The magic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is located a short flight from the northern coast of Brazil. Among Brazil travel destinations, it is one of the best for snorkeling and scuba diving.
If you need another reason to travel to Brazil, here it is: Fernando de Noronha. This Brazilian tropical paradise is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets of volcanic origin located 225 miles (354 km) off the coast. The main island of Ilha Fernando de Noronha has a permanent population of approximately 3,500 inhabitants. The other islands are within the National Marine Preserve and are uninhabited. For its unique ecology, Fernando de Noronha has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its remote location, gorgeous, unspoiled natural landscapes, and pristine beaches make this a perfect island getaway destination and a rising ecotourism destination for travel to Brazil.
The archipelago was discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1503. In subsequent centuries, it was occupied by Dutch, French, and then Portuguese sailors; this last group built a system of 10 forts, and these are in various degrees of preservation today. In more recent years, Fernando de Noronha has served as a prison and U.S. army base.
Fernando de Noronha is considered one of the best places for diving and snorkeling, with hundreds of marine species found here. The rocky coast forms natural pools. Water currents from Africa keep sea temperatures warm. The clear waters also provide excellent visibility, up to 50 meters in some areas. Additionally, given the number of possible snorkeling sites, tours can cater to a range of levels of experience. Other activities include boat tours, buggy tours, kayaking, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. On land, trekking trails go through the National Marine Reserve and the Environment Preservation Area; some require authorization for use, others do not.
There are countless beautiful beaches to choose from, and 2 of these, Baia do Sancho and Praia do Leão, both of which boast unbelievably crystalline waters, are in constant contention for the title of most beautiful beach in Brazil. Other must see beaches include those at Baia dos Porcos (Pigs Bay) and Baia do Sueste, where populations of sea turtles can be found.
A minimum of 5 days is the recommended length of stay in order to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the natural and historical attractions of the islands. Fernando de Noronha can be reached by air or cruise ship. Flights depart from Recife and Natal in northeast Brazil. Cruises operate from these two cities as well as from Fortaleza. Various inns and pousadas around the main island provide accommodation. Restrictions: a total of 460 visitors are permitted on the islands. Upon arrival, tourists pay an environmental protection tax, the cost of which varies by length of stay.