Guide to Fernando de Noronha
About 200 miles off the north-east coast of Brazil is a little piece of paradise in the form of this archipelago of 21 islands. With year-round sunshine and world-beating scuba diving opportunities, if you're looking for a holiday or honeymoon with golden beaches, crystal clear water and the kind of blue skies you can only dream of... then Fernando de Noronha is the place for you!
Since everything from food to timber has to be shipped in, it's certainly not the cheapest part of Brazil to visit, but with visitor numbers strictly limited in any case, the exclusivity is all part of the charm...
Where to Stay in Fernando de Noronha
If you're looking for a resort-style holiday then Fernando de Noronha definitely isn't the place for you! All the accommodation options are small boutique pousadas, usually managed by the owners, and generally with just a handful of rooms or cabins. So while there are some quality options, things here on Fernando tend to be simple and relaxed: it's all about enjoying the natural surroundings.
We will warn you, however, that simple doesn't mean cheap. Because you're on an island right out in the Atlantic, everything has to be shipped or flown in, and so prices for food, tours and everything here on Fernando de Noronha are high, even by Brazilian standards.
What to See and Do in Fernando
Holidays to Fernando de Noronha are all about getting out and enjoying the island, from its beautiful beaches to its world-class snorkelling. If you're a nature lover or just want the exclusivity of an almost private island, you'll be in heaven.
Beaches in Fernando de Noronha
The beaches here are some of the best in the world and you will be spoilt for choice when deciding where to take your morning dip, watch the full moon rise as it lights up the rocks under the water or simply sit and try and read your book when the view doesn’t distract you too much. Two of the favourites are the Baia do Sancho and Praia do Leao. The Baia do Sancho is a bay reached by a ladder attached to the rocks and it’s sheltered spot is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. The Praia do Leao is claimed to be the most beautiful on the island and is the longest beach on the island but an even more impressive draw are the natural geysers that happen as the tides push the water up through holes in the rocks surrounding the beach.
Other beaches well worth the trip include the Baia dos Golfinhos, where you can see dolphins (but you’ll have to get up early as they surface around 6am!), Conceicao for the sunset and the Baia do Sueste with it’s calm waters ideal at any time of the day.
The diving opportunities here could keep you going for weeks and because the numbers of tourists (and therefore divers) are strictly limited, you get the time and space to explore by yourself and enjoy that sense of finding somewhere truly special. The clear deep waters and visibility of 50 metres mean there is a range of snorkelling tours in Fernando de Noronha for all levels of expertise.
As well as the natural underwater scenery to enjoy, there is also a Brazilian frigate which sunk in 1987, and now is like an underwater sea-creature hotel for you to explore.
As with the diving, there are loads of fantastic snorkelling trips on Fernando and we promise you will be amazed at each one. Most of the beaches are ideal for snorkelling from and you can hire gear from various places on the island. The best spot though has to be Praia da Atalaia’s tide pool which is so good they’ve had to put restrictions in place. The number of visitors is restricted to 100 a day, you can only stand in certain parts and you use suncream so early morning visits before it gets too hot are advisable. Your reward though are the lobsters, octopuses, fish and the odd baby shark if you’re lucky.
Porto de Santo Antonio has several companies that organise boat tours in Fernando de Noronha. The views are stunning and there are plenty of swimming and snorkelling opportunities as well. The spinner dolphins are best seen in the afternoon and specialised boat trips for these are highly recommended.
Travel To and From Fernando de Noronha
There are daily flights in and out of Fernando de Noronha from Recife on the north-east coast of Brazil, taking a couple of hours. Unfortunately the timings don’t fit in all that well if you’re travelling from Rio so you may need to spend a night in Recife on the way.
There is only one proper road on the island which is the shortest federal highway in Brazil and runs from the Porto de Santo Antonio to Sueste Beach. There is a bus which runs the length of it and costs R$4 and is a good way to get around. You can also rent a buggy but this can be expensive so we’d recommend the buggy taxis instead.
Please note that due to Fernando de Noronha’s protected status there is an environmental tax visitors must pay based on how long they will be staying. This can be paid on arrival at the start of your holiday to Fernando de Noronha.
|Length of Stay (days)
||Tax (in R$)
It’s worth bearing in mind that the island only has two ATMs and they are sometimes out of order so it’s worth bringing cash with you on your holiday if you're planning to spend extra on tours, drinks or food. Some restaurants and shops will take credit cards and you can exchange dollars but the rate isn’t usually very good: you're better off exchanging currency in the UK prior to the start of your holiday.
Honeymoons in Fernando de Noronha
People look for different things from a honeymoon in Brazil: for example, you might want to party in Rio or see the wildlife in the Amazon jungle. However, if you just want to relax and unwind on a beautiful tropical island... Look no further!
Did you know?
Fernando de Noronha has had a confused identity in the past. The Dutch, Portuguese, French and British have all had a turn at occupying the islands since the 16th century and the Brazilian Army took up residence for most of the 20th century turning the place into a penal colony until it's environmental importance was recognised and tourists rather than political prisoners were invited. In 2001 UNESCO secured the island's status by making it a World Heritage Site.