The island of Fernando de Noronha off the northeast coast of Brazil, which was once a political prison for some of Brazil’s most dangerous criminals has now turned into a wonderland for beach lovers. Aptly called ‘Fora do Mundo’, or ‘out of this world’ by Brazilian author Gastão Penalva. By Ritika Dixit
The untouched and breathtaking white-sand beaches of Fernando de Noronha are situated off the northeast coast of Brazil. The site was declared to be a marine national park in 1988 for its stunning spectacle of natural beauty with colourful fish, dolphins, lobsters, turtles, sponges, and corals. The island of Fernando de Noronha has also been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected by the government to sustain the watery island’s environs, which are now widely established as a gem to be treasured. Thus, as of now, only 420 tourists are allowed on the island at a time to sustain the site as a peaceful retreat.
Discovered by the Portuguese in 1503, Fernando de Noronha was not just the site of a political prison but also a one-time pirate lair. This archipelago is made up of a chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands. The warm emerald and turquoise waters are known for its paradisiacal beauty. The remoteness of the island takes the scenic beauty of the place a notch higher with vast explosions of greenery, the largest concentration of gorgeous tropical sea birds in the Western Atlantic, an exceptional population of some very friendly resident dolphins, gushing waterfalls, and crystal clear waters. The rugged landscape of the island includes rock sculptures, jagged cliffs, and lurking caves on the pristine beaches.
The only way to reach Fernando de Noronha is by air, departing from Recife and Natal. Fernando de Noronha is blessed with consistently warm temperatures around the year, but the rainy season, which is sunny and decorated with heavy rainfall brings out the real scenic beauty of the island. If you are a beach-baby who enjoys clear skies and a warm ocean, the warm season on the island between August to January will be your best shot.
Known for its swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling and hiking opportunities on more than 15 beaches, Fernando de Noronha is a hub for beach lovers lazing around in the sunshine, swimming among the rocks and enjoying the pristine beauty of the main beaches like Praia Sancho, Praia Porcos, and Praia Leão.
If you are amongst the lucky few who get to pay a visit to Fernando de Noronha, you will have to pay a daily Environmental Preservation Tax that increases exponentially with the length of the visit as well as a fee to access the Marine Park. But in the end, the pristine scenery that the white sandy beaches offer, will all be worth it!