Scuba Diving Rio de Janeiro

Scuba Diving Rio de Janeiro: The Complete Guide

Well known for the world famous Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro is the hub of all things party and hospitality. With numerous iconic monuments and beautiful natural attractions, Rio will never run out of things to pique your interest.

Situated in southeastern Brazil, Rio boasts a unique and unforgettable landscape with much to offer for any kind of visitor. Encapsulating the electrifying human presence and atmosphere here you’ll find not only the sea but mountains and forest too. There really is something for everyone in Rio!

With over 40 dive sites and calm currents, the waters of Rio are also great for diving! Scuba diving Rio de Janeiro promises great diversity with excellent visibility and mild conditions, perfectly suited to complete beginners. Nearby, you’ll also find a series of caves and wrecks for the more experienced divers.

Scuba Diving Rio de Janeiro

What’s Good About Rio de Janeiro Diving?

As if the electric atmosphere and iconic sights aren’t enough to make you want to visit Rio anyway, what does it have in store specifically for the divers? Here’s a few of our favorite things about Rio diving.

Largely Untouched

While growing in popularity in recent years, Rio, and Brazil in general, haven’t ever been known as diving hotspots. For this reason you’ll find yourself diving pristine and well-preserved underwater landscapes that have largely gone undiscovered.

What’s more, you’ll find yourself escaping the crowds and ruckus that come with the Rio lifestyle, and into a blissful underwater world of tropical fish and fascinating sights.

Great for Beginners

The water of Rio is ideal for those looking to get their first taste of diving. With incredible visibility and calm water year-round, it’s never a bad time to try diving for the first time in Rio.

Gentle currents and mild conditions make for a great first diving experience for beginners, allowing you to concentrate on the incredible surroundings.


Brazil has an extensive and changing coastline, giving the underwater environments an element of diversity and variation that you can’t see anywhere else.

A series of kelp forests, vibrant coral reefs, and haunting wrecks bring a range of different species to the waters around Brazil, and Rio is definitely a beneficiary of this!

Rio de Janeiro Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

In general, you aren’t required to be certified in order to scuba dive in Rio. Moreover, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for a first-time diver. Thanks to the calm water conditions that Rio offers, there are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Rio as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging caves and wrecks.

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Rio de Janeiro Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Rio doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of Rio, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Diving Sites in Rio de Janeiro

Rio offers lots in the way of atmosphere and partying as well as exploring, and diving is one of its lesser-known traits. Here are some of our fave dive spots around the city.

Arraial do Cabo

Rio Dive

Featuring over 40 dive sites and the calmest currents in Rio’s waters, Arraial do Cabo is a haven for beginner divers. With a multitude to see and explore here, you’re sure to leave wanting more.

Featuring amazing visibility and rich marine biodiversity, you’ll be able to spot turtles and dolphins amongst the vibrant reef. This is the perfect place to get your first look at the incredible underwater environments that the world has to offer. One not to be missed for any beginner diver visiting Rio.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!

Joao Fernandes Coral Reef

Rio Coral

Situated off Buzios beach, you’ll be able to explore an abundance of diverse marine life and enjoy the vibrant coral with ease on this beginner-friendly dive.

What’s more, you’ll enjoy swimming alongside turtles and a multitude of species of tropical fish in fascination of the rich colors and beautiful landscape. A really blissful diving experience for divers of all abilities.

Check out our recommended experience below, a great opportunity for beginners and advanced divers alike.

Ilha de Ancora

Rio Reef

In the crystal clear waters of Ilha de Ancora, you’ll find all sorts of marine life as well as beautiful coral formations such as the Elephant’s Ear, as well as ox drool and brain coral.

Beneath the surface here you’ll have great opportunity to spot seahorses, butterfly fish, turtles and starfish as you swim over the beautiful colorful coral line. This makes for a great dive with much to see and explore

Check out our recommended experience below for more details.

Best Time to go Diving in Rio de Janeiro

Rio has an average minimum water temperature of around 70°F and a maximum average of 81°F. For this reason, Rio has no particular dive season and the calm waters with excellent visibility make it a great choice for a diving holiday year-round.

With that said, the summer months of December-February are the most popular to dive in Rio. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, consider choosing a time outside of peak season. You’ll still be in for great weather and conditions, just less of the crowds!

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Rio de Janeiro?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Rio, you’ll find prices between $50-$200. The prices generally include gear rental and levys so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $300, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Rio de Janeiro

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in Rio. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

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