and the change one individual is capable of.
This is a follow-up post continuing on my trip to Brazil that my boyfriend and I did back in August.
After we left the Pantanal we made our way to the city of Bonito, where we snorkeled in the Rio da Prata and visited Buraco das Araras (Hole of the Macaws) where we were able to see these beautiful birds up-close.
Buraco das Araras is not only a beautiful place to visit, but it has a beautiful story.
In 1986, Modesto Sampaio purchased almost 250 acres of land near the city of Bonito in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Upon closing his deal, Modesto discovered there was a huge sinkhole (the second largest in the world) in his land. Sadly, the sinkhole was a dump full of trash, abandoned vehicles that had been pushed over the cliff, and even… human bodies! The only birds here were vultures.
Mr. Sampaio had heard stories of how beautiful this place once was and the echoing sounds of the macaws that had made it their home. He knew he couldn’t leave any part of his land in such a condition. Especially since with each year more and more tourists began to visit the region.
People thought he was crazy to take on such a futile task. The hole is massive, there was too much trash, it would take years! But Mr. Sampaio committed to it, and by 1997, with some loyal helpers, they managed to restore it to its natural beauty after several full truckloads of garbage. But something was missing. The only birds flying around were the vultures still leftover from their former dump of a home. So Mr. Sampaio introduced a pair of captive Red-and-Green Macaws. The macaws disappeared after a few days…. but then, they came back and brought friends with them!
In 2000, the macaws were able to kick out the vultures for good and made this massive sinkhole their own paradise.
About 100 macaws call this place their home now. It’s a site like I’ve never seen, or heard! There are also toucans, and we were told there was an anaconda at the bottom.
Modesto registered this part of his property as a Natural Heritage Private Reserve. Tourists can check out the visitors center and take a walk on the trail around the sinkhole with two awesome lookout points.
For as big as the sinkhole is, it's not that long of a walk around it. I'm sure we took twice as long as most visitors because we couldn't stop taking pictures. There were also other little critters and small mammals we encountered on the trail. It was interesting to learn that macaws mate for life, and we got to see a few male macaws come to the nests and feed the females who couldn't leave because of the babies.
At the end of the tour we hung around the visitor center where they also had a lounging area of several hammocks outside. Kyle and I laid down and relaxed for a while. A few minutes later, an older man walked up to us with an instrument I had never seen. Well, it wasn't as much of an instrument as it was an animal horn of some sort. The man asked if I had ever heard the sound and we said we hadn't. So he played it for us. He was a really sweet man, really happy too. After a bit I realized who he was. I asked him if he was Modesto Sampaio and he confirmed he was. I complimented him for what he did with the land and his mission of conservation. He told me how all he had heard 30 years ago was that he was crazy and only a handful of people shared his vision. "But look at it now," he said.
He told me how he loves meeting people from around the world every day and how he really hopes that he can inspire others to make a change in the world, and that it can start with one person and one simple idea. It doesn't have to be a sinkhole! He said it was also important to him that he was a good role model to his children. I'd say he achieved that status.
I wanted to write this post to not only share pictures and the story of my trip, but to also tell Modesto’s story and acknowledge the people out there who are fighting the good fight and inspiring others. It's something we're all capable of.
Have a great day wherever you are, fellow travelers!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz