ABOUT FERNANDO DE NORONHA: The archipelago
of Fernando de Noronha Islands is located off shore,
approx 350km from Natal and 540km from Recife. The
area belongs and is administrated by the State of
Pernambuco and its capital Recife. Today lives approx
2.100 people on the island and numbers of visitors
is strongly controlled by IBAMA, local environment
HOW IS FERNANDO DE
NORONHA: The blue Atlantic Ocean
and the volcanic formed hills, make the archipelago
of Fernando de Noronha to one of the most beautiful
landscapes in Brazil. The archipelago's good environmental
conditions have called the attention of environmentalists
from the whole planet, so much so that the islands
were granted the title of World Heritage of Humanity,
granted by Unesco, in 2002.
The Archipelago was visited for the first time around
the year 1503, by Americo Vespuccio. It was invaded
by French and Dutchmen, until the Portuguese, at
last, took possession of it. Many historical sites
show traces of these last colonizers: Vila dos Remédios,
Vila da Quixaba, Parque de Sant'Ana and the ruins
of the São Pedro do Boldró, Sto. Antônio,
and N.Sª da Conceição Fortresses.
Fernando de Noronha has a population of 2.100,and
lies 360km from Natal. The 21 islands of the archipelago
cover a total area of only 26 square kilometers.
With its crystal-clear water (visibility to 50m
deepness & average water temperature of 25°C)
and rich marine life, the archipelago is a heavenly
retreat for underwater pleasures – one of
the best places for diving on this planet.
The “Pico” hill, the highest point on
the main island, is only 321 meters above sea level,
it is well over 4300 meters above the ocean floor,
as the island is an extinct volcanic cone. The island-mountain
is part of the mid-Atlantic ridge, an underwater
mountain chain which is over 15,000km long. The
islands beaches are clean, beautiful and almost
deserted. There are many natural formed swimming
pools and beautiful & shallow beaches, like
Atalaia Beach and Sancho Bay, where you can observe
the marine life and lots of colorful fish. You can
get to the Sancho bay either by boat or by following
a trail which leads through bramble and bush, past
almond trees and over sharp rocks. Once at Baía
do Sancho, you may be lucky enough to witness an
odd metrological phenomenon: without a cloud in
sight, rain falls mysteriously on a spot of land
10 meters wide. Cacimba do Padre beach is the only
one with fresh water.
Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphin Bay) is strictly
off limits to swimmers, but access is permitted
to Mirante dos Gofinhos, an outlook where you can
watch hundreds of dolphins cavorting in the water
every morning. The predominant vegetation in Fernando
de Noronha is composed of species typical of the
Brazilian Northeastern arid vegetation, which loose
their foliage during the dry season. In general,
the local vegetation includes higher trees and bushes
on the flatter surfaces.
Another attraction is to observe the rich life of
sea birds and other birds, living there permanently
or stopping over during their immigrations. Except
the variety of nature experiences, you may also
enjoy some sports, like surfing. The waves are about
2m high and the top of the waves can reach 5m. The
best period for surfing is between December and
March (in February is a world championship in surf).
The archipelago is nowadays a protected national
marine park, and the effects of tourism on its fragile
ecosystem need to be monitored carefully. It is
only the main island that allows visitors, and the
local government charges a daily environmental tax
of the visitors. An example of environmental restrictions
is that, on the beaches of Leão, Sancho,
Cacimba do Padre & Boldró, it is prohibited
to access the beaches nighttime (18h - 06h) during
January till June, in protection of the turtles
that lays eggs.
Noronha offer good infrastructure to service tourists:
bank agency, police station, post office, tourism
information office, hospital, Internet access, military
police forces, a port, weather information, hotels
and inns. In some inns, visitors have the chance
to cohabit with local inhabitants, who have turned
their humble houses into familiar or charming inns.
The tourism is developed in a sustainable manner,
offering the opportunity for a balanced encounter
between men and nature in one of the most important
ecological sanctuaries in the world.
WHEN TO GO / CLIMATE:
Fernando de Noronha's weather is
tropical with heat and sun all through the year.
The average temperature is of 28º C. There
is only two well defined seasons: the dry season
(from September thru March) and rainy season (from
April thru August), but the rains, which in general
do not last very long, give always a way to the
are daily flights connecting the capital cities
of Natal/RN and Recife/PE with Fernando de Noronha.
The distance from Recife is 540km and takes 1hour
40min by air and from Natal it is 350km and takes
1hour 10min by air. There are NO boat transports
of passengers to the islands, but another interesting
option is to embark a cruise ship that normally
run along the Brazilian coast – between October
and February – some of them include a visit
to the island in their itineraries.
Local heat and strong sunrays suggest the use of
light clothing, hats and solar protection. The best
option is to exchange foreign currency for Brazilian
Reais before going to the island, since the majority
of local inns, restaurants and souvenir stores don't
take credit cards. Visitors should not forget that
they must pay for an environmental preservation
fee to the local administration - related to the
number of days they spend on the island. Children
younger than five years of age do not pay.
Diving in Fernando de Noronha
The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is one of
the best places in the world for diving. The island's
crystalline waters, with visibility of up to 50
meters host many species of fish, skate fish, sharks,
turtles, eels, barracudas, dolphins, sponges and
algae, including also rocky formations, coral reefs
those who do have any experience in diving can experiment
the thrilling sensation of observing the local sea
fauna in their natural habitat. At seashore on the
beaches of Atalaia and Sancho Bay and at the natural
aquariums formed by rocks at Porcos Bay, it is possible
to see a wide range of colored fish.
fees vary according to the time of the year. Divers
must also pay for a special fee established by the
government protection agency, IBAMA. Diving operators
installed on the island supply transportation and
all necessary equipment. For accredited divers,
local operators offer a wide range of courses, but
anticipated booking is recommended.
Main diving points
At 64 meters deep, the Ipiranga war ship is considered
the most preserved shipwreck in Brazil. The Greek
ship "Eliane Estatatus" is under Sto.
Antônio Bay, near the local port, at an 8-meter
depth. Since it is quite close to the seashore,
visitors can swim to visit it.
Dois Irmãos Slab
It is close to the Dois Irmãos cliff, in
front of Porcos Bay. Diving there goes between 8
and 15 meters deep.
do Sapata Cliff
Huge rocky wall that reaches 40 meters deep into
Slab with 23-meter depth.
Set of rocks that extend from sea surface down to
a 15-meter depth. The location offers an excellent
A depth of 20 meters. It is located in front of
Grouts and caverns at a depth of 15 meters.
Northern Point of Land
Huge cliff where diving reaches a depth of 42 meters.
2-meter high waves with peaks up to five meters
high, such as at Cacimba, Boldró, Ruro and
Abrás Slabs, are sought by surfers from all
over the world, especially from November thru April.
Some stages of the National Surf Championship are
held on Fernando de Noronha.
The most sensational thing about Fernando de Noronha
is that all the island's beaches are very pretty
and very well preserved. Local seawaters are of
greenish blue tone and are incredibly transparent.
Some of them include also some rocky formations.
Below you will find a list with main beaches.
the outside sea
It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil.
It has a rock in the shape of a sea lions, hence
the beach's peculiar name. Right in front of that
beach visitors see the Viuvinha rock, a small island
covered with birds nests. When waves hit against
some of its rocky formations, it produces a jet
of water. This beach is also the main egg-laying
point used by sea turtles and, therefore, the beach
is closed during some months of the year, from late
afternoon to the next early morning, between January
It offers a peculiar characteristic in terms of
oceanic islands: it has a marsh area. The sea there
is quite free of larger waves. On the left side
of the beach visitors find the ruins of the São
Joaquim de Sueste Fortress.
Local coral reefs form natural aquariums with rich
sea life. Access to the beach is limited to a small
number of people each day. It is necessary that
visitors ask for a special permit at the Visitors
Center in the National Park.
da Raquel (Cliffy Cavity)
It offers natural pools along rocky formations.
This is a place for pure and deep contemplation.
Bathing is not allowed.
In the inside sea
The bay forms a natural port, where small ships
can anchor, including those used for sightseeing
tours. The bay also includes a shipwreck that attracts
It is located close to the Remédios Fortress.
It has coral reefs and waves are low and pleasant.
This beach is very popular among surfers during
high tide. During low tide, seawaters are calm and
proper for bathing. Being a long beach, it is good
for those who appreciate long walks along the seashore.
It also offers good waves for surfing during high
tide. At the sea cliff visitors find the ruins of
the São Pedro do Boldró Fortress,
which are used as a belvedere.
This is one of the largest beaches in the island,
being around 1-km long. During summer it offers
excellent waves for surfing of up to 5 meters high.
It is surrounded by native forest.
This beach has quite too many rocks and a narrow
stretch of sand. Natural aquariums with colored
fish its great attraction. But diving here is not
allowed. In front of it, tourists can visit two
huge rock slabs called "Dois Irmãos"
(Two Brothers). The highest one holds the ruins
of the São João Batista Fortress,
offering a beautiful view of the turquoise-blue
waters marked by dark cliffs. This peculiar scenario
has led some to consider Porcos Bay as the most
beautiful beach in Brazil. Access to the beach is
available through trails.
In terms of beauty, it rivals the neighboring beach
of Porcos Bay. It is excellent for the practice
of free diving, since it offers good visibility
and diversity of marine fauna at a shallow depth.
From its sea cliffs, visitors face one of the most
beautiful views in Fernando de Noronha. This beach
is also an egg-laying point for sea turtles, and
so there are restrictions to access it from January
to June, from late afternoon to the following early
This is the favorite tourists' attraction. Boats
sail along the Inside Sea, offering an incredible
view of beaches from the main island of Fernando
de Noronha and also from the small islands surrounding
it. On a lucky day, visitors may see dolphins swimming
close to the boat. At Sancho Bay boats halt so visitors
can go on a free diving spree.
Hoodless buggies are the most used vehicles in Fernando
de Noronha. They are used as taxis or for tours
around the island. Drivers, usually local inhabitants,
may act as tour guides and may take visitors to
the most beautiful places and to those least known
corners as well.
“Rotator” dolphins may be seen from
the belvedere looking over "Baía do
Golfinhos" (Dolphins Bay). There, they feed
and reproduce. The best hour for observations is
during the first hours of the day.