All you need to know about Fernando de Noronha

If you want to have a smooth holiday, there is a lot that you need to know before you visit the VIP island in Brazil: Noronha. On this po...

If you want to have a smooth holiday, there is a lot that you need to know before you visit the VIP island in Brazil: Noronha. On this post, I wrote about everything you need to know on Fernando de Noronha - when to visit, how to get there, where to stay, how many days in the island, what to do and much more.

View towards Morro Dois Irmaos in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

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Last updated: March 2021

About the island
How to get to the island
When to visit the island
How many days in the island
Where to stay
How to commute in the island
What to do
How much will I spend
What to bring

About the island

Fernando de Noronha is famous for its stunning beaches, and amazing sealife. It's one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and a popular destination for snorkeling and diving. You can swim with sharks, rays, turtles and many different species of fish.
It's popularity goes beyond it's beauty, and extends to it's prices and fees. Many Brazilians dream to visit this place that is often a luxurious holiday to many celebrities.
The conservation and management of the island is quite strict to protect the ecosystem. In some beaches, you can only enter the water with a vest, to protect the corals. Plastic is mostly prohibited in the island, and crabs are preserved: eating, catching or killing them it's a crime, and you can get fined with R$ 3000-5000.

The timezone is 1+ hour from Recife, and for some reason, some phones do not automatically change (mine didn't, and it always does). When visiting the island, have that in mind so that you don't miss your tours, nor your flights.
*Something I will never understand is why, at the time I was there, there was a difference of 1h7min instead of just 1h*

Be prepared to leave your mobile phone aside and enjoy the nature. This is a perfect place for a social media detox. Internet signal is quite terrible across all island, and even places with Wi-fi don't seem to work quite well.

Also to be aware of, just like in most places in Brazil, most people won't speak English, and sometimes, even guides might struggle with communication, so be prepared for that.

There are 2 famous rock formations in the island: Morro do Pico (a high, sharp-like hill) and Morro Dois Irmรฃos (two smaller twin hills, isolated in the blue waters of the island).

Morro do Pico
Morro Dois Irmรฃos
Morro do Pico on the left and Morro Dois Irmรฃos on the right

ICMBio - If you have done some research on Fernando de Noronha, I am sure you have heard/read this word many, many, many times. You will have to understand what entity they are, why do you need to contact them and where their centre is located, if you want to have a chilled visit without any problems. The ICMBio protects and preserves the biodiversity in the island, and it's responsible for controlling the beaches and hikes. Their base is located at Boldrรณ Villa (Alameda do Bodrรณ). Here, you can book hikes that require booking (and potential payment if a guide is required. No online booking available) such as Atalaia, Abreus and Sรฃo Josรฉ, and purchase or collect (if you bought previously online) the PARNAMAR card, a card that will give you access to some beaches likes Sueste, Sancho, Leรฃo and Atalaia. It is highly advised that you make this your first stop in the island, so you can guarantee your space on booking-required activities, and you can understand what your requirements are for each of them. Times might change in the future, but the Visitors Centre is currently opened from 8am until 10pm, and self booking is available from 5pm till 9pm.

How to get to the island

You can only access the island via plane (AZUL or GOL) daily from Recife (1h15) and less frequently form Natal (1h15). Flights from Recife are cheaper than from Natal.
When reserving your seats, make sure you pick the ones on the left of the airplane, so you can see "Morro Dois Irmรฃos" on landing.
When you arrive at the island, you have to fill out a migration control form and pay for an environmental preservation fee (I explain this in detail on another blog post, where I talk about How expensive is Fernando de Noronha). Afterwards, they will ask you where you're staying at, so they can get you in the right bus. The bus is actually ran by a travel agency which of course, is interested in having people buying their packages and tours. Before they take you to your hotel/hostel, they stop at their base for a "quick" presentation, where they show you the main attractions in the map, give you an insight on the island rules, and as I said, try to get you to book tours with them.
While the bus transport is for free, if you have already arranged your deals in advance (which I highly recommend), you should consider taking a taxi to your place or to the ICMBio Centre to save you some time and boredom.

When to visit the island

The best time to visit Fernando de Noronha is August to September for a calm, flat ocean (ideal for snorkeling and floating in the water) and December to March for stronger waves (ideal for surfing and other extreme aquatic activities). New Year's Eve is a popular celebration in the island, which makes it pricey and crowded over December and January. So if you're into surfing but prefer to run from the crowds and spend less money, February to March would be an ideal time for you. July is generally a pricey month too.
Even though the weather is quite good through the year, between March and June the likelihood of rain is higher than usual. That being said, Noronha it's an island, and the weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for the possibility of rain, even if you're visiting at a different time.
If you encounter the possibility of rain, don't make it stop you from going out and enjoying what the island has to offer: wear a rain coat, choose appropriate activities such as the "boat tour" and visiting Tamar Project, and protect your camera gear, or you might ended up with a useless DSLR camera (just like it happened to me).
For low budget travellers, the cheapest time in the island, as you might guess, are the rainy months, from April to June.
Also, if you get the chance, pay attention to the tide levels as there are plenty of things you can only visit or do during low tide.

How many days in the island?

The amount of days you need in the island is completely dependant on what you want to do. If you want to enjoy all beaches and maybe visit the same spots more than once (which I am sure you will want to), and if you can afford it, you can easily spend a week in this paradise. If you want to take advantage of most activities and do some beach days, 5 days it's generally a good idea. If you are short in time, you can stay  2-3 days and you will be able to do some of the main attractions and have an idea of what the place has to offer. I was there for two days and a half and managed to visit most of the island through Ilha Tour, did a Boat Tour, and even walked along the beaches that were not included in the tour.
In summary: regardless of how many days you will stay, you will love it. You just can't get bored in this island. However, if you really want a number of days, then 5 would be ideal - specially if you want to do Atalaia beach - understand why on our guide do Fernando de Noronha beaches.

Where to stay

The most popular area to stay at is "Vila dos Remรฉdios", although you can stay at almost anywhere in the island since it's quite a small place. There are all sorts of accommodation, for all types of budget: luxury hotels with a pool and amazing views, family friendly houses converted into hotels and hostels.
You can also find some hosts listed on Couchsurfing, but only few, and most of them are inactive.
I wrote a blog post with all the details on where to stay in Fernando de Noronha. Please have a read if you're planning your stay.

How to commute in the island

There are many ways for you to commute in the island, so I will start from the cheapest, and go up to the most expensive ways.
  • By foot: as I said, it's possible to commute almost everywhere by food, and when you need to travel a bit further, bus or taxi are a good idea. Just bear in mind that without mobile signal, you won't be able to access Google Maps, unless you download the map offline (highly recommend you to do so!)
  • By bus: you can take the bus that serves the island from "Sueste" to "Harbour (Porto)" at any of the bus stops, paying R$5 cash to the driver. The bus runs every 30min, and covers most places in the island. Click here for bus route and schedule.
  • By taxi: you can call a taxi on (81) 3619-1314. In average, a journey will cost you R$20, and maximum R$40. You can check this table for a guideline on taxi's prices.
  • By buggy:  if you fancy hire a buggy, you will have to pay about R$250/day (or more) and add the R$5/litre fuel. It is an easy, and fun way to commute, but surely the most expensive and less environment friendly

What to do

I wrote a whole post on this (10 Things to do in Fernando de Noronha), but here are the main attractions: Ilha Tour, which I would recommend doing on the very first day, snorkeling, boat tour, attending a TAMAR project presentation, watching sunsets and of course, staying at the beach.

Morro do Pico
Morro Dois Irmรฃos
On the left: Stunning view to Morro Dois Irmรฃos - photo taken by our guide during Ilha Tour; On the right: Enjoying the views over the Boat Tour

How much will I spend

Not everyone can afford visiting Fernando de Noronha, and so, often this is a dream island for most Brazilians, and a holiday resort to wealthy people and celebrities. I wrote a complete guide on all expected expenses in the island to help you plan your trip according to your budget. Read "How expensive is Fernando de Noronha?"
If you get a chance to meet the locals, you might hear stories about how unhappy they are for living there. Prices in the island are absurd, and even though they do receive a higher salary than other places in Brazil, this is still not sufficient to cover the massive difference in prices.


Fernando de Noronha was probably the place I felt the safest while in Brazil. It's an extremely expensive place to visit, so beggars and thieves won't be taking a trip to that place, and those living on the island need to have a work contract or being natives.
It is ok for you to walk by yourself, meet with locals, and it's a super quiet, chilled place.
If you know me, you know that I am quite cautious, but sometimes I take risks, and I fully enjoy the benefits of those risks I take. I met a coconut seller who I left my belongings with while taking photos at "Buraco do Galego", and I met a native who invited me for a Barbecue at his place, and I went (we even got a free buggy trip!).
That being said, always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to any thing that might not look right.

What to bring

There are shops available for you to buy stuff in case you forget or you run out, but remember the prices in the island are sometimes 4x the regular price, so bring the necessarily with you on the plane, and your wallet will thank you.

Dressing in Noronha is not complicated. Because of the type of activities you will do, you will be spending most of your time on your swimwear and flip flops. For the night, you might want to dress nicer and have a light jacket, but that's the only occasion.

  • Flip flops
  • Bikini / swim wear
  • Swim wear cover or light, bright clothing: spending the whole day under the sun can be dangerous to our skin. Applying sun protector is one way to protect it, and covering our body with light clothing is another one. Swim wear covers are super popular in Noronha.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Rain coat
  • Trekking shoes and water shoes

  • Sun protector: this will definitely be my first recommendation. The sun in Noronha is no joke, and even if you're not spending the day at the beach, you can get badly burnt during hikes and activities such as Ilha Tour. Make sure you apply it from the very moment you leave your accommodation, and reapply it every 2-3h, and every time you leave the water. The worst sunburn I got while on my trip to Brazil was during my Ilha Tour day.
  • Insect repellent: remember you're in an island, in Brazil. Insect repellent are extremely important during your day
  • Cash: some agencies or hotels/hostels might not accept cards, and there has been cases where the ATMs at the Banks (and there aren't many) stopped working, or there were problems with the card machines at a certain restaurant. Having cash with you will avoid the worse case scenario. There are also cases where you can get a discount if you pay for a service or product with cash, which can come in handy
  • Brazilian combing cream: Combing cream? But I don't comb my hair... Well, that is about to change once you get to use your first Brazilian combing cream ("creme para pentear"). This creams are for everybody, specially those with long hair. Having your hair in salt water and under the wind can damage it pretty quickly, and the famous Brazilian combing cream can sort your problem out. Just apply it after shower, and you will see how easy it is to brush your hair afterwards. You can buy this at the airport before getting to the island for a cheaper price, or in any supermarket/small shop that has hair products in the country.

  • Foods and drinks: if you are on a budget and you have space on your luggage, consider taking food and drinks with you on the flight, so you can save on meals
  • Thermic bag: this is actually a thing in Noronha. Many people bring a thermic bag, so they can buy drinks and food, and carry with them at a nice temperature, instead of eating or drinking at a bar/restaurant. Enjoy a lovely picnic at the island, but make sure you don't litter!
  • Snorkel equipment: if you have it, bring it with you, as you will be able to save some money on equipment hiring.

For those who want to register the amazing moments spent at this beautiful Island. Be aware that, because of the restrictions they have, drones are not allowed at all in the island, and selfie sticks can be used, but never under the water.
  • Camera
  • Underwater action camera
  • Dome (for those "half/half" type of pictures underwater)
  • Rain cover for all electric equipment

And that is it, your complete guide to Fernando de Noronha! Make sure you visit the other posts about the island to fully prepare your trip, and I will leave below a map I prepared for you to better orientate yourself in Fernando de Noronha :) You can also find a very good map online, but sadly, only in Portuguese.

Tips to use the map above
  • You will find different layers on this map, showing you all points of interest by categories. To see these, click on the tab icon (top left). All layers will be enabled by default. By clicking on the check marks, you can disable/hide a specific label to better understand the info you're looking for.
  • To view more detailed information on any point of interest, click on it's icon over the map.
  • You can save this by clicking on the star on the top of the map (right next to the title). This will be added to your Google Maps, and you will be able to access it from any device (Google Maps - Your Places - Maps)


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


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