Introducing Parque Nacional Marinho de Abrolhos
It is thought that the name of Brazil’s first marine park comes from a sailor’s warning: when approaching land, open your eyes (abre os olhos). Abrolhos covers an area of 913 sq km, including reefs noted for the variety of colors and a five-island archipelago that Charles Darwin, aboard the HMS Beagle, visited in 1832. These days the primary residents of the archipelago are migrating birds and humpback whales (June to October), which come here to rest and give birth. Only the Ilha de Santa Bárbara has a handful of buildings, including a lighthouse built in 1861.
The preservation of the islands is important to Ibama (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis; Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), so visitor land access is limited to daytime hours on only the Ilha da Siriba. But you didn’t come to a marine park for land; you came to snorkel and dive in crystal-clear waters, the visibility of which can reach 20m in the dry season (May to September).