10 Things to do in Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha: what's so interesting about this island and what can I do while in there? Well, you came to the right pla...

Fernando de Noronha: what's so interesting about this island and what can I do while in there? Well, you came to the right place! On this list I will be guiding you through what to do in Noronha, Brazil. From sunset watching to hiking, snorkelling and diving, read our selected 10 things to do in this beautiful Island.

10 Things to do in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

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Last updated: March 2021

If you're reading this post you're probably convinced that Fernando de Noronha is one of the most beautiful places in Brazil, and you are dying to visit it. But... what exactly can you do in the island? This post will answer your questions :)
Fernando de Noronha is an ideal holiday destination to relax and enjoy the beach life, along with exciting aquatic activities and amazing food. Watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in your life and swim close to the wonderful sea life in the clear crystal waters of Noronha.

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1) Ilha Tour

Probably the most popular attraction in Noronha, Ilha tour is something I would highly recommend you to do on your first day in the island, regardless of if you have a limited time to stay (then you would have even more reasons to do the tour) or not.
This is a whole day tour on a 4x4 around the island, showing you about 80% of what the island has to offer, and giving you a short time to appreciate each place, so you get the chance to see as much as possible. You will be taken to some places with an interesting history, swim in most of the beaches you will visit, snorkel in some others, and there will also be a stop for lunch at a restaurant. The visit generally includes the following attractions: Projeto Tamar, Leรฃo Beach, Morro Dois Irmรฃos viewpoint, Sancho Beach, Shark Museum, Caeira Beach, Sรฃo Pedro Chapel, Cacimba do Padre Beach, Pig's Bay, Sรฃo Pedro do Boldrรณ Fort and a sunset watch at one of the points in this list. The order of stops can be slightly different depending on weather and on the company that you do the tour with and some places I mentioned above might not be included on your tour.
Most of the time, the guide will pick you up from your hostel/hotel.

Remember that the goal of the tour is to show what the island has to offer and take the visitors to as many sites as possible, so this is not an attraction to relax and spend quality time on each place. That being said, you will be able to know exactly on which places you want to spend more time after you have visited them during the Ilha Tour.

I did my Ilha Tour with Noronha Passeios and I loved it. They did the opposite route of other agencies so we wouldn't be surrounded by other groups, and most of the time, we were the only group on each site (it was also low season, but there were many more groups doing Ilha Tour on that day). The route was well thought, the guide was very friendly and exceptional, and I can only say good things about them! We watched the sunset at Cacimba do Padre Beach and they offered to take me to a shop before my hostel since I was a bit away from the centre. Initially, I chose them exactly because they had a discounted package where I paid R$330 for both Ilha Tour and Boat Tour (will explain below on this post) instead of R$370 (paid individually), and I am really happy that I did.

Shark museum in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Photo taken on the structures right outside the Shark Museum, visited during the Ilha Tour

Note: if you're not doing the Ilha Tour and you like to visit Museums, you migh consider visiting the Shark Museum. Personally, I didn't find it interesting since its small, and there is very little to see, but have in mind that I am naturally not a big fan of museums, so that would be expected.

2) Beaches

Go for a swim and relax in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
There are 14 beaches in the island, all different and magical, and I am sure you will want to revisit them more than once.
Some have strict rules on equipment use, and some may only be visited during low time.
To help you choose the beaches you want to spend more time on, I have put together a Guide to Fernando de Noronha Beaches.

Sancho beach in Noronha seen from the sea (Boat Tour)
Sancho beach seen from the sea (Boat Tour)

3) Swim, dive and snorkel

You can't visit Fernando de Noronha without doing what the island offers the best: swimming, scuba diving, free diving, snorkeling. The sea life in Fernando de Noronha is amazing, and you can expect to see sharks, turtles, lots of different fishes and even rays.
The blue crystal waters of the island are one of the best to dive in, and are so clear, that in some places, you might be able to spot some species even without submerging.
Fernando de Noronha is also the perfect place to do diving for the first time, so if you have been waiting for an opportunity to start, wait no more. And don't worry if you don't have diving or snorkeling equipment with you, as you can order all sorts of equipment in different spots at the island.

The best places for snorkeling are (marked in green on the map above):
  • Porto de Santo Antonio Beach - for calm waters, a very good diversity and exploring parts of a ship wreck
  • Sancho Beach - one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in the island
  • Atalaia Beach - very well preserved tide pool, where you will be able to see beautiful reefs and some species you generally don't see anywhere else in the island, such as octopus and moray eels
  • Pigs Bay Beach - good for snorkeling only on low tide and dangerous on high tide. Because of it's rocks, you will not only enjoy the life under water, but also above water (crabs)
  • Sudeste Beach - the best snorkeling location to spot turtles (and of course, the baby sharks)

4) Boat tour

Boat tour is another indispensable activity, specially if you like dolphins. You can get really close to them, and see different sites of the island from the sea. There is no guarantee that they will show during your tour, but the probability is high (more than 90%). Generally, the males gather around the boat to attract the visitors and get their attention, protecting the female and the babies.
The boat tour often include about 1h stop for diving (on our tour, we stopped at Sancho Beach).
You will also visit other attractions such as Ponta da Sapata and Rugido do Leรฃo cave, from where you can hear a surprising sound caused by the water hitting the walls of the cave.
You can expect the tour to take about 3 to 4 hours, an they generally depart in the morning, from Santo Antonio Harbour.
Prices will vary according to the duration of the tour and agency you book yours with. As I mentioned above, I did my tour with Noronha Passeios, buying a package with Ilha Tour.

Be prepared for motion sickness! The waves are strong, the boat moves constantly up and down, and it's quite common to feel unwell. At the beginning of the tour, they advise you to vomit to the ocean if you need to. I had to fight with my own body through the last bit of the tour to be strong until we would reach the harbour and land my feet on solid ground ๐Ÿคข Fortunately my breakfast didn't have to meet the ocean ๐Ÿ˜†

Photo taken on our Boat Tour, in front of Ponta da Sapata, Noronha
Photo taken on our Boat Tour, in front of Ponta da Sapata (and no, at this time I wasn't sick yet ๐Ÿ˜†)

5) Go for a hike (and visit beautiful tide pools)

A hike, in a beach destination? Yes, you heard me well, a hike. If you have read my guide to Fernando de Noronha beaches, you already know that Atalaia Beach can only be reached with a short or long hike, but that isn't the only place you need to hike to get to. There are few other tide pools such as Morro de Fora and Enseada dos Abreus, where you will be rewarded with the beauty of nature, after a bit of a walk to get there. But trust me, they will all be worth it.
I wrote a guide on all hikes and tide pools available in the island to help you better understand what they offer and decide which ones to do on THIS post.

Lasca da Velha, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Lasca da Velha, one of the tide pools you can visit on low tide, from Cachorro Beach

    6) Watch a (many) beautiful sunset(s)

    Sunset watching is one of the top things to do in Fernando de Noronha. You can watch the sunset from many places in the island, but the more popular ones are Nossa Senhora dos Remรฉdios Fort and Sรฃo Pedro do Boldrรณ Fort. I only had two days in the island and the first day was cloudy, so only got the chance to experience one sunset in my Ilha Tour, that was admired from Cacimba do Padre Beach, and it was beauuuuutiful!

    Beautiful sunset at Cacimba do Padre beach, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
    Beautiful sunset at Cacimba do Padre beach

    7) Projecto Tamar

    Projeto Tamar has different projects to protect the sea life and the environment in the island. They often provide free talks at night, and you can be up close when they feed and do check ups on the turtles.
    When you visit the ICMBio centre to book your trails and get your card (I explain all about this on THIS post), take the chance to also visit the Projeto Tamar (right next to it), and inform yourself about their activities, so you can plan your trip and include some of these in your itinerary if you would like.
    projeto tamar - turtle at boldrรณ, Noronha, Brazil
    Projeto Tamar it's a super important organization when it comes to the turtles protection in the island (*)

    8) NAVI tour

    Fernando de Noronha used to have a NAVE Tour, a great option for those who don't want/can't swim or are with kids. This was a boat with a wide amplifier lens located at the bottom, from where you could see the sea life. This tour is no longer available, but there is now a new boat, named NAVI, bigger and modern, also offering sub aquatic vision, and a better service. Unfortunately, their site is only available in Portuguese and their e-mail is not working too, so I start to wonder if this is also unavailable.

    navi tour website
    Home page of https://projetonavi.com.br/

    9) Go on a canoe tour (Canoa Havaiana)

    Canoeing will give you a different perspective of the island, while you enjoy this wonderful water activity. You have 90% of chances to be really close to many dolphins, specially on the early morning tours. The tour starts at the harbour, and in most cases, there will be one or more stops to enjoy snorkelling.
    canoeing at sunset time in Noronha, Brazil
    Canoeing at sunset in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil*

    10) PlanaSub (tow dive)

    Why not trying something different? Interesting and effortless, speedy snorkeling? Planasub is an activity where you hold on to a board that is pushed by a speedboat, while you observe the sea life with your snorkeling equipment. The tours depart from the harbour.


    Luxurious hotels and guest houses: Pousada MaravilhaColina Pousada SPA and Teju-Aรงu Ecopousada
    Budget travel hotels/apartments/guest houses: Noronha 350, Casa da AlbertinaMartinelli Residence and Fulรด de Mandacaru
    Budget travel hostels: Boldro Surf House (where I stayed at. You can read about it HERE), Sueste Hostel, Hostel Estrela de Noronha, Estaรงรฃo Noronha Hostel and Doce Lar Hostel Noronha    



    Hope you enjoyed this list and had plenty of good ideas on how to spend your days in Fernando de Noronha! Have a wonderful day and week ❤

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