Top 8 Experiences: Fernando de Noronha
For those who have never heard of it, the small island of Fernando de Noronha, 200 miles off the coast of Recife in Northeastern Brazil, may not roll off the tongue easily, but it sure is easy on the eyes. In a country that boasts over 4500 miles of coastline – darn near all of it the prettiest you ever did see – Noronha stands out as a paradise in paradise. Brazilians equate it with Heaven itself.
Here are eight experiences that will leave you feeling you’ve died and gone there! In no particular order, of course, it would be cruel to choose favorites.
- Climb the 70m ladder down though tight rock walls to Baía do Sancho, consistently ranked the No. 1 most beautiful beach in Brazil.
- Enjoy a meal with a view at Restaurante Mergulhão, which sits perched above the port in one of the island’s highest points. We’d suggest the Peixe Crocante (crunchy fish) and Banana Mil Folhas dessert, but hey, that’s just us.
- Sit back with a caipirinha while the sun settles over Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers), the island’s iconic set of near-identical volcanic rock formations, at the island’s top sunset spot, Boldró Fort. Better yet, ditch the crowd and walk out to the tip of nearby Pedro do Bode, a small outcrop where you can enjoy the miraculous sunset solo from the water.
- Witness the opening of a Green Sea Turtle nest, one of the most humbling, jaw-dropping, sweetest, most astonishing sites you will ever see in your life (March to June only).
- Declare yourself a moqueca connoisseur and eat your way through the island’s best versions of it: At Varanda, at Ekologikus (Estrada Velha do Sueste), at Tricolor (Villa dos Três Paus). Don’t know what a moqueca is? A lovely seafood stew cooked in a traditional clay pot with onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and African palm oil (dendê) and coconut milk (known as moqueca Bahiana) or olive oil instead (known as moqueca Capixaba), served over rice. Culinary salvation!
- Hike to Capim-Açú, a 7km trail to the island’s most secluded southern point where much of its original tropical Atlantic forest remains intact.
- Dive down 50m to explore the sunken Corveta Ipiranga, a Brazilian Navy corvette sunk in 1983.
- Watch the inner and outer seas collide in a whirlpool of 50 shades of blue from Capela de São Pedro, a small chapel on the northeast edge of the island.
LATAM Airlines Group operates 35 flights per week between Miami, New York and Orlando to São Paulo. TAM Airlines operate domestic flights to Recife or Natal, from where you can catch the final leg to Fernando de Noronha.