By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For most travelers in Rio, an idle dip in the waters along the sweeping sandy beaches of Zona Sul (South Zone) is enough ocean to make the trip, and a few more might find their way on a surfboard. For those looking to get into some deeper waters though, Marina da Glória is the next port of call.
Located in Glória near Centro and close to Santos Dumont Airport, it is considered the most convenient marina to access Rio de Janeiro. It is also set in the Flamengo Park, and also includes grounds that serve as a venue for music events and festivals in the city.
First in sight at the marina are a number of different businesses, for boat charting and diving equipment, facing out on to the pier and accompanied by the spectacular view of Guanabara Bay. Situated right in the middle is marina’s only restaurant, Restaurante Barracuda, a three decade old family-owned seafood place.
Richard Nelson, an American co-owner of Blue Agave restaurants and former boat owner at the marina, explains that there are mostly yachts belonging to wealthy Brazilians at Marina da Glória. Nelson, who used to organize fishing trips, shares that when it comes to boat charting and fishing, “sometimes you just have to go to the marina and ask around who is available.”
One such business that offers fishing trips is Rio Fishing Pro, with an English language version of the website they offer several fishing trips and the ambitious can attempt to catch anything from a Brazilian Corvina to a Big Grouper.
Just the experience of traveling the coast by boat can give an unique view of the amazing mix of beaches and city mixed with plush green mountains. Zuruca´s rents yachts at the marina for six hours at a time at R$1,500 for up to eight people, stopping at different locations where people can swim and they provide cool drinks for the journey.
For those on a slimmer budget, Passeio de Saveiro offers daily schooner tours which go from the marina, departing each day at 9:30 AM. It costs R$40 per person for two hours, touring around the likes of Santa Cruz Fortress, Rio-Niterói Bridge and Enxadas Island.
Operator Jorge adds: “We also rent boats for parties for forty people and up to 140 people.” They provide a DJ, a bartender, security and all the alcoholic beverages and food required i.e. a barbeque or even sushi.
Travelers seeking to spend more time in the water can check out diving company Mar Do Rio. Every weekend, from 8AM to 2:30 PM they are available, and it costs R$160 for the basic equipment and boat travel.
Scuba diving instructor Rodrigo explains that it is “best to call us on a Thursday, to let us know how many people are coming on the dive.” They can also tailor trips for groups during the week if needed.
Giovana, who recently took a group diving in Ilha Grande, continues that “not many people know this but there are great opportunities for awesome scuba diving in and around Rio. Just outside Rio’s beaches there are sunken wrecks, coral reefs and so much marine life; turtles, dolphins and rays. It’s just beautiful.”