How do we start by describing this isolated island? There are so many different aspects to it that it’s hard to begin! We have to start by saying that we absolutely loved our stay here, not only because of the amazing atmosphere that reigns on this island around New Year’s eve, but also because it’s such a unique place, different from anything we’ve seen before.
1. It has a striking geology
If you ever see a postcard on Fernando de Noronha you will understand what we mean. The island is part of a volcanic archipelago, which has created special rock formations around the island. There is one rock in particular ‘the pico’, which sticks out of the horizon as if it’s growing towards the sky. It creates some very dramatic scenes which of course we had to capture with our camera.
2. It is home to pristine and undeveloped beaches
Even though it’s a volcanic island, the beaches surrounding the island have yellow goldish sand, each more beautiful than the other one. Most beaches have wild blue waves creating the perfect playground for surfers. Our favourite beaches were the following ones:
- Praia do Sancho: it’s a bit of a walk to get there, and you’ll have to climb down a ladder to access the beach but it’s definitely worth the effort!
- Praia de Leao: a very long and wild beach, usually almost completely deserted
- Praia de Bode: another less crowded beach which has beautiful rock formations at one end
3. Only a limited number of people are allowed on the island every day
Around 500 people are allowed on the island every day. This rule has been implemented to preserve the island’s natural landscapes and to conserve the ecosystem that thrives here! An amazing consequence of this is that the island doesn’t feel crowded at all! Not even during the busy end of year period. There are no big hotel chains or restaurants; everything is small, cute and cozy!
4. Visitors have to pay a fixed ‘nature tax’ per day and a one off ‘Marine National Park entry fee’
The nature tax is mandatory and you have to pay for it when you arrive in the airport. It starts at 45 Rs (= 10 EUR) per day (but degressive per day if you stay longer) and serves to protect the island.
The Marine National Park entry fee only has to be paid if you visit any of the beaches in the National Park or if you go on a boat tour. We highly recommend you do this as the most beautiful beaches are in the National Park. You will pay R$178 (=42 EUR) and it is valid for 10 days.
5. It’s 1 hour flying from the mainland
And to Camille’s delight, this is usually a quite bumpy flight! For some reason there is often quite a lot of turbulence on this flight but not to worry, this is normal!
6. It’s not the cheapest place in Brazil
This is probably the only downside of the island. Going to Fernando de Noronha comes at a cost. First the flights to and from the island are not cheap, and on the island itself hotels and restaurants are significantly more expensive than on the mainland. You will struggle to find a room for less than 100 EUR per night and you can expect to pay European prices for food.
7. The main mode of transport is a Buggy
And this is SO MUCH FUN!!! You can go with 5 people in a buggy and the best seat is up on the trunk in the back, hands in the air and hair in the wind!
8. The atmosphere is suuuuper relaxed!
Everything happens at one pace slower than on the mainland in Noronha. People take their time to relax and enjoy, and everybody has a smile on their face. There’s always some Brazilian music in the background and an endless supply of coronas and caipirinhas.
9. It’s visited by the beautiful people of Brazil
All of the above make this island one of the most desired places in Brazil!
10. It’s simply AMAZING to celebrate New Year’s eve!
We thought Belgian people knew how to party, until we saw how it works in Brazil 😊 They celebrate New Year’s eve for AN ENTIRE WEEK! So on top of a spectacular New Year’s Eve party, there are parties on pretty much every day before and after the big day.
- O Pico: Amazing seafood and great location in town
- Veranda: Delicious food, we particularly loved the Mocequa!
- Restaurante Cacimba
- Bar do Meio: and even if you don’t drink you have to pay a visit to this beach bar for it’s amazing view on the pico
- Colina Pousada Spa: More upper scale and expensive but has spectacular views on the island
- Pousada Solar das Andorinhas: cheaper alternative. Little pousada very well kept and great location in town (so close to food options) and walking distance of the beach!