The Fascinating Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha in Brazil has long impressed the world with its gorgeous beaches, wildlife and outstanding landscape.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is composed of 21 islands, with the largest and only inhabited island also named “Fernando de Noronha”. The entire archipelago is situated in an area declared as a National Marine Reserve.

Thus, if you intend to visit the other smaller islands, you have to seek the authorization of the Brazilian Environmental Institute. Tourism on the archipelago has been developed in a more sustainable manner, preserving the sanctity of the natural environment.  Tourists who visit Noronha are required to pay an environmental tax, which is typically included in travel packages.

A visit to Fernando de Noronha archipelago is not complete without trying diving excursions. With a well-preserved marine environment and a water visibility of up to 50 meters, the entire archipelago is considered to be one of the best diving sites in the world. There are two main types of diving offered in the area – free diving (apnea or towing diving) and autonomous diving with air cylinders.

The various diving sites around the archipelago are suitable for beginners or for seasoned professionals.  It is recommended that you hire the services of an experienced diving company to ensure a safe and fun diving trip. Some of the major diving companies operating on the island include Noronha Divers, Atlantis Divers and Seagate.

The Fernando de Noronha Archipelago is very much a sought after surfing spot. Huge waves start to swell in November and last until mid April.  Some of the most popular surfing points include Cacimba do Padre Laje do Bode, Boldro, Biboca,  and  Laje da Cacimba, which is known to receive some of the heaviest and longest waves.

Hiking the trails is one of the noteworthy activities on the Fernando de Noronha islands. The trails are divided into two areas. One of the areas is part of the National Marine Reserve of Fernando de Noronha, and can only be hiked if you acquire the appropriate authorization and the services of accredited guides. The other group of trails belongs to the Environment Preservation Area of Fernando de Noronha, and can be accessed for free.

The main Fernando de Noronha Island is only about 6 miles long and 2 miles wide. It is about 340 miles away from the coast of Pernambuco, a Brazilian state, and is characterized by high peaks like the Morro do Espinhaço and  Morro do Pico.  The island has indeed earned a reputation of being very pleasing to the eyes. The stunning sandy beaches of the island are divided into two sections, which are the Mar de Dentro (Inside Sea) and Mar de Fora (Outside Sea).

The Inside Sea extends towards Brazil’s coastline and encompasses ten beaches and two bays. The waters are mostly calm and are perfect for aqua activities.  The Outside Sea area is extends toward Africa, and is composed of four beaches, and swimming pools on the rocks. Some beaches are populated by various colored sands and others have rougher waters.

The main Noronha Island is also home to well-preserved historical landmarks that echo the island’s heritage and colonization. Places like the ruins of the Forts of Sao Pedro do Boldro, Parque de Santa Ana, Vila dos Remédios, and Vila da Quixaba are quite fascinating.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!