Fernando de Noronha Destination Guide
Travellers the world over are discovering the untouched beauty of the Fernando de Noronha islands. Over 70% of the archipelago has been declared a National Marine Park. A model of environmental preservation, the Noronha islands small scale tourism industry is expanding slowly, working side by side with local authorities to ensure the continued existence of the primeval nature that exists within its environment.
Famous for its beaches, bays and unspoiled nature; Fernando de Noronha island has some hidden surprises to offer its visitors!
Our Fernando de Noronha Destination Guide and Fernando de Noronha Tour suggestions will tell you all you need to know about the best places to visit during your Fernando de Noronha travel. For tips on how to get around during your visit, read our Fernando de Noronha Transportation Guide. For more things to do around the country, check out our Brazil Destination Guide.
Things to See & Do in Fernando de Noronha
Sancho Bay can be accessed either by boat, by swimming or trekking, or on a trail from Baia dos Porcos. It is one of the best beaches to soak in the pleasure of diving in Fernando de Noronha. The beach is quiet and secluded, and all around the turquoise waters are so clear that it is a joy to swim in these waters. Snorkelling in these waters will give you a glimpse of paradise where you will see the most beautiful species of fish and corals. You can also view lots of turtles and moreas. A big reef wall separates Sancho Bay from Baia dos Porcos.
You can easily snorkel around the beaches of Fernando de Noronha. Snorkelling at Baía do Sueste is a good idea as it has shallow waters which are protected from the winds. A good guide will help you find the best spots for snorkelling and also help locate sea turtles which are camouflaged in the clean blue-green waters.
If you want to try something more adventurous, then do check out the ‘aquasub' used by marine biologists to study sea turtles. The aquasub basically pulls the snorkeller along with it around the smaller islands of the archipelago so that larger areas are explored with ease.
The beaches of Fernando de Noronha are simply breathtaking. Declared as a marine national park in 1988, it is largely unspoilt, as only 420 tourists are allowed to visit the island at a time. Do visit the Conceico Beach, known for its long shores, and also the Porcos Bay, which is famous for its beautiful stretches of sand.
Some of the best surfing sites can be found at Fernando de Noronha. Bode, Boldro, Meio and Cacimba do Padre are some of the popular surfing spots. The months from December to March are the best season for surfing. Check out the weather in Fernando de Noronha for more climate information.
To see the wonderful acrobatics performed by the dolphins you will need to reach the Dolphin Bay at the crack of dawn. They can be seen from a cliff above the bay. Do get a pair of binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens so that you do not miss any of the astonishing action!
A dune buggy will take you on the early morning journey to the Dolphin's Bay viewpoint. If you miss the dolphins at sunrise, you can still get to see them a little later in the day. You can even get a better look at the dolphins as they play with the boats.
Fernando de Noronha boat tours have been organised by the locals, taking tourists along the inner coast of Fernando de Noronha to Ponta da Sapata, which is a narrow peninsula in the south west extremity of the island. All tour boats charge the same and this is perhaps the best way to see Spinner Dolphins at close range.
Fernando de Noronha is home to Atalaia Beach, which is placed in such a way that water pools are formed between reefs. These individual pools form natural aquariums when the tide is low and the fish tend to get trapped in these pools till high tide comes again. It is a truly unique experience but you'll require luck and patience to partake of it. For one, the winds have to be in the right direction and the tides at the right level. You also have to sign up first thing in the morning so that you are amongst the first 25 who are permitted to witness the experience. The authorities are so particular about the environment that you will not be allowed here if you have applied sunscreen.
Fernando de Noronha is a scuba diver's paradise and is considered to be one of the best diving areas in Brazil. The dives range from 25 to 40 metres in depth. A popular diving area is the place where a Brazilian warship called the Corvette NAeL Ipiranga sank in 1987. It now lies undisturbed at a depth of 190 feet. The Ipiranga war ship is another well preserved shipwreck, found at a depth of 64 metres. The ‘Eliane Estatatus', a Greek ship, is found under the Sto Antônio Bay located near the local port and is only 8 metres deep. Many visitors manage to swim to this wreck as it is quite close to the shore.
One of the positive moves made by the Fernando de Noronha administration is to declare the archipelago a national marine park. This has helped maintain the underwater ecology of the area to a large extent.
The islands are surrounded by warm waters and located at a distance from the land mass, making the ecosystem quite unique. The marine ecosystem in particular is abundant and singularly distinctive. That is why diving in Fernando de Noronha is some of the best diving in Brazil and perhaps even in the world. Marine life includes dolphins, reef sharks, sting rays, and turtles. You will find some of the largest fish you will ever see in the world here in Noronha. If you want to experience the thrill of seeing the marine life, it is advisable that you make use of a local agency to help you explore the place better. Also, most of these sites can be reached only by boat.
There are only three dive operators allowed to operate on the islands, and IBAMA allows only one boat per dive site so you won´t find many divers in the water.