By Mark Taylor
When you tell someone that you’re going to Fernando de Noronha, at least to someone who knows roughly what and where it is, it’s often greeted with a wow” or some similar exclamation. The reason being that Fernando de Noronha, for right or wrong, is widely believed to be one of the most wonderful places to visit in Brazil. It was thanks to air miles and a cheap pousada (essentially a bed and breakfast) I finally got a chance to visit!

Fernando de Noronha is technically an archipelago of 21 islands, situated about 350km (220 miles) from Brazil’s coast, near Recife and Natal (perhaps someone ought to remind the Brazilian F1 race car driver Rubens Barachello of this, as he recently commented “if you’re talking about a proper extended stay, then I’d catch a plane to Rio and spend a few days on an island called Fernando de Noronha”).

The word “archipelago” tends to conjure up an image of islands of similar size, but in this case there is one very large island which the archipelago gets its name from, and where you can actually stay. The rest range from significantly smaller secondary islands all the way down to what are essentially large rocks that protrude from the sea. The main island is about 10km (6 miles) long, by 4km (2 miles) wide. The archipelago itself is actually a volcanic formation, which rises up from around 750m (2480 feet) below the sea. Although there’s some evidence of this from the rocks around the island, the volcanic activity is long gone so the beaches for example are still powdery white sand.

Morro do PicoThe highest point on the main island is Morro do Pico (Hill of the Peak), which is 321m above sea level, with an additional 2m for the rotating searchlight fixed to the top. Morro do Pico is famous for having the profile of a face from certain angles.

The islands have two distinct seasons: rainy from January to August, and dry from September to December. It tends to be busiest from December through to Carnival (February/March), what with it being Summer. There are also holidays such as Christmas and New Year, surf competitions, and Carnival itself being celebrated during this time. All are popular times for Brazilians to travel. So expect prices for pousadas to be at their peak during this time, even though the weather isn’t necessarily. Supposedly the best month to visit weather-wise is September, when the sun isn’t too hot and the wind isn’t too strong.

Part 2 next week…

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Previous articles by Mark:

Brazil: 14 Bis Centenary Part 1
Brazil: Daylight Savings Time
Brazil: Carjacking and Theft
Brazil: Airport Delays Grow Among Crash Speculation
Brazil: São Paulo’s International Film Festival (and The Fountain)
Brazil: Single Gringo Beware!
Brazil: The House of Coffee Comes Home
Brazil: Film Review
Brazil: The Portuguese Language Museum
Brazil: Election Time! Part 2
Brazil: Election Time! Part 1
Brazil: Torrent TV
Brazil: Book Review
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 2
Brazil: Whistle-stop Salvador Part 1
The PCC Shows a New Level of Organisation
Brazil: Metr-ettiquette
Brazil: Trading Places
Brazil: São Paulo’s Pinacoteca
Brazil: Don’t Forget, You’re in Another Country!
Brazil: PCC Violence Returns to São Paulo
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 5
Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Party
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 4
Brazil: Japanese Standard Chosen for Digital TV
Brazil: NET Petition Feedback
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 3
Brazil: Football Love
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 2
Brazil: A Recycled City Part 1
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 3
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 2
Brazil: 100 Things To Do in São Paulo Part 1
GPS in Brazil
Brazil: PCC Attacks in São Paulo
Brazil: Tips on Buying or Renting an Apartment or House
Brazil: A Critical Sensitivity
Cleanliness is next to Brazilianiness
Brazil: Manners
Brazil: No Change, No Sale
Brazilian TV
Brazil: Ubatuba
Brazil: Professional Children
Brazil: We deliver… everything!
Brazil: Terrao Itlia
Brazil: A Layman’s Carnival Guide
Brazil: Portunglish or Engluguese?
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Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
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Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
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Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
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Brazilian Film Review
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Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
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Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
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