Brazil is truly a land of exuberance and beauty, bathed in a culture that is both rich and unique. While Brazil is most famous for carnival, samba and football, the natural beauty of South America's largest country is undeniable. Brazil is home to over 7000 kilometers/4300 miles of coastline that is the ultimate diver's playground. You will be spoilt for choice. From famous wrecks and reefs in the North East of the country, to the pristine dive sites on offer in the South and South East regions of this vast country. The South East region, mainly in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, is where the majority of diving in Brazil can be found and is also the most accessible for travel. It is also were you find a lot of the famous topside treasures too, such as the beautiful beaches, lively cities and island getaways.
When to go:
You can enjoy diving Brazil year-round. While the summer months of December through to February are the most popular for travelling, the dive season runs year round in most regions.
When to Get the Best Deals:
The best deals are usually outside the peak season. Visit during March through to November if you are looking for a good deal.
What to Pack:
2/3 or 5 mm wetsuit may be needed, insect repellent, sunscreen, water shoes or hiking shoes for trips into the forest or on the beaches, and lightweight material clothing is recommended. Most PADI Dive Shops offer full gear hire if needed. Major cities such as Rio and Sao Paulo have nice restaurants and bars, so a nicer outfit or two is also recommended.
As a vast country, water temperature varies however the average sea temperature for the south east of the country is around 25°C / 77°F with increases and decreases in winter and summer months.
For the South East and Rio the annual minimum temperature is 21 °C (70 °F), the average annual maximum temperature is 27 °C (81 °F).
Brazilian Real (BRL) is the official currency.
Valid passport; Visas do vary widely and some countries are exempt for tourist visits less than 90 days. Check with your local immigration office for visa requirements.
This should be included in your airfare, but check with your travel agent or airline.
Yellow Fever vaccination is required in some instances. Contact your local doctor regarding what is necessary.
What to Eat:
Brazilian cuisine is an amazing fusion of mainly European, African and Indigenous influences reflecting this country's history and multicultural population. The food will vary greatly, depending what part of Brazil you are in. Feijoada is considered by many as Brazil's national dish and is a bean stew mixed with a range of slow cooked meats. Brazilian BBQ is also popular, served with the national side of rice and black beans. Snacks which should be sampled include Coxinha (chicken croquette), Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) and Bridgardeiro (chocolate).
What to Drink:
Juices are popular throughout Brazil and the Açai juice is a national favorite. Original, Skol and Brahma are all local beers that can be sampled at the many bars and restaurants while you are travelling in Brazil. Cachaça is a liquor made from sugarcane juice and is the key ingredient of the world famous Caipirinha.
You will be spoilt for top side treasures. Ipanema Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Christ Statue are all must-visit locations in Rio. In Sao Paulo features include Paulista Avenue, Ibirapuera Park and Vila Madalena. A trip to Salvador or the Amazon will showcase the amazing culture of this vast country.
Customs and Culture:
A strong Portuguese as well as European, African and Indigenous influences can be seen throughout Brazilian culture. This varies significantly depending on which region of Brazil you are visiting.
Carnival is the world famous event that falls in either February or March each year all over Brazil including Rio and Salvador. Festa Junina (June Party), Rio's New Year's Celebrations and the Brazilian F1 are other popular events. The upcoming 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympics are also major events for Brazil.
Electricity and Internet:
120 and 240 volts are in use. Outlets are usually both flat (North American) and round (European) plugs.
Drink the water?
Filtered or bottled water is recommended in most regions.
Portuguese is the official language. English and Spanish are also spoken in many popular tourist regions.
Amazing Marine Life
The giants of the ocean, manta ray soar like flying carpets through the water feeding on plankton. These mesmerising creatures have unique features including triangular pectoral fins and wide mouths for feeding.
Growing up to 4 meters/13 feet in length, these highly intelligent and playful creatures are usually found swimming in a group (or pod) in open water off the coastline especially around the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
These magnificent critters can be found around seagrass beds and reefs off the Brazilian coastline. Many different species can be found here including the slender seahorse.
Hawksbill, loggerhead, green turtles, hawksbill and olive ridley turtles can be found in Brazil, including in the states of Espirito Santo and Bahia.
Growing up to 12 meters/40 feet, the whale shark is actually the world's largest fish. These beauties of the ocean can be spotted mainly in the north of Brazil including Fernando de Noronha.
With pale-yellow and greyish skin, this is a favorite shark species of many to see on a dive. Growing to around 3 meters/10 feet in length. These beautiful creatures swim effortlessly through the water.
"Naked" or shell-less mollusks, these frilly, brilliantly colored invertebrates are found throughout many diving regions of Brazil.
Top Dive Spots
Laje de Santos:
Forming part of the state marine park off the coast of Sao Paulo, this popular site offers marine life ranging from small nudibranch through to sightings of bigger creatures such as dolphins and whales. Manta rays and turtles also frequent this site which is comprised mainly of hard colorful corals and a sandy bottom. The depth ranges from around 6 meters/20 feet to 45 meters/148 feet in some parts.
Located a few kilometers/miles from the coastline, this is a great site to explore the underwater world close to the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. This site is home to a number of hard corals formations that attract a range of fish species. The Buenos Aires and Galeao wrecks are also situated close to this region. The depth ranges from about 8 meters/26 feet to around 40 meters/130 feet.
Ilha do Cabo Frio:
Also known as Ilha do Farol (Lighthouse Island), Ilha do Cabo Frio boasts several sites with depths ranging from 2 meters/6 feet to 18 meters/60 feet. Home to various marine life including turtles and rays, the area is usually well protected from the wind and swell.
Angra dos Reis:
Positioned off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, this region has various sites for divers to explore including off Ilha Grande and Ilha de Jorge Grego. Groupers and stingrays frequent theses locations with most sites ranging from 10 meters/33 feet to 35 meters/115 feet in depth.
The biggest island of Brazil, Ilhabela has several sites and wrecks to please all types of divers. Ilha Galhetas is a popular site with a range of colorful fish species and marine life with depths ranging from 3 meters/10 feet to 15 meters/50 feet.
Victory 8B Wreck:
Located around 2 kilometers/6 miles off the coast of Espirito Santo, it is the first artificial reef in Brazil. Resting at a depth of around 34 meters/110 feet, it's a popular spot that attracts an array of marine life that call this sunken 90 meter/295 feet cargo ship home.
Located in a marine reserve, there are several sites to explore that are teeming with marine life such as groupers, squid and eels. Most of the protected sites, including Recanto do Capim, have depth of around 7 meters/23 feet to 11 meters/36 feet.
Fernando de Noronha:
Undoubtedly one of the best diving spots of Brazil, this archipelago in the North-East of the country can claim host to amazing dive conditions with visibility sometimes exceeding 40 meters/130 feet. It boasts an incredible array of marine life including over 200 types of fish. The depth ranges on various sites from around 8 meters/26 feet to many sites exceeding the 40+ meters/130+ feet mark.
Porto de Galinhas:
Situated near Recife this location is regarded as the shipwreck coast of Brazil with various sites for divers to discover that come to life with colorful marine life. The Florida wreck is a popular dive and rests in about 33 meters/108 feet of water.
Banco da Panela:
Located near Salvador, this site is popular due to its large amount of historical wrecks. Rich in marine life due to its warmer waters, it is also regarded as a great drift dive with the depth ranging from about 6 meters/20 feet to 18 meters/60 feet.