Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

One of our favourite places in the whole world is a small little island 540km off the coast of Brazil that not many people have heard of. Its name is Fernando de Noronha. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, and the title is well deserved with its pristine, beautiful beaches and the wildlife it attracts. We highly recommended it to anyone going to Brazil. Although it may be a little bit more pricey than the rest of South America (Brazil generally is anyway), Fernando de Noronha is well worth every dollar you’ll spend.
What to do:
Beach it – This island is home to some of the top beaches in Brazil so enjoy relaxing on the beach and swimming in the crystal clear water or snorkelling.
Sea turtle spotting – Snorkel around Sueste Bay to look for giant sea turtles around the rocks. There are sometimes national park guides capturing, tagging and releasing the turtles each day so ask when you are there the times (usually the afternoon).
Sunset – Watch the sun go down on any of the beaches. It is breathtaking.
Surfing – When it’s the right season, some of the best surfers in the world make their way here to surf the waves.
Snorkelling – This island hosts some of the best snorkelling we have ever done. We saw an octopus, starfish, baby stingray, sea horses and many different types of fish. Praia da Atalaia is a restricted area and you will need to register to be able to snorkel in this small rock pool. You will need a guide to take you down (it’s about a 30-45min walk), then you will only get 25mins in the pool. There are strict instructions as well when in the pool. No flippers, no putting feet or knees down and you cannot be wearing sunscreen/oil as it will pollute the pool. If you break these rules you can get a fine. Only a certain number of people can go in at one time.
Boat tour – There are many to choose from but it is a definite must. The boat will take you out to view Sancho Bay from the water. You will see dolphins and then at the end you will go deep water snorkelling while being pulled behind a boat. Lunch is usually included as well.
Sancho Bay – Walk the trail and look at Sancho Bay from above.
The Lighthouse – At the end of the island there are some walks to do up past the port to the lighthouse and other surrounding older buildings.
Dolphin watching – Get up early and head up to Baia do Golfinhos to see one of the most incredible sights ever. The bay can only be reached by water, but in the mornings (around sunrise) go on the trail and sit at the top of the cliff and wait. Eventually you will see hundreds upon hundreds of dolphins making their way to the bottom of the cliff. The bay is a resting area for them. It is an amazing sight to see so many wild dolphins all in one space.
Where to stay:
There are many places to stay on the island: most are called pousadas. Prices range from $30-$300+. When we arrived we had nothing booked (but we were there in low season). Many pousadas are family homes that have been converted to accommodate travellers. We stayed at Casa de Maria for $50/night just off the main road. It was clean, simple and the owner was so, so nice! She doesn’t have a website though sorry!
Eat and drink:
There are many restaurants on the island to choose from but many of the pousadas will give you access to a kitchen so you can cook yourself and save a bit of money.
Getting around the island:
Hire a buggy – around $70/day
Hire a scooter – around $50/day
Catch the bus – around $2 each trip. The bus runs up and down the island.
Hitch hike – locals will stop and pick you up generally if you are going the same direction as them and then they will drop you off close to where you are going. Just learn a bit of portugese before you arrive. It will help!
Getting there:
There are return flights from Recife every day (about an hour each way). Generally flights will cost around $400-$500 return (depending on the season).
Environment tax:
Due to the island being a World Heritage Site and almost all National Park, there is an environmental tax you will need to pay depending on how many days you stay. You can pay this prior to arriving or at the airport.

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