20 Best Things to Do in Fernando de Noronha (Brazil)

baia dos porcos

Do you want to visit and spend your summer (or winter) break at one of the last detached corners in the world?

Due to its exceptional natural beauty, which combines rich flora and fauna, fantastic beaches, azure sea and favorable climate, Fernando de Noronha is one of the most exciting and attractive holiday destinations in Brazil.

Considered to be the safest destination to visit in Brazil, the archipelago, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, is located in the South Atlantic, about 354 kilometers off the coast of Rio Grande to Norte.

The main center of attraction here is the main island, which bears the name of the archipelago.

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Due to the regulated number of visitors and strict measures, Fernando de Noronha is an example of sustainable development.

If you have already decided to spend a few days on the island, you need a list with the best things to do and best places to visit. But where to start from?

1. Go to Morro Dois Irmãos

morro dois irmãos
Morro Dois Irmãos by Dirlei Dionísio/Flickr

Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Rock) is a rock formation of volcanic origin.

It stands right off the north coast of Fernando de Noronha, near the popular Baía dos Porcos and Praia da Cacimba do Padre (which is among the largest beaches on the island).

Morro Dois Irmãos consists of two completely identical black rocks and is a dramatic background of the fantastic golden beach of Cacimba do Padre.

The rocks are clearly pointed at the top. A small part of their surface is covered with green vegetation.

2. Visit the most beautiful beach in the world

Situated in a beautiful and secluded bay on the northern coast of Fernando de Noronha, Sancho Beach is considered to be the best beach on the island.

Moreover, according to the authoritative website TripAdvisor, this beach is considered the best in the world.

Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, it offers 500 meters of superb golden sand.

The sea water is emerald green and crystal clear, and the ocean temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius.

The water is extremely transparent, and the visibility under the sea surface can reach up to 40 – 50 meters in quiet and windless weather.

Sancho Beach is an attractive place for swimming, diving, snorkeling and relaxing.

3. Snorkeling at Baía dos Porcos

baía dos porcos
Baía dos Porcos by GTSA South America/Flickr

Baía dos Porcos is a beautiful and clear azure bay with underwater visibility of between 40 and 50 meters.

It is located right next to the east of the popular Sancho Beach.

This place combines black volcanic coastal cliffs, emerald vegetation and golden sands.

Baía dos Porcos is considered to be the most attractive snorkeling spot along the island’s north coast.

Its turquoise waters are very smooth.

There are also interesting rock formations which act as a magnet to numerous local marine inhabitants.

4. Go to Capela de São Pedro dos Navegantes

capela de são pedro
Capela de São Pedro by Dante Laurini Jr/Wikimedia

Capela de São Pedro dos Navegantes is a small whitewashed chapel located on the barren slopes of a peninsula in the eastern part of the island.

The temple is smaller than you can imagine but attracts a lot of visitors.

The chapel is probably the most preferred venue for wedding ceremonies on the island of Fernando de Noronha.

The constant refreshing wind makes this place extremely pleasant and relaxing.

5. Visit Praia do Meio

While in Fernando de Noronha, be sure to visit Do Meio Beach or as they call it here – Praia do Meio.

Due to its location, this is probably one of the most easily accessible beaches on the island.

It is located just north of Vila dos Remédios (the main settlement on the island) and is easily reachable in just a few minutes of slow pace walking.

The beach is known for its 400 meters long stretch of fine golden sand.

6. Visit the Shark Museum

shark museum
Shark Museum by Rosanetur/Flickr

Fernando de Noronha is known mainly for its beautiful nature and biodiversity, especially when it comes to the ocean.

It is therefore not surprising that among the main attractions of the island is the Shark Museum.

Located in an area with breathtaking panorama in the eastern part of the island, the Shark Museum is free.

Here you can learn more about one of the most ancient predators on the planet.

Here you will also find a wonderful little cafe as well as a shop to buy souvenirs from this lovely island.

7. Explore Baía dos Golfinhos

baía dos golfinhos
Baía dos Golfinhos by Fred Schinke/Flickr

Baía dos Golfinhos (or Dolphins Bay in English) is a beautiful bay located on the northern coast in the western part of the island.

The name of the bay is not accidentally chosen. Here you can find large groups of dolphins, which find this place especially tempting.

The sapphire blue seas are some of the cleanest in the Atlantic, and the variety of fish is a great source of food for dolphins.

This is why the bay is an ideal habitat for these highly intelligent creatures.

The coastal slopes in this part of Fernando de Noronha are steep and covered with tropical vegetation.

Generally, the place is difficult to access and most of the visitors come with tourist boats.

8. Posing for a photo as Neptune or as a mermaid

neptune and the mermaid
Neptune and the Mermaid by Rosanetur/Flickr

Do not miss to take a few pictures of yourself posing as a mermaid or as the God of the freshwaters and the sea.

You can do that while visiting the Shark Museum, in the western part of the island.

A picture like this would be a nice souvenir from the island, and in addition the throne of the sea god and the mermaid fin are situated on a special place which reveals a breathtaking panorama in the background.

9. Go to the ruins of Fort Santana

the ruins of fort santana
The ruins of Fort Santana by Carlos Luis M C da Cruz/Wikipedia

Fernando de Noronha is not very rich in historical remains but there are some and you should definitely visit all of them.

The ruins of Fort Santana (known as Reduto de Santana, Parque de Santana or Reduto do Armazém) are located in the northern part of the island.

The structure was created in the second half of the 18th century and then expanded in the first half of the 19th century.

Nowadays, you can see only ruins of the fort, most of which has been gradually conquered by the lush tropical vegetation.

10. Enjoy some birdwatching

Since most of the territory of the island has been declared a protected area, Fernando de Noronha is a favorite spot for nature lovers.

Despite being mostly famous for its world class beaches and great coral reefs, there are many other activities to enjoy.

Birdwatching is one of most recommended things to do on the island.

Here you can find approximately 65 species of birds, two of which are endemic.

Most of them live in the rainforest and you will need some patience to find and see them.

11. Diving along the coast and exploring the rich fauna

sea turtle and coral reef
Sea turtle and coral reef by Chris “Chrigel” Karrer/Flickr

Sea turtles, humpback whales, sharks and colorful fish are just a small part of the great underwater biodiversity along the coast of the island.

Actually, Fernando de Noronha is where you can find the largest variety of corals along the shores of Brazil.

Around the island you can find 15 separate coral reefs that offer a truly spectacular variety of species.

The visibility underwater is about 50 meters so you can take a great collection of pictures if you are into underwater photography.

12. Visit the Fort of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios

the fort of nossa senhora dos remédios
The Fort of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios by YouTube

The Fort of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios is an important defensive structure, built in the 18th century.

It is situated on the top of a hill, right next to the shore and north of the village Vila dos Remédios.

Nowadays, the fortress is the most important man-made tourist attraction to visit.

An additional bonus of your walk to the fortress is the panoramic view which the hill reveals in front of you.

This is also one of the best places to observe Morro do Pico (the highest peak on the island).

13. Go to Conceição Beach

conceição beach
Conceição Beach by dronepicr/Flickr

Conceição Beach (or Praia da Conceição) is one of the best stretches of sand on the island.

Like most of the other beaches, It is located on the northern coast too and is one of the most popular with tourists.

With the pointed Morro do Pico to the southwest, the beach is the most exotic on the island.

With its emerald crystal clear waters, it attracts both swimmers and surfers.

Being quite long and vast, the beach is never crowded.

14. Explore the flora of the island

the interior of the island
The interior of the island by Paulo Henrique/Flickr

Despite its relatively small total area of only 17.017 square kilometers, the island is home to 15 endemic species of plants (it means that they cannot be found elsewhere).

Most of the forests were cleared in the 19th century.

However, in modern days the island is covered with beautiful secondary forests.

In addition, here you will find a number of wonderful flowering plants and shrubs.

A walk through the interior of Fernando de Noronha is a unique experience.

The wealth of plant species is by no means inferior to the variety of marine life.

While walking around the island, don’t forget your camera because there is a lot to see.

15. Go to Praia do Leão

Situated on the southern shore of the island, Praia do Leão is a beautiful beach which combines golden sands and black volcanic stones at some parts.

It is one of the most detached on the island.

It is well known for its large ocean waves and constant refreshing wind.

It stretches for more than half a kilometer.

The surrounding hills are covered with green grassy vegetation and shrubs.

16. Go to Praia do Sueste

Praia do Sueste or Sueste Beach is a beautiful sheltered bay on the southeast coast of the island.

It is considered the best beach to visit on the southern coast of the island of Fernando de Noronha.

This part of the island is wild and more deserted. If you are searching for some privacy and solitude, you will find Praia do Sueste really enjoyable.

Despite being well known for its bigger waves, the southern coast has some exceptions.

The emerald waters in the bay remain relatively quiet even on windy days.

17. Explore the main village Vila dos Remédios

vila dos remédios
Vila dos Remédios by Crystian Cruz/Flickr

Bathed in sunshine and lush vegetation, Vila dos Remédios is the island’s main settlement.

With a population of just over 3000 inhabitants, the village is extremely quiet and peaceful, but at the same time, it concentrates all services and business on the island.

There are some very beautiful buildings here, including the Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios church and the Municipal Government Building.

Walking around the small town is a very relaxing experience and an important part of your visit to the island.

18. Surfing at Cacimba do Padre

surfing at cacimba do padre
Surfing at Cacimba do Padre by Crystian Cruz/Flickr

Cacimba do Padre is a very beautiful place, which is a real surfing paradise.

In fact, it is considered by many to be one of the best surfing destinations not only in Latin America but in the Atlantic as a whole.

Located on the island’s northern coast, Cacimba do Padre offers the best of Fernando de Noronha, including turquoise waters, golden sands, plenty of sunshine and lush vegetation in the area.

As the island is located not far from the equator, the weather conditions usually remain almost unchanged over the year.

However, if you want to make the most of the holiday, the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere (approximately between December and March-April) is perfect for you.

19. Cross the island from north to south

atalaia trail
Atalaia Trail by Paulo Henrique/Flickr

The width of the island from north to south varies between 2 and 3 kilometers on average, making it ideal for a long but not too tiring walk.

The trails pass through spectacular landscapes, covered with lush tropical vegetation.

Among the most popular tourist routes is the Atalaia Trail, which crosses the island from north to south in its eastern part.

Although, according to some tourists, the route is described as difficult and dangerous, it is actually worth the adventure.

The trail ends at Atalaia Beach, a place known for its spectacular underwater diversity and one of the top spots to snorkel in Fernando de Noronha.

20. Explore the area of Morro do Pico

the area of morro do pico
The area of Morro do Pico by Roberto Faccenda/Flickr

Rising steeply over the Atlantic, Morro do Pico is one of the symbols of Fernando de Noronha and is what makes the island so easily recognizable.

With its height of 323 meters, the volcanic formation dominates the landscape of the island and is visible from every part of it.

If you want to climb the peak, you should hire an experienced local tourist guide.

The tourist trails that lead to the top are scenic but steep and at some points the level of difficulty is quite high.

Depending on your fitness level, you can reach the top or only the middle of the road, but for sure, the experience is worth it.

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