Fernando de Noronha: Remote, Wild and Beautiful


Fernando de Noronha: Remote, Wild and Beautiful

“Oh… You’re going to Fernando de Noronha? That’s a dream for every Brazilian.”

Fernando de Noronha, Praia Cacimba do Padre

Fernando de Noronha, Praia Cacimba do Padre

I heard this countless times when I was traveling in Brazil and long before reaching this remote island I was curious and wondering why it appeared to be such a coveted destination.

Fernando de Noronha, Ilha do Frade

Fernando de Noronha, Ilha do Frade

Remoteness certainly accounts for the fascination but there’s much more to Fernando de Noronha’s charm.

Discovered in 1503 by a Portuguese expedition including the Italian explorer, navigator and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci, the archipelago is about 340 km (211 miles) from the Brazilian coast and because of its isolation the Portuguese did not care much about the island until 1737, when their presence became more apparent and permanent.

Fernando de Noronha, Spectacular Baia do Sancho

Fernando de Noronha, Spectacular Baia do Sancho

Nevertheless, the distance from the coast and the difficult access to the archipelago allowed it to stay mostly untamed, preserving a very interesting ecosystem that owed Fernando de Noronha the inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

Fernando de Noronha: not the usual luxury beach destination

Fernando de Noronha, Mar de Fora

Fernando de Noronha, Mar de Fora

Forget the Maldives’ luxury resorts  (certainly beautiful albeit often – at least in my opinion – a little ‘artificial’).

Since water, fuel and electricity are scarce and real estate development has been tightly controlled, most accommodation on the island are simple pousadas (or local guesthouses) and there are only a few more upscale hotels but certainly not comparable to what you would usually find in a luxury hotel chain or resort.

For the same reasons, as well as because of its remoteness and the strict limitation in the number of visitors allowed, Fernando de Noronha is an expensive destination.

Fernando de Noronha Mar de Fora

Fernando de Noronha, Mar de Fora

That’s also what makes this island so special. Nature, breathtaking beaches, a laid-back atmosphere and total chill-out.

The pousada where I was staying – like, I think, most of them – was simple but clean and I had what I consider one of the best possible treats: my personal hammock hanging in the porch, where I spent hours reading a good book or just taking a nap, lulled by the rhythmic rocking and the sound of the wind.

Fernando de Noronha, Turquoise Baia dos Porcos

Fernando de Noronha, Turquoise Baia dos Porcos

I experienced a similar concept of luxury – not based on expensive things or service, but on exclusivity and remoteness – the following year in Los Roques, the awesome Venezuelan archipelago with its turquoise, crystal-clear waters. And I knew, once for all, that secluded places, with limited people, are what I call the ultimate luxury.

Noronha… Sunset galore!

I still have to meet a person who doesn’t like sunsets, and Fernando de Noronha treated me almost every night with beautiful views at dusk.

Fernando de Noronha, Baia do Sancho at Sunset

Fernando de Noronha, Baia do Sancho at Sunset

The colours were not as bright as I experienced in Indonesia (I’ll never forget a red sunset in Siladen with colours so vivid to seem unreal); rather the landscape transformed in a palette of smooth and delicate shades of orange, pink and purple. Less intense, perhaps, but so dreamy.

One of my favourite spots was the esplanade overlooking the breathtaking Baia do Sancho, one of the best beaches of the island only accessible by steps carved in the stones and a steep ladder fixed on the cliff, or by sea.

Thinking of Noronha, and feeling blessed

Fernando de Noronha, Baia do Sueste

Fernando de Noronha, Baia do Sueste

Every time I think back at my time in this amazing island, I feel blessed and grateful. At that time I still had a corporate job and could afford – albeit with an effort – to discover such a breathtaking place.

Fernando de Noronha is not for everyone, I won’t deny it, for it’s remote and expensive. But if you ever get the chance to treat yourself with a special trip, this is not your usual beach resort.


Hot to get to Fernando de Noronha:

By plane: There are daily flights from Natal and Recife to Fernando de Noronha, operated by the airlines Azul and Gol (data as of July 2014, but you better check as things may change over time). An alternative is to buy a full package from a tour operator, including flights, accommodation and other on-site activities.

Tip: In case of bad weather, flights to and from Noronha airport might be cancelled. Allow at least one spare day, especially if you have an international/intercontinental flight back in economy class.

Getting around: The roads are very limited and the best way to explore the island is by hiring a buggy (and you’ll have a lot of fun!). There are also public minibus but these only drive along the main paved road.


Noronha Map






Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

  • Bruno B @ Geeky Explorer
    Posted at 19:54h, 28 February Reply

    Damn this place looks amazing!
    Can I ask about costs? How much did the flight cost?

    • Simon
      Posted at 18:09h, 07 January Reply

      It really is a special place, Bruno. Unfortunately, it’s also very expensive, since they limit the number of visitors per day to preserve the island. I don’t remember how much the flight cost (I took so many in Brazil!), but it definitely was not cheap.

  • Sand In My Suitcase
    Posted at 06:32h, 17 August Reply

    As you know, luxury isn’t just about the thread-count of the sheets or the designer shampoos. Remoteness and exclusivity count for a lot! We think we’d be happy in staying at a charming pousada (there are lovely ones in Portugal) set in wild surroundings like Fernando de Noronha :-). (And we’ve flown to Los Roques in a tiny seaplane for a day sailing trip – so awesome and memorable.)

  • Andy
    Posted at 04:42h, 25 July Reply

    Sorry Simon, I called you Ted! It was a very early morning for me. And yes, great snaps too.

    • Simon Falvo
      Posted at 22:10h, 25 July Reply

      LOL! Well… Ted is a nice name 🙂

  • Noah
    Posted at 04:30h, 25 July Reply

    Wow … that island is quite far away from the coast, and with views like that, it’s a miracle that it hasn’t gotten developed into a luxury playground. I hope to make it there next year!

  • Dale
    Posted at 16:28h, 03 July Reply

    Outstanding shots throughout, but that shot of the sunset at Baia do Sancho is incredible, you’re really captured the moment perfectly.

  • Andy
    Posted at 00:09h, 03 July Reply

    Cool post Ted, had never heard of Fernando de Noronha before. All that peace and isolation sounds nice. The Portuguese are an adventurous lot. And you got to the reputedly mysterious Los Roques too! Places I may never reach…

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