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The Perfect 4-Day Itinerary for Fernando de Noronha Island, Northeast Brazil

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2 months ago

Home to the world’s best beach (voted by Tripadvisor!), dolphins, turtles and some of Northeast Brazil’s best restaurants – Fernando de Noronha is everything from an ideal honeymoon destination to an off-the-beaten-path traveler’s dream. There’s a reason why Fernando de Noronha is Brazil’s ultimate island destination.

You will want to make sure your Fernando de Noronha island itinerary combines sufficient relaxation time (did I mention the world’s best beach?) and an opportunity to experience the Marine National Park in all its beauty.

In my opinion, 3 nights/4 days is the minimum amount of time for any Fernando de Noronha itinerary. However, once you see the water here you will probably want to stay for a month!

Before You Go: Permits and Taxes

Fernando de Noronha is not a straightforward destination to visit. A protected environment reserve and Brazil’s most exclusive island, tourists are required to pay a number of taxes to visit the island. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive guide to visiting Fernando de Noronha.

I realize we all have different holiday budgets and I will be frank: heading to a small beach town in Pernambuco or Bahia will be significantly cheaper than visiting Fernando de Noronha. But there is something truly special about Fernando de Noronha. Something truly priceless.

Day 1: Welcome to Paradise

You will almost certainly be arriving on one of the morning Azul flights from Recife. Move your clocks forward, you are now on Fernando de Noronha Standard Time (GMT-2). With a late morning arrival, you will have missed the morning tours and I recommend using your first day to get organized, relax and embrace the best of Noronha.

Once you are in your beachwear, head towards Praia do Cachorro. Take your time in this little, boulder-filed cove. The odds are this is your ‘pinch yourself’ moment in Fernando de Noronha.

After a short walk across Praia do Meio, you will see the perfectly perched Bar do Meio, potentially my favorite lunch spot in Noronha. With live music and open views over both Praia do Meio and Praia do Conceição, Bar do Meio is the perfect spot for a lazy lunch and one of the best restaurants in Fernando de Noronha.

For the rest of the afternoon, you have your choice between the slightly more picturesque Praia do Conceição or the Praia do Meio.

To manage expectations, beach umbrellas and chairs in Fernando de Noronha are much more expensive than in Mainland Brazil. On the more famous beaches, you are often looking at 100 reais (US$20). The cheapest umbrellas we found were on Praia do Meio for 50 reais (US$10).

Evening: Forte de Noronha

After enjoying your little slice of paradise, you will probably want to freshen up. Before you head for dinner, get yourself to the Forte de Noronha before sunset, ideally after 5 pm. Every night of the week the Forte holds some kind of musical event, from samba evenings to DJs (you can find out the latest on their Instagram). Grab yourself a caipirinha, perch yourself on the edge of the fort and take in what may be one of the best sunsets on earth.

You want to visit the Forte de Noronha on your first day, as the entry is good for 10 days. This mean you can come back every evening for sundowners!

On your first night, I would recommend having dinner at the restaurant on top of the fort, or head back to town for a more casual bite.

Day 2: Ilha tour

At the outset, if you don’t have your own buggy, I recommend doing the Ilha tour with one of the agencies on Noronha. Or, if like me, you like to be organized, you can pre-arrange the Ilha Tour before arriving on Fernando de Noronha.

Today is all about seeing the island, the Marine National Park and some of the best beaches in Brazil.

First stop is the Praia de Sancho, voted by Tripadvisor as the best beach in the world. Keep an eye open for large lizards, frigate birds and some very colorful crabs!

Warning: To access Praia de Sancho you will need to descend two vertical ladders through steep rocks.

If you have any accessibility concerns or fear of heights, this will not be for you. Don’t worry – you can still reach Sancho by boat!

After your time in the sun, head back up along the board walk to the viewpoint for the dois irmaōs (two brothers), another famous Noronha landmark.

For lunch, your guide will try to take you to a classic Brazilian tour buffet – but ask them if you can go for lunch at the Museu de Tiburaōs (Shark Museum) instead. The restaurant there has a large outdoor terrace overlooking the Atlantic, on the African side of Noronha.

The baião with plantain and fried pineapple is an excellent introduction to Northeastern Brazilian cuisine.

Any good Noronha guide will conclude your island tour with a sunset stop at Ponta de Leao. Here, the bougie side of Noronha pays off. Despite being part of the national park, you will can still find a tasteful bar and a lovely spread of caipirinhas and fresh coconuts on offer. This is Fernando de Noronha island after all.

Evening: Do Vale

After a long day in the sun, you will almost certainly want some downtime to freshen up (and enjoy the air conditioning).

Tonight you are going for dinner to Do Vale, one of our favorite restaurants in Fernando do Noronha, and home to one of the best hotels in Fernando de Noronha (the Pousada do Vale). Do Vale styles itself as offering Brazilian artisan cuisine and uses organic ingredients from their own agroforest on Noronha.

Day 3: On the ocean

Day 3 begins nice and early with a boat tour of the island.

If you want to see the dolphins (and who doesn’t want to see dolphins), you will need to start early. From the port, most boat tours take you up the Brazilian side of Noronha, explaining the geological formations (in Portuguese) and pointing out wildlife.

Your tour will conclude with a one hour dip in Praia de Sancho. All Fernando de Noronha island tour companies will offer snorkels and fins for rent, but if you are looking to save money I recommend doing a shop around town the day before.

You’ll be back on land in time for a late lunch. Lunch in Noronha is an easy affair. From a casual açai bowl to an ahi tuna salad at Mare Comida, you have options!

In the afternoon, I recommend taking a book and heading back to one of the in-town beaches from Day 1. After an intense 2-day island itinerary, I love just taking the time to tap out – and it certainly helps when you have a Noronha beach to sit at!

If you are feeling more adventurous, you can hike the Piquinho. They say it only takes about 45 minutes (albeit on a steep trail), but in the Noronha heat there was no chance I was giving it a shot!

Evening: O Pico

As your last night in Noronha, I recommend ending on a high. Book yourself a table at O Pico, the most celebrated restaurant on the island (headed by a Michelin-trained chef). Order carefully, as you do not want to miss their brioche French toast with dulce de leche for dessert!

Day 4: Back to Brazil

As all good things come to an end, today you will be flying back to Mainland Brazil. Most flights depart in the late morning back to Recife or Natal. But don’t let the adventure end: why not spend a few days in Recife? Or continue off-the-beaten-path to other hidden gems in Northeast Brazil.

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