By Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016
When Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Fernando de Noronha in 1503, he reportedly said, “paradise is here”. In fact, few other words suffice to describe the beauty of Noronha, an archipelago that stands 376 km away from the coast of Natal. The archipelago is a natural reserve, which is absolutely teeming with wildlife. The place is full of birds and reptiles, with lizards roaming in the rocks and among the grass. In the crystal clear waters, one can find a variety of fish, dolphins, stingrays, turtles and many other animals. There are also many sharks to be found, but unless meddled with, they do not pose a threat to tourists. So far, there have been no reported shark attacks in Fernando de Noronha.
The variety of wildlife in the seas and the clearness of the water have turned Fernando de Noronha into the hottest spot in Brazil for scuba diving, with people all over the world travelling there solely for this purpose. For those who are not interested in scuba diving, there are plenty of opportunities for snorkel diving. Either you can go with one of the many tours that are being offered or you can simply put your mask on and freely explore the wonders of the sea. There are also many boat tours on Noronha, where one can sail around the island appreciating it’s beautiful scenery, dazzling beaches and playful dolphins, which makes for a really relaxing evening.
If you are into surfing, Noronha is known as one of the best places in Brazil so surf. Known by some as the “Brazilian Hawaii”, the archipelago has beaches such as Bode, Quixaba, Boldró and Cacimba do Padre. With waves that reach up to 12 feet of height, Cacimba do Padre is home to many surfing championships, and it is considered by many to be the best surfing spot in Brazil.
Noronha is also home to Projeto Tamar, which is a project concerned with the preservation of sea turtles. It’s headquarters has a store and a museum, where one can see replicas of different species and learn about them. At night, there are talks one can attend to as well. You can also watch the baby turtles being market and set free on the beach depending on the time of the year, which is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
The main island is pretty rustic and welcoming. There are few hotels, and most people stay in inns. There are plenty of restaurants that offer great seafood and bars where one can drink by the beach. Locals are friendly and welcoming, which adds to the atmosphere of the place. When it comes to transportation, one can hire a buggy, a bike or simply walk. Noronha is not that large of an archipelago, so it is pretty easy to get around.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to Fernando de Noronha. The first one is that visitors are limited for environmental reasons, which makes it more difficult to access the island. The other one, which is its main downside, is that things are extremely expensive there. Due to the high prices, Noronha is not an affordable destination for many people. That being said, it is definitely worthy of every penny spent in the trip. If you are a fan of paradisiacal beaches, stunning sceneries, scuba diving or surfing, then this is definitely a place for you to visit!