Situated in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s island-dotted Paraty Bay is known for its bountiful marine life, with large schools of tropical fish skirting its coral reefs. With warm blue waters and high visibility, underwater exploration in Paraty is a joy. Here are just a few of the best places to take the plunge.
Though it has no beaches, Ilha Comprida remains a favorite snorkel and scuba diving spot because of its rich marine life. Dive off the boat and explore the rocky coast of this island, which serves as a hideout for sea bass, grouper, and batfish.
Ilha dos Meros
Numerous diving and snorkeling tours venture to the shores of this small Brazilian island, where the waters are alive with an amazing range of aquatic life. Look for butterfly rays hiding on the sandy ocean floors and schools of brightly colored fish, such as neon parrotfish.
Surrounded by Serra da Bocaina National Park, the Trinidade region is a popular day-trip destination from Paraty, just 18 miles (30 kilometers) away. Here, near beautiful beaches such as Caixa d’Aço (Steel Box) and Cachadaco, you’ll find secluded natural pools where you can snorkel in calm waters.
Though it’s about a 1.5-hour speedboat ride away from Paraty—and even longer by ferry—the tropical island of Ilha Grande is worth the journey for snorkelers and scuba divers. Good snorkeling is right off the shore at many of the island’s beaches, or you can take a boat tour out to dive near Ilha Jorge Grego, an even smaller island off Ilha Grande’s south shore. Other popular snorkeling spots on Ilha Grande include Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) and Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon).