Brazil Travel & Tourism News
RIO DE JANEIRO – A scuba divers paradise exists just a three-hour drive from Rio, in Arraial do Cabo, in the Lakes Region of Rio de Janeiro. Clear blue waters, with a rich variety of sea life ideal for scuba diving, welcome visitors to the “Caribe Carioca,” as the area is known.
Scuba Diving in Arraial do Cabo
Those who know all say that Arraial do Cabo offers very best area for diving in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Over 30 spots around the town are ideal for diving. The town itself, population 40,000, is on a peninsula surrounded by coves, caves and white-sand beaches.
First-timers eager to explore the underwater world – even if they have never had a diving lesson – can opt to dive in a “baptism.” In this mode, a personal instructor accompanies the adventurer beneath the sea. Several agencies offer baptism diving, which costs between U.S. $70 and $90 dollars.
Most of the dive companies run out of Praia dos Anjos. The vessels anchor in Fisherman’s Marina and there is city tax of U.S. $1.50 per person boarding boats and schooners.
The best dive spots vary by day, depending on weather, winds and undersea currents. The boat captains already know where the best diving will be on any given day. It takes no more than 30 minutes to get to any of the diving spots surrounding the town.
As the boat heads out to the sea, instructors school the divers in underwater communication signals, safety techniques and in how to clear their airways. In the wintertime divers don wetsuits to protect themselves from the cold water.
One of the captains says that his boat has had at least five marriages under the sea. “Every year, several priests seek diving courses, because of the steadily increasing demand for underwater weddings. It’s very special, a fantastic setting with colorful fish and rare species of marine flora and fauna surrounding the bride, groom and guests.”
Divers are not allowed to touch the animals or to take shells or corals. “We have to think about environmental preservation,” said the captain. “Also, if you touch the animals, they swim off. If you leave them alone, they’ll swim right beside you.”
The captain doesn’t recommend the activity for anyone suffering from flu, sinusitis or claustrophobia.
For veteran divers, there are 47 shipwrecks in the area to explore. Among them, the: Dona Paula, Harlingen, Herald, Imbetiba, Teixeirinha, Thetis, Tunamar and Wizard.
Arraial do Cabo’s beaches
Arraial do Cabo’s charms extend beyond the sea. The city’s beaches are an attraction unto themselves, especially during the South American summertime. Visitors should not miss Prainha, Praia Grande, Praia do Forno and Pontal do Atalaia, which offers a panoramic view of the city.
Arraial do Cabo is an easy drive from Rio de Janeiro, through the Via Logos. Buses and vans also make the journey, leaving from Rio or from Cabo Frio, the main town in the Lakes Region.
Lodging in Arraial ranges from inexpensive hostels, to posadas, to hotels. Rates range from U.S. $75 to $400 dollars per night, depending on the season and proximity to the sea. In the off-season, there isn’t a lot of nightlife, but during the summertime you can find bars and restaurants open after midnight, especially in Praia dos Anjos, Praia Grande and Prainha.