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Visiting Fernando de Noronha: Everything You Need to Know About Brazil’s Most Exclusive Island

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4 months ago

If someone asked me how I would define ‘tropical paradise’, I would simply answer: Fernando de Noronha.

Closer to Africa than São Paulo, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha may be Brazil’s most exclusive destination. With the world’s best beach (according to Tripadvisor), volcanic topography, high-quality restaurants and fascinating bird life, Fernando de Noronha is Bora Bora, Tulum and the Galapagos Islands all packaged into the perfect Brazilian beach destination.

I made the mistake of visiting Fernando de Noronha without having done much research beforehand and, frankly, I wish I knew more. Fernando de Noronha is the playground of elite Brazilians and it is crucial to have a rough idea of your plan before arriving.

How to get to Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha airport (Airport Code: FEN) is serviced by regular daily flights from Recife and a handful of flights a week from Natal. Both Recife and Natal are worthy destinations on any northeast Brazil itinerary and you’ll want to check out our exclusive 3-day in Recife itinerary.

Flight prices to Fernando de Noronha fluctuate massively so you need to book your flight as far in advance as possible.

European travellers can take advantage of TAP Air Portugal’s daily one-stop flights to both Recife and Natal via Lisbon. These flights are ideal and avoid having to travel all the way south to São Paulo.

Before You Go: Fees and taxes

Tourists are required to pay two specific taxes when visiting Fernando de Noronha.

Both taxes can be paid on arrival in Fernando de Noronha, but I recommend paying them in advance to make your airport experience a little faster!

Firstly, the mandatory government environmental tax is charged at 87 reais ($17.50) per day. If you decide to leave earlier, you can get a refund on unused days upon departure from Fernando de Noronha.

Secondly, you will need to pay a national park fee if you want to visit basically anywhere on the island. The park fee is 358 reais ($72) and is valid for 10 days.

Is Fernando de Noronha expensive?

Fernando de Noronha is not a cheap destination. Overall, prices on Fernando de Noronha are about 20% higher than what you would expect elsewhere in Brazil.

Unlike other pricier spots like Rio de Janeiro, where cheap eats and public transport can still be found, there isn’t much competition in Fernando de Noronha. For example, the base fare for a short 10-minute taxi hop to the closest beaches begins at 35 reais ($7).

In saying all of this, there are a handful of hostels and supermarkets on the island. While they are still more expensive than anything you will find on mainland Brazil, you can usually cook in your hostel and save money on the often overpriced (yet extremely delicious) restaurants.

How do I get around Fernando de Noronha?

The first thing you will notice on Fernando de Noronha is the abundance of buggies.

There are pros and cons to hiring a buggy for your trip to Fernando de Noronha. The major pro is that you have your own set of wheels and will not be reliant on organized island tours to get around. In general, if you are traveling with a group of two or more, I would probably recommend renting a buggy.

Travel tip: Most buggy companies only offer buggies with manual gearsticks. If you only drive automatic, buggies probably aren’t the option for you!

Buggies are available across the island for about $100 USD a day (not including fuel). This means that if you are in a smaller group, it’s often cheaper to join day tours and not have to worry about transporting yourself around the island.

Taxis are also available on the island with set rates beginning at 25 reais ($5) for a short hop around town.

How long should I spend in Fernando de Noronha?

In my opinion, an ideal itinerary for Fernando de Noronha would be 4 days/3 nights. This allows for enough time to see the major sites and enjoy some downtime on the beach.

Of course, you can obviously spend longer and enjoy lazy days on some of the best beaches in the world. But you will be required to pay extra daily taxes and the overall costliness of everything on the island may start to get on your nerves…

Where should I stay in Fernando de Noronha?

The main village (I’m using this word generously) is Vila dos Remédios

If you are looking for a budget option, I would recommend Pousada Lenda das Águas (good value for money and walking distance to beaches), Flats Baias das Porcas (recently renovated and close to beaches) or Pousada Fortaleza (eco-lodge vibe).

If budget is less of a concern, do yourself a favour and check into the Pousada Triboju or the Pousada do Vale (which also happens to have one of our favorite restaurants in Fernando de Noronha).

Is Fernando de Noronha worth visiting?

Unquestionably, yes. While Brazilian travelers are familiar with Fernando de Noronha, this island paradise remains a complete hidden gem in international travel circles and is one of my favorite places to visit in Brazil!

Lucky for you, we’ve prepared the ideal 4-day itinerary for Fernando de Noronha.

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