If you bring a mask and snorkel to Brazil, there are always calm coves worth poking around. The warm waters of the Northeast have the best snorkeling. The Coral Coast, which extends from northern Alagaos into southern Pernambuco, offers a 135-kilometer (84-mile) stretch of protected reefs that are ideal for snorkeling. The beaches surrounding São Miguel dos Milagres and Maragogi, in Alagoas, and Tamandaré and Porto de Galinhas, in Pernambuco, are all terrific snorkeling destinations.
Waters tend to have best visibility in the summer months (between November and February). All of these destinations have diving operators that offer excursions, rental equipment, and lessons for beginners.
Locations (from north to south)
Maracajaú is located about 50km from Natal, and it takes one hour to go there. This region is considered to be the best area for snorkeling and diving, near Natal.
There is a big area of reefs named Parrachos de Maracajaú (7km from the coast), an area of 13km2, with a deep varying between 1,8m and 3,2m, during low tide. The water temperature is in average 26°C, and the development of corals contribute to a rich marine fauna and flora, turning the region to an enormous, natural aquarium.
This scenery is idealistic of practicing Snorkeling and also Scuba Diving for beginners. Also more experienced scuba divers can enjoy the region’s very pleasant diving, with reference to the rich marine life, and the waters temperature and visibility.
|Fernando de Noronha
200 miles off the northeastern coast lies a mountainous archipelago made up of 21 islands which are sparsely populated and still the much the way it was when the Portuguese settled here in the 1500s. This National Marine Sanctuary is a heavenly retreat for divers and snorkelers.
Due to its open ocean location, it provides pelagic fish and ocean mammals a wonderful refuge. The dive sites include shipwrecks, canyons, amazing volcanic rock and coral formations, a permanent wild dolphin colony, reef sharks, turtles, schooling barracudas and all kinds of rays and colorful fish. Cavort with 600 dolphins, the largest and oldest residential school of spinner dolphins in the world. Dive with juvenile sharks at Lage Dois Irmaos, a breeding and nursery area for fourteen species of reef sharks. The sharks come into this protected area to have their young and the newborn stay to play with divers until they are big enough to venture into the open ocean. You may also witness turtles being released into the wild. Explore the Ipiranga, a Brazilian Navy Corvete, a sunken Portuguese frigate and much, much more. The rock formations are brilliantly colored with encrusting sponges and provide a beautiful backdrop for each of your dives.
The Recife-Olinda region offers excellent all year round sites for scuba diving and snorkelling. Marine life is very abundant in this region, but sharks are common and the sea is often rough (there are many ancient shipwrecks, waiting for divers to explore them…)
If you aren’t an experienced diver, you may prefer other alternatives, some of which not far from Recife, as Porto Galinhas.
Porto de Galinhas is a very friendly diving site, excellent both for scuba beginners and advanced divers. Here, in Porto Galinhas, you will find diving courses and all year round conditions for diving.
Maragogi Beaches have calm waters, without strong waves, with coral reefs and fine sands. During low tide, sand banks emerge forming natural pools, known as Croas (5 km away from the coast) and Galés (6 km away). “Jangadas” (sailing boats typical of Northern Brazil) and boats can take tourists to these pools. On the beach’s southern tip, between Vila de Japaratinga and Pontal, visitors find the less urbanized beaches with 20-m high sea cliffs. Visitors can also go on a boat ride to coral reefs 6 km away from the coast. Maragogi beach is near Maragogi River, with calm waves, fine and flat sands and coral reefs.
|Ilha de Boipeba
Although only the Rio do Inferno (River of Hell) separates Ilha de Boipeba from the Ilha do Tinharé, where Morro de São Paulo is located, Boipeba is Morro de São Paulo as it was 20 years ago before an influx of tourism blew everything out of proportion. Its beautiful unspoiled beaches are framed by lush jungle and crisscrossed by warm rivers that are ideal for bathing.
Although Boipeba is becoming a hip beach resort for those in the know, it has managed to retain a bucolic tranquility along with some 20 kilometers (12 miles) of stunning white-sand beaches protected by coral reefs. The most “developed”—which, thankfully, isn’t saying much—is Boca da Barra. Here you’ll find lots of barracas where you can dig into fresh fish and seafood.
A half-hour walk brings you to the dazzling white sands of Tassimirim, followed by the blissfully deserted Praia de Cueira—both of which are ideal for snorkeling.
Ideal for diving, the Archipelago of Abrolhos, a collection of volcanic islands and coral reefs located 45 miles off the southern coast of the state of Bahia, is the largest and most biologically diverse reef system in the South Atlantic.
Diving at the Abrolhos Bank is characterized by large, mushroom-shaped coral formations called chapeirões (big hats) found nowhere else in the world. The structures start in about 100 feet of water and reach almost to the surface, and nearly 50 percent of these corals are endemic.
Divers can visit the park and its surrounding reefs via the town of Caravelas–about 575 miles from Rio de Janeiro–on day or overnight trips.
Along with endemic marine life and unique coral structures, three popular wrecks–the Rosalinda, Santa Catharina and Guadiana–attract divers here, and from July to December, humpback whales from the Antarctic gather at the bank to mate and nurse their young.
Buzios, a luxury beach resort destination just two hours drive north Rio de Janeiro, offers excellent places for diving. But the true regional pearl for diving in this region is Arraial do Cabo, less than 90 miles south of Rio de Janeiro.
Arraial do Cabo is in fact the best place for diving in Brazil’s south. With turquoise waters, teeming with marine life (turtles, moray eels, queen angelfish, sea horses…) and some dozens of lakes and old ship-wrecks, Arraial do Cabo is a truly world-class place for scuba diving.
Arraial do Cabo is an all year round. Many hotels in Rio de Janeiro and Buzios can arrange transportation and tours to Arraial do Cabo.
Near Sao Paulo you may enjoy some of the best scuba diving sites in Brazil, namely in Ilha Grande (Angra dos Reis region). Angra dos Reis – a luxury travel destinations – is a delightful destination with amazing forests, waterfalls, lakes, small fishing villages, secret coves, small beaches… and exceptional conditions for diving, namely in Ilha Grande, one of the many local small islands.
Here, in Ilha Grande, you may explore its local rich marine life, and also dozens of old ship-wrecks (european galleons sunken some hundred years ago as a result of battles involving pirates and colonial forces).
Ilha Grande is an all year round place for diving.
Despite lying in the very heartland of Brazil, many miles from the coast, Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the country`s best diving destinations.
The towns of Bonito and Jardim boast the clearest waters in all of Brazil, with an enormous range of aquatic life and geographical features to atracct divers, from absolute beginners to the techinical level.
Cave diving experts have nothing to complain about either: Bonito and Jardim`s underwater caves are unique and unforgettable among the finest in the world.
Snorkeling is one of Bonito and Jardim`s major attractions. The best thing is to go with the flow along the riverbeds, observing the underwater fauna and flora, pretending to be a part of this fabulous ecosystem.