Scuba diving in Rio can be a great thing to do, as long as you venture outside of town. Reliable diving sites in Rio de Janeiro proper are nonexistent, but you're close enough to some world-class spots if you want to do some underwater exploring. The two prime Rio de Janeiro diving sites are found near the village of Arraial do Cabo and off of Ilha Grande. It only takes a couple of hours to get to these top regional diving spots, so you can venture out in the morning and get back to your Rio hotel in time for dinner and maybe even a little nightlife.
While the best scuba diving in Brazil can arguably be had off the coast of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, those who are enjoying a Rio de Janeiro vacation will have a couple of prime spots along the southeastern coast to choose from. The king of the diving sites in Rio de Janeiro is Arraial do Cabo, which is about a two-hour car ride from Rio proper. In Arraial do Cabo, you will find a marine reserve that is noted for its clear waters and its abundant marine life.
While diving at the Arraial do Cabo Marine Reserve, you can expect to see moray eels, turtles, sea horses, and a variety of tropical fish. Colorful coral only add to the allure, and you just might encounter some dolphins during your excursion. Should your Rio de Janeiro diving adventure take you to Arraial do Cabo, you can do some cave diving when you're not checking out reefs. You can also visit a shipwreck. Unless you arrange an Arraial do Cabo diving tour in Rio, you can rent equipment and schedule some dives at one of the village's dive shops. There are at least a few good ones to choose from. Back in Rio, some of the companies that offer diving trips to Arraial do Cabo also offer tours that can include other outdoor activities, such as hiking, rafting, and paragliding, so you might keep that in mind when looking for things to do.
When it comes to scuba diving in Rio, another nearby destination of choice is Ilha Grande. Found west of the city on the Green Coast, this island is also an ideal place to get away from it all for a while when visiting Sao Paulo. On the island itself, a lush tropical jungle that is home to monkeys and other fascinating creatures offers excellent hiking opportunities. Off the coast, the crystal clear waters allow divers to admire the marine corals, the turtles, the dolphins, and the exotic fish with ease. You can also check out any number of shipwrecks when diving off Ilha Grande. In fact, the waters of the Ilha Grand Bay offer up one of the world's most concentrated collections of shipwrecks. As is true of Arraial do Cabo, Ilha Grande visitors will have a few local dive shops to choose from if they haven't already booked an excursion in Rio.
When looking to do hit some diving sites in Rio de Janeiro, there are other area destinations to consider. These spots include Paraty and Buzios. Paraty is an ideal place to do some diving in the Rio area. Many beginners take to the relatively calm bay to learn the ropes, and should you be interested in some lessons, there are some local dive operators that offer them. In short order, you'll be reef diving off the Paraty coast after you sign up for lessons. As for Buzios, it isn't much different from Paraty, in that it features magnificent beaches and excellent diving sites. Grouper, anchovies, and spotted jew fish are among the fish that you can expect to see off the Buzios and Paraty coasts, and you might also come across green sea turtles, and barracudas.
These are the best diving sites in Rio de Janeiro, or the best near Rio anyways. All of these destinations feature competent dive shops that specialize in renting equipment, giving lessons, and taking more experienced divers out for a more complete experience. If you're nervous about trying some scuba diving in Rio, you can always warm up to the notion by doing some snorkeling. Plenty of area boat charters and dive operators offer snorkeling excursions.
When you book a Rio de Janeiro diving excursion in Rio itself, the company that you book your trip through will provide transportation. More often than not, you can get picked up at your Rio hotel or vacation rental. Snacks and beverages are usually provided during the organized scuba diving tours, and you won't have worry about your equipment, as that will be supplied as well. In fact, all you really have to worry about is having a great time.