Bonito e Pantanal (MS)
The Pantanal is a vast wetlands with huge concentrations of exotic neotropical wild fauna. Located between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso du Sul, the Pantanal is a great place to observe wildlife in their natural state.
In the state of Mato Grosso du Sul is Bonito with its incredibly clear rivers and freshwater caverns and caves for divers. Small accommodations that are part of working cattle ranches host travelers and divers. Your dive vessel here looks a lot like a tractor!
Amazon River Basin
Experience the Amazon, its unique, and often, endangered rainforest flora, fauna and cultures. The town of Manaus is the gateway to the Amazon jungle where the Amazon’s tributaries, the Rios Negro and Ariau, and Anavilhanas Creek snake their way into this ecological wonderland. Explore this region on foot, by small cruise ship, motor boat, canoe or on a fishing expedition, all with encyclopedic guides and overnight stays in comfortable lodges, ship cabins or rustic village accommodations. The world’s largest and most important river basin is a living greenhouse to over 10,000 varieties of plants and sanctuary to over 5,000 species of animals and birds. Take guided hiking trips beneath the canopy of the towering trees and cruise the waterways to discover the strange splendor of this exotic world.
The carefree beach culture that permeates Brazil’s soul was born here. Once fishermen’s village, today’s Recife is golden sand, colonial antiquities, and Carnival’s send-off spot. Cosmopolitan Recife, where baroque-style architecture and ruins of a colonial past coexist with recent developments is one of the great cities of Brazil. With beautiful churches, museums, forts and convents, excellent music and cuisine, Recife offers great touring as well as an unusual dive adventures. The city is name for the reef (Recife = reef) that has claimed ships from colonial days to today and now offers terrific wreck diving. The Atlantic Brazilian Current makes this a great party spot for concentrations of tropical and pelagic creatures. Twelve shipwrecks lie off the coast in warm, clear waters exhibiting a wealth of fish and corals, with excellent visibility and warm temperatures of 78ºF degrees. War galleons, steamships, tugs and barges date from 1887 to 1986, and await discovery. While in Recife, take time to visit Olinda. Built in the early 1500s, Olinda is one of the largest and best preserved Portuguese colonial towns. Bohemian quarters, art galleries, ornate churches, museums, cobblestone streets, shady squares and festive celebrations make up this historical city. There are a number of resort hotels dotting the coastline of Recife. If you’re heading out to Fernando de Noronha, you generally have to spend at least one night in Recife due to airline scheduling.
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. Experience the warmth of the people staying in pousadas, small family-owned accommodations, with warm showers and family-style meals. Pousadas are classified into A-category or B-category, B-category being more standard.
Salvador, the capital city of Bahia, lies on the beautiful All Saints Bay. A strong African influence comes from the slaves brought here to work in the sugarcane fields over 400 years ago. Multicolored homes, red-tiled roofs, wonderful markets and churches and twisting, narrow cobblestone streets make this an excellent place to visit. The state of Bahia has the longest coastline in the country making it appealing for all nautical sports. Among the fine dives you can do in the Salvador area is to visit the wreck of the Greek cargo ship, Cabo Artemides. The diving is best here between December to February when visibility is ideal.
Ideal for diving, the Archipelago of Abrolhos, located 45 miles off the southern coast of the state of Bahia, boasts the largest group of cliffs with a great variety of coral and hydracorals. These rock formations harbor one of the largest, rarest and healthy coral reefs in the South Atlantic. Between June and December, the humpback whales, having mated near the equator, migrate to Abrolhos where you can scuba dive and snorkel with them.