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Fernando de Noronha

Planning Your Trip to Fernando de Noronha – Information About Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha Island is a paradise for divers, surfers and nature lovers with beautiful beaches, crystalline waters and exuberant maritime wildlife. With crystalline waters and an exuberance of corals, dolphins, lobsters and colorful tropical fish, as well as wonderfully preserved beaches and virtually no pollution, Fernando de Noronha is a paradise for divers, surfers and all nature lovers. This beautiful and peaceful island is part of a volcanic archipelago of 21 islands which lie 345km off the northeast coast of Brazil. For years, a military outpost off-limits to visitors, this unspoiled island was declared a Marine National Park in 1988 and is now protected by IBAMA (the Brazilian Institute for the Environment).

Fernando de Noronha Travel and Tourism Information

To preserve the unspoiled environment, only 420 tourists are allowed on the island at any one time, guaranteeing empty beaches and tranquility for the visitor at all times, as well as the opportunity to commune with nature. The islands were discovered in 1503 by the Portuguese explorer Amérigo Vespucci and were for a time a pirate lair. In 1738 the Portuguese built the Forte dos Remédios, later used as a prison in this century, and a church to strengthen their claim to the islands.

A few scattered remains of the early fortifications still exist. Apart from the thousands of migratory birds that stop off at the island on their way south, the waters surrounding the island are filled with hundreds of playful dolphins, turtles, multi-colored fish, corals, sponges and other marine plants. It is no wonder, therefore, that Fernando de Noronha is the best place for scuba diving and snorkelling in Brazil.

As well as excellent underwater activities, Fernando de Noronha is also the mecca for Brazilian surfers who come to ride the 2 meter waves (sometimes reaching as high as 5 meters) on the sandy beaches facing Brazil´s Atlantic coast. The best surf beaches are Cacimba do Padre, Bode, Boldró, Conceiçao, and Meio. Riding, mountain biking and walking to some of the remoter beaches are also popular.

There are interesting natural rock sculptures at the Baía dos Porcos beach, a waterfall at Praia do Sancho during the rainy season and a heavenly natural swimming pool among the rocks at Praia do Atalaia. The Morro do Pico is the highest point on the island at 321 meters (1,053 ft) and offers a splendid view of the archipelago, especially at sunset. The island has warm and pleasant temperatures of around 26°C (79°C )all year round, with a refreshing rainy season from February to July.

The best time for diving is from April to November, when the waters are crystal clear and the surfing season runs from December to March.

If you would like further information on Fernando de Noronha History, Culture, Natural Aspects, Cuisine, Weather or Travel Tips please click on the menu above.

Hope you have enjoyed our Information about Fernando de Noronha.

Information About Fernando de Noronha Cuisine

The Fernando de Noronha cuisine is unavoidably similar to that of the mainland, Pernambuco. Typically, fish, shrimp, seashells, or crab are part of any meal in the Island. The deep fried shark meat dumpling is probably the most genuine Fernando de Noronha dish.

Information About Fernando de Noronha History

The island of Fernando de Noronha was discovered in 1503 by the Portuguese explorer Amérigo Vespucci, and given to the nobleman Fernando de Loronha in 1504 by the Portuguese king, Dom Manuel I, hence its name (with one letter changed). The nobleman, Loronha, however, never set foot on the island, which, because of its strategic position, was invaded in turn by various other European nations before returning to Portuguese rule.

ion. In 1534, the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha was invaded by the English, and from 1556 until 1612 it was ruled by the French. In 1612, Claudio de Abbeville, a Capuchin missionary, landed on the island and found one Portuguese and seventeen Indian men and women who had been banished from mainland Pernambuco. In 1628 the island was invaded by the Dutch who occupied it until 1654, with the exception of a 5-year occupation by the Portuguese, between 1630 to 1635.

During their rule the Dutch used the island as a treatment and convalescence base for their troops, a third of whom suffered from diseases such as scurvy and dysentery in Pernambuco. The island became know as Pavonia, in honor of Michiel de Pauw, one of the directors of the Dutch West Indies Company. The Dutch built only one small fort at the site of the later Forte de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios (Fort of Our Lady of Medicines). An order by the Dutch Crown to keep the island occupied and garrisoned and to select the best sites for fortification was ignored.

As a result the island was constantly at the mercy of invaders and on September 24, 1700, by order of a Royal Writ from the Portuguese Crown, Fernando de Noronha reverted to the Crown and became part of the Capitania of Pernambuco. To prevent any further invasions, the forts of Nossa Senhora do Remedios, Nossa Senhora de Conceição and Santo Antonio were constructed. In 1772 the church of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios was completed, a landmark of the repopulation of the island.

Around this time is when the first prisoners were sent to the island from the mainland of Brazil. This rapid development of the island’s population had a profound effect on the environment. Vegetative cover was destroyed, trees were felled to prevent escapes and to eliminate hiding places for the inmates and non-endemic species were introduced to the island. Consequences of these changes remain visible today.

The forts of São João Batista dos Dois Irmãos and São Joaquim do Sueste were built in 1739. In 1755, by royal decree, Angola started to contribute an annual sum to cover the expenses of the fort of Fernando de Noronha, a subsidy which continued until Brazil´s independence. In 1837, when Pernambuco had its republican revolution, orders were given to demolish the fortifications on the island and the prisoners were returned to the mainland.

In 1865 Emperor Pedro II signed new orders governing the island and custody was transferred to the Ministry of Justice, but in 1897 the government of Pernambuco took control of the penitentiary at Fernando de Noronha and converted it to use as a state prison. It remained under state control until 1938, when the Federal government decided to convert the island to be used as a political prison and penal colony during World War II. On August 23, 1943, Colonel Tristão de Alencar Araripe became the first governor of the new Federal Territory.

Agreements between Brazil and the United States permitted stationing of American troops on the archipelago from 1942 to 1945 and from 1957 to 1962 NASA operated a satellite tracking station here. Noronha was under the administration of the Brazilian Military until 1981 and most of the infrastructure on the island, including the airport, roads, schools and the hospital, date from this period. Now, Fernando de Noronha is administered as a State District by a General Administrator appointed by the governor of Pernambuco and approved by its state legislature.

The first election for local government was held in 1996. Today the island survives on tourism, limited due to its delicate ecosystem, and traditional fishing, only for local consumption. The entire archipelago has received much attention from scientists from all over the world, dedicated to the study of its flora, fauna and geology. One of the earliest works was published over 100 years ago by Pocock (1890). Fernando de Noronha is a fascinating island, both physically and historically. It’s a place like you´ve never seen before.

Information About Fernando de Noronha Culture

The only inhabited part of the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is located in the largest island, in the Vila dos Remedios. The population of Noronha, about 2500 inhabitants, is famous for being warm and very welcoming. Curiously, part of the population is descendants of jailers and ex-inmates since the Island was once a maximum-security prison. Fernando de Noronha celebrated in August 2003 its 500th anniversary with festivities, concerts, and an ocean fishing championship.

Information About Fernando de Noronha Weather

The island can be visited any time of the year. Temperatures are always warm and mild (26°C or 79°F), with a gentle breeze. The climate is tropical, with two well defined seasons: the rainy season from January to August, and the dry season for the rest of the year.

The heaviest rains occur between March and July, sometimes reaching almost 20.3 cm (8 inches) in 24 hours in March and April. During this season the island is green and at its most beautiful and the temperature slightly cooler. October is the driest month, when rainfall will not be greater than 0.91cm (0.36 inch) in a 24 hour period. The average temperature is 25° C (77° F), with a variation of only a few degrees.

The hottest months are January, February and March. The relative humidity varies little from 81.5 % due to the islands characteristics. Average annual sunshine is 3.215 hours per day, with a maximum in November and a minimum in April. Best times for Surfing From December to February/March the waves are perfect for surfing.

Best times for Diving and Snorkeling August through December are the best months for diving and snorkeling in the Mar de Dentro (Atlantic north coast of island, facing the mainland, where the bays are more protected). Between January and March the Mar de Fora (south coast of island) is calm and excellent for diving and snorkeling.

Information About Fernando de Noronha Natural Aspects

This mountainous archipelago, made up of 21 islands, lies 200 miles off the northeastern coast of Rio Grande do Norte and 340 miles from Recife, Pernambuco. Fernando de Noronha is an isolated group of volcanic islands, which were formed around 2 million years ago.

The main islands are part of the mid-Atlantic ridge, an underwater mountain chain which is over 15,000 km long. The main island, from which the group gets its name, is sparsely populated, only 1500 inhabitants, and is an extinct volcanic cone, the base of which lies 2,480 feet below the surface. The island measures 7.1 square miles; 6.2 miles long and 2.2 miles at its maximum width. With its crystal-clear waters and rich marine life, the archipelago is a heavenly retreat for underwater pleasures.

Fernando de Noronha is a marine ecological reserve, protected by the government and for the most part, the islands are still the way they were in the 1500s, when the Portuguese discovered them, untouched and exciting. There are many beautiful beaches to choose from on the island. Some are better adapted to diving, others to swimming, contemplation, surfing or walking. In general, the beaches found on the protected side of the main island are ideal for diving and swimming during the months of April through November, due to the extremely calm sea.

During the rest of the year, the changing conditions of the sea favor the sport of surfing, especially during January and February. Conceição is one of the more beautiful and longer beaches; Boldró beach has some amazing coral formations; Porcos Bay is one of the best beaches with natural pools and marvelous views; Sancho Bay is a beach of unforgettable beauty which has excellent diving and where nests of aquatic birds can be found; Dolphin Bay, reached by a cliff path, is an incredible beach to watch Spinner dolphins; Leão beach, located on the southeast side of the island, is thought by many to have the most beautiful scenery of the Archipelago.

It is the main area where sea turtles lay their eggs and, among its other attractions are the esguichos – geyser-like fountains that result from the tremendous build-up of pressure when water comes in under the coral during high tide and consequently forces itself through small openings. The land vegetation of the islands consists mainly of vines and bushes with a few species of trees.

There are also a great number of bushes and herbs not endemic to the island, introduced in the 18th century when Fernando de Noronha first became a penal colony. Most noted among the bushes is the wild bean and the burra leiteira (native), that produces a caustic sap capable of causing serious burns on men and animals. Besides these, some fruit trees have been introduced on the island, such as the papaya, cashew, banana, tamarindo, caja, guava and graviola.

Various ornamental species also exist, such as the almond, the royal poinciana, the jasmin manga, the eucalyptus and the coconut palm. Perhaps due to the warm currents, poor in organic material, which are characteristic of Fernando de Noronha there is little variety of marine vegetation on the islands. This emphasizes the uniqueness of the marine ecosystem of these islands, to which few species have been able to adapt. What the archipelago does have though is an exuberant bird life. It is home to the largest bird breeding colonies of all the islands of the Tropical South Atlantic.

Among the species found here are the viuvinha, which builds it’s nest in the trees and on the cliffs of the islands, using algae collected from the surface of the waters; the viuvinha grande; the trinta-reis-de-manto-negro; the viuvinha branca, a pure white bird which lays its eggs in the forks of tree branches; the mumbebos, the brown mumbebos, the red footed mumbebos; the catraia and the red beak rabo-de-junco.

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha owes its very rich marine life to its geographic location (far from the continent and well within the path of the Southern Equatorial Current), as well as the nature of its climate (average temperature 26°C (79°F)). The oldest and largest residential school of dolphins on earth can be found here, as well as 14 species of reef shark, hawksbill and green turtles, baracudas, a variety of rays and schooling fish of every kind and color. 168 families of mollusks and 72 species of crustaceans also live in these waters. In 1988 Fernando de Noronha was declared a National Marine Park, with the goal of preserving the land and marine environment. IBAMA has set up various research projects, two of which are shark research and the TAMAR PROJECT (marine turtles).

Visitors to the island can learn about these projects at the project’s visitor center, near the IBAMA headquarters. Another popular activity here is walking. Many places on the archipelago remain unknown due to their lack of access. The island’s natural beauty offers the visitor walks through superb scenery, such as exotic beaches squeezed between cliffs, caves and hills. The best locations are within the Marine Park itself, where the company of a park ranger is required. All these natural wonders featured in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago make this one of the most enchanting and relaxing places to visit in Brazil.

Information About Fernando de Noronha Travel Tips

When planning your trip remember that Fernando de Noronha is always warm (average temperature 25°C or 77°F) and has a rainy season (January to August) and a dry season (September to December). Suitable clothing should be taken, depending on which month you are traveling.

Here are some useful tips to help you plan your trip:

  • The time is one hour later than Brazilian Standard Time.
  • Mosquito Repellent and sunscreen are necessary.
  • Underwater currents can occur on some beaches, so be careful when swimming in the sea.
  • Take good walking shoes if you are planning on doing any trekking around the island and a pair of long trousers if you plan to go horse riding.
  • You do not need to take any diving or snorkeling equipment, as our tour operators on the island will supply this.
  • Take comfortable clothes; the island is very casual.
  • Binoculars will be useful when viewing wildlife and nature.
  • You may wish to take an underwater camera, as the marine life is exceptionally beautiful.
  • The tap water is unsafe to drink.
  • The electricity is 220 volts AC.
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