A trip to Fernando de Noronha is comparable to a dream coming true.
The archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a delicate ecosystem. Visitors are restricted, but the lucky few are rewarded with unrivaled beaches and soothing warm waters filled with dolphins and sea turtles, making Noronha one of the world’s top diving destinations. On land, hike the ecological trails of Jardim Elizabeth, the Esmeralda Coast or Sancho Bay, which culminates in a climb up a steep set of stairs carved into the split of a cliff.
Fernando de Noronha has the most wonderful beaches situated in Pernambuco; regularly feature in Brazil’s top beaches list.
Hundreds of dolphins congregate every morning at the same sheltered bay, and can be watched from the cliffs above. The waters around the island are evidently the most important dolphin breeding ground in the world. The bay is officially known as the Baía dos Porcos (Bay of Pigs), but over time it has come to be known as Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphin Bay).
Praia do Sancho
This beach is more notable for what it doesn’t have than for what it does. It is a dream vision of the perfect tropical beach. There are no deck chairs, no showers, no beach bar, and no facilities of any kind. Access is tricky, you climb down a ladder through a deep cleft in the rock face and getting up again is even trickier. For all these reasons, Sancho was a recent winner of the coveted Best Beach in Brazil award. When Jacques Cousteau was here, he apparently spent all his afternoons chilling in the shade of the rocks at the western end.
Vila Los Remedios
The tiny capital is a village cobbled with grey stones, its streets leading towards a lovely beach. A colonial building is the seat of the island’s government and Fernando de Noronha’s only bank is found here. The remains of 18th-century houses are almost engulfed by the encroaching forest. Beside an open space, the ‘square’, is the old village church, with a white-and-ochre façade in a Portuguese rococo style.
The island has about 70 inns or pousadas, often private residences more or less adapted for this type of service. The quality of the lodgings is indicated by the number of dolphins. There are 3 categories:
- 1 dolphin (basic) – most places are in this category
- 2 dolphins (comfortable) – about 9
- 3 dolphins (very comfortable) – 4
For enjoying the numberless natural attractions and experiencing a little bit of the history of our colonization, a trip to Noronha requires at least 5 days. There are countless activity and tour options, which satisfy different people and offer to the visitor the chance to see all natural beauties of the islands.