The most distinguished visitors come from afar to see the first Brazilian marine national park. From July to November, the Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos, 70 kilometers from Caravelas, in the south of Bahia, is the right address for jubarte whales (humpback) migrating from Antarctica for breeding and rearing.
According to an article published on Institut Veolia Fact Reports, “The Abrolhos Region, located between the south of Bahia state and the north of Espírito Santo state, harbors the largest known marine biodiversity in the entire South Atlantic. The two main economic activities in the region are fishing and tourism, both clearly dependent on the environment. In this context, social, economic, and environmental aspects are non dissociable and together should be the basis for sustainable development policies in the region.
Made up of five islands, this archipelago has one of the largest biodiversities in Brazil and unique species in the world, such as the Bahia brain coral and the rock caps, impressive coral columns that emerge from the sea floor, shaped like giant mushrooms. “The reef formations in the region are the largest in Brazil and display unique structures, among which stand out the chapeirões – large mushroom-shaped reefs – that can reach 25 meters in height and 50 meters in diameter”, says the article.
Abrolhos is not a tourism destination for land-based adventure seekers, except on Siriba Island, where ICMbio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation Institute) monitors lead visitors along a short trail to observe grazines and white boobies. But the best of the destination is in the sea, where you can snorkel, watch shipwrecks and scuba dive, in round-trip exits from Caravelas or Prado, or up to three days in cabin liveaboards, meals and diving activities. “The Abrolhos Marine National Park, created in 1983, was the first Brazilian marine national park. The large number of seabirds and the wide biodiversity of fish and coral formations – such as the chapeirões that only exist in Abrolhos and nowhere else in the world – were decisive to the creation of the park”, (IBAMA, 1991 — Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources
“Despite the thousands of kilometers separating Antarctica from Brazil, the humpback whales travel every year to the tropical waters of the Brazilian coast in order to reproduce. The greater reproductive cradle is in Abrolhos, which receives them in the months from July to November. During the season, the visitor can see these huge and lovely animals through whale watching tourism. The tours are conducted by agencies in 2 or 3-day trips”, says BNParks, a guide to the Brazilian National Parks.