Fernando de Noronha, home to some of the worlds most beautiful beaches is an island off the northeast coast of Brazil. It was declared a marine national park in 1988, and now only 420 tourists are allowed on the island at any time (so make sure you plan in advance!). Since 75% of the island is national park in order to access a number of the beaches you will need to buy park access passes. Passes cost R$178 for non Brazilians and R$89 for Brazilians, each pass is good for 10 days.
The waters are clear and full of colorful fish, dolphins, lobsters, turtles, sponges and corals, making it a favorite diving and snorkeling locale.
Baia do sueste, also known as ‘turtle beach’ was one of my favorite experiences! When you arrive you must get a life jacket and snorkel gear if you do not already have it. Everything here is protected and the water is quite shallow in some parts so the vest is necessary. The first time we were with a guide and saw a bunch of huge turtles, some small ones, lobsters, octopus then watched a nurse shark eat an octopus! Definitely one of the coolest experiences ever!
Baia do Sancho (above) is one of the most beautiful in country. Cliffs loom 230 feet over the perfectly shaped crescent beach which is lined by beautiful fauna (we saw some monkeys too), and below amidst the soft perfect sand are lava formations which are crawling with large beautiful red and yellow crabs. The only way to reach Sancho is by foot: several hundred meters on a trail, then descend down a ladder that is squished tightly between rock wall (FYI if you are claustrophobic this might not be the right adventure for you), once down the ladder you will walk down a few dozen uneven slippery sandy steps. I promise it is worth it! Bring your snorkel gear, there were tons of colorful fish and turtles decorating the bluest clear water I have ever seen. We even saw turtles mating – quite the unique experience.
Praia do Gofinohs, dolphins bay, cannot be entered by foot so I strongly recommend doing one of the boat tours. Watching large groups of dolphins jumping and swimming freely is a magical experience.
Baía e Porto de Santo Antônio is where you can hop on one of the various boats for your water adventure. Different from most ports, this one is actually quite interesting to swim around in as their is a sunken Greek frigate you can experience via snorkel or dive plus you are highly likely to run into a dolphin or two:)
Praia da Conceição, located at the base of the Morro do Pico the landmark, that looks like a giant gorilla (or something phallic – you decide) and towers 323m out of the landscape. This beach was our favorite for several reasons. The view is incredible, the sand is super soft, it is not crowded and the water is warm, but those aren’t the only perks; it is a 15 minute walk from Pousada Teju Acu (where we stayed) and from Vila dos Remédios. This is one of the best beaches for surfers (as you can see above) there were some pretty killer waves but definitely more manageable than some of the other surf spots. While I am all for exploring the wilderness of uncharted territories having infrastructure in place has its perks and it is one of the reasons we liked this beach so much: Bar Duda Rei. They have the best music around the island, great food, rent chairs/ umbrellas and come on who doesn’t want to shower under the palm trees while on the beach?! It’s also a decent sized beach so you can walk the beach, or scale over the rocks when the tide is low to the Praia do Boldró home to Bar do Meio the best beach bar on the island. Can you spot me in the picture below??
Praia de Atalaia, if you want to explore this beach you must make arrangements 10 days in advance for a guided tour as they only allow 30 people a day to explore this beach. Unfortunately we didn’t get to explore this one;/
Praia do Cachorro, The dog’s (Cachorro) beach lies below the P (totally worth exploring) and right of the Bar do Cachorro, the islands discotheque. It has its name from the huge rock on the left, that can easily be recognized as a sleeping dog. There is a natural pool, the “Buraco do Galego”, in the rock at the right border of the beach.
Praia do Americano, got its name from another cruise missile surveillance base of the US army during the cold war. Until 1989 it was a military base and not allowed to be entered by the islanders. There is a fort and bar at the top of the mountain, spectacular for sunset drinks.