Recife, where colonial architecture coexists with modern splendor,
is the hub of northeast Brazil for excellent art, dining, trade,
and education. No visit to Recife would be complete without a stroll
through the hills of neighboring Olinda. Built in the early 1500's,
charming Olinda is one of the largest and best-preserved Portuguese
colonial towns, and was designated a world heritage site by UNESCO
(United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).
A living city full of art shops and galleries, ornate churches and
monasteries, museums, cobblestone streets and shady squares, Olinda
always has some kind of celebration in the making.
Recife and Olinda offer exceptional topside touring as well as a
rare diving adventure, all with a sense of history. Over the years
there came to be more than 100 shipwrecks off the coast of the cities,
17 of which are now regularly visited in warm and crystal clear
waters. These war galleons, steamships, tugs and barges date from
1652 to 1986 and offer a wreck diving experience that is a treasure
not to be missed. Countless species of fish and corals will dazzle
the senses, aided by excellent visibility and an average water temperature
of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. As you make your way through these sites
you will see some of Brazil's favorite shores between the surfing
and snorkeling of Porto de Galinhas, and the sailing and power boating
around the islands of Coroa do Avião and Itamaracá.
Below you will find a list of the best dive spots around Recife
The steamship was hit by Pirapama in 1887. It is sunken 12 miles
from the island of Itamaracá in one of the best diving spots
in Brazil. Down under 85 feet of clear water there is a great variety
life, including rays, turtles and a couple of species of man-sized
fish. The area is also home range to manatees that have engendered
one of Brazil's most famous environmental study and protection efforts.
The view of Fort Orange, which was site of countless battles between
Dutch and Portuguese colonists is well worth a run aground.
Two years after the collision with Vapor Bahia, the ship was sunk
after being found guilty of having caused the accident and neglected
to render proper rescue. Sitting six miles from the Recife harbor
at 75 feet, the wreckage is now home to several marine species,
including large turtles and rays. The visibility can reach as far
as 131 feet in this beautiful and popular dive.
de Baixo wreck
The steamship is believed to have been hit by a torpedo. It certainly
has aged gracefully at 69 feet. The ship still exhibits the vast
collection of china and porcelain artifacts it carried with its
wheels, which are now covered by beautiful corals. It stands 5 miles
from the Recife harbor closest of all wrecks to the Five-Edged Fort
that was the main protection post of the city. The edifice and the
nearby mangroves deserve a trip up river behind the reefs.
São Paulo wreck
The historic Portuguese warship sunk in 1652 (during colonial wars
with the Dutch) seats at 39 feet only 3 miles from a cape that is
also remarkable. Besides being beautiful, Cabo de Sto. Agostinho
is the second easternmost land in the Americas and hosts the ruins
of one of the hemisphere's oldest forts, from where the cannon balls
that sank Galeão São Paulo were shot. The riches in
the ship were looted by pirates, but the part that was recovered
is on display in a museum in Recife (Museu do Recife). In addition
to dolphins and lots of different fish and coral species, the ship's
iron and bronze cannons, anchors and central mast can still be seen.
more information on Recife please visit the Brazil Tourism Office
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