Amazing places: Fernando de Noronha

Erika De Paz

Only those who visit Fernando de Noronha can be certain they have been in Paradise. This volcanic archipelago constitutes one of the most amazing corners of the world, a Latin American destination able to turn skeptics into believers. Those who have the opportunity to swim in its crystalline waters, sink their feet in the golden sand and marvel at the impressive green of its foliage, just know that its creation was the work of a higher being.

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From any point in this wonderful place, you can see Morro do Pico, an enormous rock that stands high on the main island, and which changes its shape and colors depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Additionally, there are other smaller peaks that turn the site into a huge mystery of surprising marine fauna. This region, located in the Atlantic Ocean, is named after a wealthy Portuguese man who, ironically, never went to the island but contributed financially to the venture of many expeditions.

World Heritage Site

Fernando de Noronha is located in Pernambuco, a coastal state to the northeast of Brazil. This volcanic 21 island archipelago has an extension of 26 square kilometers. A part of this majestic place constitutes an area of environmental preservation. It was declared a Marine National Park in 1988 and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

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It may seem impossible to imagine that this place full of magic was, long ago, a prison which ran for 200 years. The majority of the islands that make up this natural monument are dedicated to scientific research. Only the largest of the islands, which bears the same name as the archipelago, is inhabited. The infrastructure there is pretty simple: some inns, one or two restaurants, a small airport and many natural viewpoints. The other islands were declared protected areas by the government and therefore remain uninhabited.

The beaches that can be found on this paradise not only invite to us to swim for hours on end, until shriveling like a prune; we can enjoy other activities, especially diving. The island offers a variety of places to dive, depending on the level of difficulty you desire. Those who prefer something less risky can snorkel and swim between shoals of fish and stingrays.

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Surfing is another option. For this, it’s best to visit the archipelago from December to February. Praia da Cacimba do Padre is perfect for those who ride the waves on a surfboard.

But Fernando de Noronha doesn’t only offer water activities in the sea. You can take walks and hike through beautiful places, and even hire a local guide to learn a little bit more about the history of the park, like the ruins in Vila dos Remédios, or the ecological trails of Jardim Elizabeth.

Baia do Sancho, the most famous beach of all

It would seem ungrateful to choose a beach among all those that exist in Fernando de Noronha, but Baia do Sancho is considered the best and most beautiful beach in Brazil; even one of the world’s best beaches. Brazilians are not the only ones who agree on this matter. According to Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, this beach is currently the second beach best beach in the world, and before that, it headed the list as number one for two consecutive years.

This wonderful place, surrounded by a giant stone wall is pure fantasy: the turquoise color of its waters, its white sands, and beautiful vegetation make this place “utopian”, the closest to perfection.

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Baia do Sancho is an ideal location to find peace. Its waters are warm, calm and without waves. The marine life is amazing, ideal for diving or snorkeling: you can marvel swimming among fish of every color, dolphins, turtles and even sharks. Contrary to what one may think, this place is not crowded with tourists: access to Baia do Sancho is difficult. It can only be reached by boat or from a path in the middle of the jungle, going down a metal staircase through 50 meters of stone cliffs.

But don’t worry: this is not the only beach in Fernando de Noronha. Visitors can go to other more accessible beaches in the archipelago. Baía dos Porcos has beautiful natural stone swimming pools, and Praia de Leao, with easy access, is wonderful if you want to see turtles. For those who wish to enjoy the sunset, the best choice is Praia do Boldro, with its viewpoint where people gather to watch the sunset.

A secluded and exclusive destination

Being a Marine National Park, the visitors must pay a fee for environmental preservation, destined for the maintenance of the ecological conditions. Fares are expensive, but it is undoubtedly worth the price if you consider you are almost literally entering paradise on Earth. The government controls entrance to avoid swarming crowds of tourists; in fact, only 420 visitors are allowed in the Park per day.

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Thanks to places like this, you can feel the existence of a greater power, be it nature, God, the universe or however you want to call it. If you want to feel like you’re inside a postcard, you must visit this secluded corner of the planet considered by some as the most spectacular location ever. Put simply, it is a magical location, impossible to describe it with words. A gift of nature where the combination of colors is more than perfect; a small piece of heaven that will leave you breathless.