Diving in Brazil..
World-class mergulho list

Snorkeling at Fernando de Noronha. Brazil
Snorkeling at Fernando de Noronha - © Detoledo/Istockphoto

With over 7,000 km of coastline, the list of places for diving in Brazil is not short by any means, that explains why diving - as much as surfing - are favorite pastimes among Brazilians.

Are you a scuba diving fan?

Whether you're fond of free diving, coastal diving, wreck diving, cave diving or ecological diving, you'll find the following list useful and informative when the time comes for you to organize your scuba diving travel experience.

Of course, being such a huge country, distance plays an important role when choosing your diving destination but the good news is that you're likely to find a suitable spot just about anywhere you are in coastal Brazil, or close enough.

Two world-class destinations come to mind when talking about diving in Brazil: Fernando de Noronha (State of Pernambuco) and Arraial do Cabo (State of Rio de Janeiro).

From the Brazilian NE to the Southern State of Santa Catarina there is a good number of options to choose from, being perhaps the States of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo the ones with biggest concentration of diving sites.

The inland State of Mato Grosso do Sul has the little town of Bonito, with crystalline river waters ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving in lagoons and caves. Rivers like Formoso, Peixe and Sucuri, caves like Gruta do Lago Azul and Lagoa Misteriosa.

A model city in terms of sustainable tourism, Bonito (Portuguese for beautiful) is an ecotourism paradise located on the South border of Pantanal, around 280 km from Campo Grande city, capital of the State.

Unless you are truly experienced, with appropriate equipment, cave diving won't go beyond the 20 meters-depth range, the limit for amateur or recreational diving anywhere. Beyond that depth, decompression time applies, but you don't need that to explore and enjoy diving in Brazil.

Just remember that about 90% of all marine life happens within the first 15/20 meters range so, unless you'd like to do some serious wreck diving (Titanic-depth fantasies, perhaps?) or to meet face-to-face with a giant octopus, forget about it.

Arraial do Cabo. Brazil
Arraial do Cabo - © Elder Salles/Istockphoto

In all circumstances and irrelevant of the place you choose to dive at, don't forget to bring your diving credential, the kind provided by PADI and other organizations worldwide.

The deeper you'd like to go beyond the open waters diving certification it would require further qualification on your part, like Nitrox diving and much more.

For now, let's mention other top places for diving in Brazil.

In and around Maceio - capital of the Northeastern State of Alagoas - there are some nice diving sites with great visibility and water temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius such as Cabeços, Eufrásio, Paripueira (30 km to the North), Praia do Francês (20 km to the South) and Recanto.

Fortaleza - capital of the State of Ceará - has Cajueiro and Farinhada, Canal das Arabaianas, Canal do Uruaú and some top-score diving sites at the Parque Estadual Marinho Pedra da Risca do Meio, such as Pedra do Mar, Pedra Nova, Pedra da Botija, etc.

The State of Pernambuco - capital Recife - has the world renown archipélago of Fernando de Noronha. Recife itself is considered to be the capital of wreck diving in Brazil for the amount and variety of sunken boats available to divers.

Porto do Galinhas - around 60 to the South - is famous for its chain of reefs, ideal for snorkeling and diving. During low tide, water gets trapped by the reefs forming "piscinas naturais" (natural pools).

The small State of Paraíba - capital João Pessoa - also has some excellent mergulho (Portuguese for scuba diving) opportunities at Areia Vermelha, Buraco, Jardim das Esponjas, Pedra de Baixo and the natural pools at Picãozinho.

Salvador - in the State of Bahia - is not short of options when talking about diving in Brazil either.

Banco da Panela is located at the entrance of Salvador port and considered to be an archaeological diving site due to the number of sunken vessels dating back to the XVII century. Other well known places are not far from Ilha de Itaparica, like Caramuanas and Jequiriçá.

Diver meets Fish
Diver meets fish - © Dirk-Jan Mattaar/Istockphoto

Ilhabela (Portuguese for beautiful island) is provably the most famous diving destination in São Paulo State, located 205 km from the city of São Paulo and 340 km from Rio de Janeiro.

In an around the archipelago of Ilhabela, accessed by ferry or boat in São Sebastião, there are several diving sites well known for wreck diving as well as cave diving: Ilha dos Búzios, Ilha dos Gatos, Ilhas Galhetas, etc.

The State of Rio de Janeiro provides diving options suitable to all levels of expertise, in the city of Rio itself as well as in the region known as Costa Azul (including Arraial do Cabo, Cabo Frio and Búzios) and Costa Verde (Green Coast) - Angra dos Reis, Ilha Grande and Paraty).

Bombinhas - in the State of Santa Catarina - is considered to be the capital of ecological diving in Brazil, specially at the Arvoredo Marine Reserve.
Established in 1990, the Reserve is composed by Ilhas do Arvoredo, Galé, Deserta and Calhau de São Pedro.

And that's it!...If you've already been diving in Brazil, let us know your opinion or favourite site, otherwise, we wish you a fantastic scuba diving travel experience!...

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