Just hearing “Brazil” makes one immediately think of bright colors, beauty, and excitement. From the vibrant colors of Carnival costumes to the blinding white sand beaches you can expect just as much color and excitement underwater as above. Brazil has over 7,000km (4,300 miles) of coastline which means 7,000km of dive sites, not to mention nearby islands to dive off the coast. Warm water diving occurs year round with healthy reefs, plenty of fish, and wrecks that greet dives up and down the coast. Whales, turtles, mantas and dolphin are so common they are almost expected. For the more adventurous, inland there are freshwater cave and cavern dives, and the mighty Amazon River to dive with its elusive pink dolphins.
Brazil diving has increased in popularity recently and because of that more and more dive shops are popping up in many places. This is making it easier for divers to go diving and explore that immense coastline. A lack of divers in the past and so many sites to choose from means pristine and unspoiled diving throughout Brazil. Beyond diving, the huge country has a lot to offer including an amazing culture, beaches, waterfalls, rainforest, the Pantanal, and the Amazon to explore.
Brazil is easy to get to with many flights arriving from around the world. Divers will likely fly into Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo or Galeão International airport in Rio de Janeiro. The areas offshore of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are probably the most popular for diving right now with lots of dive shops and boats in the area. There are many other international and domestic airports in Brazil making it easy to travel throughout the country. Getting around is also easy via bus or car. River travel by boat in the Amazon region is common.
Temperatures in Brazil are warm year round with some slight differences between summer (October-March) and winter (April to September.) Different regions vary in temperatures such as high elevations. For most divers the coast temperatures range from 23-27C in the summer and 18-21C in the winter. Water temperatures average 25C in the summer and 23C in the winter.
With over 7,500km of coast there is plenty of great diving in Brazil. One of the top spots to dive is the Fernando de Noronha Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site encompassing an archipelago of 21 islands 320km off the northern coast of Brazil. An island chain made up by the Atlantic Ridge, the diving includes very exciting bottom topography including volcano formed caves, caverns, and swim-throughs. Marine life is abundance including a long-term resident spinner dolphin pod. Over 230 fish species can be found and 15 species of coral. Divers commonly find eels, turtle, rays, sharks, barracuda, the occasional whale shark, and plenty of fish on its 20+ dive sites. There is also a favorite wreck dive of a Brazilian Navy Ipiranga Corvette V17.
Another Brazil diving favorite is Laje de Santos Marine Park near San Paulo. This area is known for it’s manta congregations from May to September and lots of schools of pelagic fish. Reef fish are common and the dive sites see everything from the tiniest nudibranchs the occasional whale. There is also the wreck of the Moreia sitting in 22m that was artificially sank in 1995 to attract fish.
There is freshwater cave and cavern diving in Bonito and the entrance to Abismo Anhumas Cave requires the diver to be lowered into the cave by a harness (for advanced cave divers only.) This cave is known for its clear visibility.
Abrolhos National Marine Park is a great place to see humpback whales which are common during the breeding season from July to November. This area has healthy corals and lots of fish and four wreck dives including the Italian freighter, Rosalinda, which sank in 1939.
Other popular diving areas including Arraial Do Cabo for seahorses, queen anglefish, turtles and eels. Angra dos Reis for groupers, sting rays, and the Pinguino Wreck. The area of Porto de Galinhas is known as the shiprwreck coast of Brazil has has many wrecks to dive.
Most divers throughout Brazil will be comfortable in a 3mm or 5mm wetsuit. In the summer months a shorty or skin may be enough, but most divers will appreciate the extra neoprene, especially in the colder winter months.
There are many dive shops throughout Brazil especially in the larger cities and in popular tourist areas. There are also shops inland that teach classes and plan dive trips to the coast on weekends and holidays to finish certifications and to do ocean dives. Many shops have rental equipment, equipment for sale, and nitrox available.
In Rio de Janeiro, X Divers Dive Center is a popular dive shop that offers SSI courses and dive trips. Dive Point Scuba School teaches PADI courses in both Rio de Janeiro and Arraial do Cabo and has dive trips from Arraial do Cabo.
Brasil Scuba in São Paulo teaches PADI courses and arranges dive travel to other parts of Brazil and internationally. Also in São Paulo, Escola de Mergulho Colonial Diver offers PADI training and boat trips to nearby islands and wrecks. Aquadive in São Paulo also teaches PADI courses and arranges diving trips.
Atlantis Divers is one of the most popular dive shops in Brazil which is located on Fernando de Noronha. They do PADI, Naui, and SSI training and daily boat trips around to the many sites of Fernando de Noronha. With several boats they are the best option for diving Fernando de Noronha. They also offer technical diving training and tech dives.
In Ponta Negra, Caju Divers offers PADI classes and daily boat dives to site up to an hour away. Divers wishing to dive near Santa Catarina will find Sea Divers a great place to take PADI classes, do daily boat dives, and they arrange dive trips to other parts of Brazil and the world.
There are a lot of dive shops around Sãn Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and many international flights arrive at both the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo and the Galeão International airport in Rio de Janeiro. Transportation to other areas can be done by long distance bus, domestic flights within the country, or by boat to get up the Amazon.
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Cagarras is the top dive site for divers who visit Rio de Janeiro. The area is a Marine Protected Area, known as Monumento Natural da Ilhas Cagarras, since 2010. Information on marine biodiversity can be found at ilhasdorio.org.br