We are quite certain the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is Brazil’s closest spot to Paradise. 300 km away from the north east coast of the country, Noronha concentrates places of unrivalled beauty and tranquillity. On top of that, Noronha is a rare place where preserving the environment is the foremost concern for its inhabitants.
The archipelago is formed is formed my the main island, inhabited, and a series of smaller islands. Part of the archipelago forms the Maritime National Park of Fernando de Noronha. UNESCO declared Noronha a World Natural Heritage Site in 2001 (you can find the reasons at the following UNESCO website section: Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves).
1. WE LIKE THE MOST:
The fantastic beaches; the colour of the sea; snorkelling anywhere, anytime; the dolphins; the marine turtles you will come across during your dives;, the colourful fish; the silence; the stars.
2. WE LIKE THE LEAST:
In recent years, a place that was meant to be, above all, a destination for nature lovers, has become the object of desire for the Brazilian well-offs (often not that interested in nature). As a result, accommodation prices have rocketed, and the more basic accommodation of times gone by is being increasingly replaced by top hotels with outrageous prices. Fernando de Noronha is out of reach for many people, including most Brazilians. In return, it is being crowded by people who to Noronha looking for luxury and comfort without realizing that being in Noronha is already a privilege.
Everything mentioned on the dark side of Fernando de Noronha.
3. HOW TO GET THERE:
There is just the one option to get to Noronha, the plane. There are no boats taking passengers to Noronha. The only boats sailing to Noronha are the cargo freights that bring supplies to the island and cruise ships during the high season.
From the rest of the country, only GOL flies to Noronha.
Airfares are very expensive – bordering on the ridiculous. Flight deals to Noronha are hardly seen.
4. CAREFUL WITH:
The treacherous ladder going down to Sancho beach. While diving at the sunken ship in the harbour area, be aware of boats entering and leaving the harbour. When the sea is rough, be extremely careful if you go for a swim at the Porcos beach, as the strong waves can land you against the rocks.
5. FAVOURITE PLACES
Sancho beach, the harbour of Santo Antonio (excellent for snorkelling), the Conceição beach, the baia dos Golfinhos (Dolphin bay).
6. DIVING AND SNORKELLING
If snorkelling is your thing, and you don’t have a mask, a snorkel or flippers, you can rent them in Noronha. Many pousadas rent them, and there is a place at the harbour where you can rent them too. There you can get a life jacket too, if that’s going to make you more comfortable. There are several excellent points for snorkelling:
- the shipwreck at the entrance to the harbour. You will see many fish swimming around the remains of the sunken ship. On your way to the point where the ship sunk you are very likely to come across the turtles that feed around the area.
- Sancho beach. The best points are on the right-hand side of the beach, near the rocks, and in the middle of the beach, some 100 meters into the sea, where there’s a bunch of rocks.
- Porcos bay. Snorkel around the rocks. It can only be done during the months when the sea is completely calm.
- Sueste bay. To the right of the bay there is an area where turtles are constantly feeding. You need to hire the services of a guide to get you there, last we heard the price was R$25 per person.
- Atalaia beach. Natural pools form when the tide is low. Access to the beach is controlled and only a limited number of visitors are allowed per day. On top of that, the time you can remain at the pools is limited too. Get there early to avoid the queues.
- As well as the places pointed out above, any beach with calm waters presents a fantastic excuse for snorkelling. At the Conceição beach we saw a huge shoal of sardines.
7. PIECE OF ADVICE:
- the very best time to visit Noronha is the period between August and October, when the beaches of Sancho and Porcos look their best. During that time, the sea on the continental side of is like a millpond. Shortly after that, the currents change and in January and February surfing competitions are held on those very same beaches.
- the boat trip to see the dolphins is really worth it. Your chances of coming across dozens of dolphins are high. On top of that, the boat will take you to parts of the island than cannot be reached on photo. It stops at Sancho bay for a swim.
- in Noronha food is more expensive than in the mainland. There is at least a por quilo restaurant (you pay according to the weight of the food you put on your plate) where an affordable meal can be had. There is a small supermarket at the Vila dos Remédios.
- at the end of the day, there are daily (and free) talks on different topics related to Noronha and the environmentat the Projeto Tamar HQ. It is an excellent way of rounding up your day.
- all visitors to Noronha must pay an environmental tax (known in Portuguese as taxa de preservação). At Tabela de Preços you can see the current values. The longer you stay at the island the more expensive the tax will be – it is calculated according to the number of days spent at the island. The tax can be paid on arrival at the island – credit cards are accepted.
- On top of the environmental tax, you will have to pay the National Park entrance (from 22 September, an additional R$150 will have to be paid to visit Noronha), so budget for it too.
- there is a public bus service going from one side of the island to the other at regular intervals. Most beaches are just a short walk away from the bus route. You can also take a taxi (in Noronha they are buggies or jeeps). And if preserving the environment is not your top priority, you could do as many guides recommend and rent a highly-polluting buggy. Not our idea of close contact with nature.
- if there is a place in Brazil where you can feel safe, that is Noronha. Violent crime is unheard of.
- at the harbour, the NGO Projeto Golfinho Rotador, that looks after the dolphins in Noronha, informs on a daily basis of the number of dolphins spotted entering the Golfinhos bay.
- there are three ATMs in the island. At least one of them allows withdrawals of money with international credit cards. Just in case, make sure you arrive in the island with some cash (preferably reais, the Brazilian currency).
- voltage in Noronha is 220V.
- if you are on a short budget, don’t miss our post five days in Noronha for R$900 total – how we did it.
At our Accommodation in Brazil blog you can check a full listing of hotels and pousadas in Fernando de Noronha.
There are no major health concerns associated with Noronha. Sunblock is a must, as there are hardly any trees on the island. There is a tiny health centre. Serious cases need to be treated at the mainland. No vaccines are needed for Noronha.
11. WEATHER FORECAST:
Average temperatures and rainfall in Fernando de Noronha at the weather channel.
13. TIDE CHARTS:
Go to Tábuas de Marés, an official website, and select ILHA DE FERNANDO DE NORONHA from the drop-down menu for a tide chart for Noronha.
14. GOOGLE MAPS:
We prepared a detailed map of Fernando de Noronha for the blog.
the dark side of Fernando de Noronha
Noronha: ready to fork out a further R$130?
a new infrastructure for Noronha: two different island experiences in the making?
five days in Noronha for R$900 total – how we did it
pay your tax online… not!
Category: Destination: Noronha
Sites That Link to this Post
- D Airfare » Trip: new seasonal flights to Fernando de Noronha | December 17, 2008