How to Spend the Most Perfect 72 Hours in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Photo of Sarah Brown
1 March 2018

Fernando de Noronha is considered Brazil’s ultimate paradise island. Located off the northern coast of Brazil, the island actually takes its name from the volcanic archipelago that it’s a part of which is made up of 21 islands (all but one are uninhabited). With limited numbers of tourists allowed to visit per year, if you’re lucky enough to spend 72 hours there, you definitely want to make the most of it. Here’s how to spend three days in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

Day One

You’ve probably just taken a flight from Recife, a city in the north of Brazil, and now you have landed in Fernando de Noronha. It’s easy to be distracted by the island’s incredible beauty but first thing’s first, check into your hotel. The island is full of amazing accommodation options like these ones here that are Culture Trip’s favorites. The hotels themselves have so much to see – think hot tubs on the balcony to gorgeous infinity pools overlooking the sea – and tend to be on the pricey side, so use the morning to explore your hotel and all its stunning features.

Gorgeous views like this one are around every corner in Fernando de Noronha | © CCINTRA/WikiCommons

In the afternoon, you could hire a car or take a bus to explore the island, but the best way of seeing it is on a beach buggy so hire one of those instead. There’s something far more adventurous about feeling the wind in your hair and having your own freedom to explore. The island can easily be seen in a day so use the afternoon to aimlessly drive around, stopping by any of these incredible beaches on the way. The whole island has beauty around every corner so seeing it all in one go at a relaxed pace is the best way of soaking it all in. Today is the perfect day for photos of an island you will never want to forget.

It’s been a long day exploring and the best way to wrap up the first day is to watch the sunset at one of the island’s best restaurants – Mergulhão. Get there just at the end of the afternoon and make a beeline to the outdoor terrace. Take your pick from their sophisticated and contemporary menu that includes a mix of international and regional cuisines. Opt for a bottle of bubbly – after all, you are in paradise – and sit back and watch the sun go down over Fernando de Noronha’s turquoise ocean and green landscapes.

Sunsets at Fernando de Noronha | Max Pixel

Day Two

Start the morning at the buffet-style breakfast at your hotel as it is probably one of the best spots on the island to start the day. Most hotels serve a fresh breakfast every day of exotic fruits, local pastries, cakes and bread, ham, cheese, and other delicious food. Today is a day of activities so be sure to make the most of the buffet and fuel yourself up for the fun day ahead.

Crystal clear water and gorgeous landscapes are the main highlights of Fernando de Noronha | © Roberto Noval/WikiCommons

The day begins with the Atalaia hike, a four-hour guided trek through conservation areas and protected national parks. The trail follows the coastline and meanders through thick vegetation, pausing occasionally at shallow pools of water where you can snorkel and swim with dozens of different fish and sea crustaceans. When on land, the trail is sprinkled with blooming wildflowers and colorful butterflies as well as incredible sea views. It is one of the most picturesque hikes on the island. To do it, make sure you reserve a spot when you arrive at Fernando de Noronha as the number of visitors to the protected national park is limited.

After your hike, it’s time for some beach time. Head to either of these three beaches – Praia de Leão, Baia do Sancho, and Praia de Porcos – as they are considered the most beautiful beaches on the island. They are also great places to go snorkeling and swim among dozens of different species of fish, lobsters, octopuses, rays, and sharks (they’re friendly sharks so don’t be alarmed). If you can dive or want to learn to dive, then you may want to head to Pedras Secas, Buraco das Cabras, Morro de Fora, and Corveta V17 beaches as these are the best places on the island to catch sightings of turtles, sharks, large fish, and several endemic species. Fernando de Noronha is known as one of the best places in Brazil for scuba diving so don’t miss this chance to check it out. Diving equipment can be rented on site.

A turtle in Fernando de Noronha | © Ronaldo Guillen/WikiCommons

To wrap up the day, dine out of any of these restaurants that made Culture Trip’s round-up of the island’s best places to eat.

Day Three

Your final day. It’s time to take a boat trip around the island which will be something you’ll end up talking about for years after. The boat trips take you to untouched beaches and the islands’ best snorkeling spots so you can swim with rays, fish, and even turtles. The boats pass by Dolphin Bay which is known for its famous spinner dolphins which gather there in their hundreds and get their name for their tendency to leap out of the water and spin several times on their axis.

The water really is this blue in Fernando de Noronha | © Rodrigo Mazzola/WikiCommons

After the boat trip, head to Baia do Sueste for more snorkeling and your best chance to see wild turtles. You can either take your own snorkeling gear with you or rent it out there from one of the kiosks by the beach. If you love surfing, then head to Praia da Cacimba do Padre beach instead to catch the island’s best tube waves. The best time of year to visit this beach for surfing is between December and April.

Finish the day at the Shark Museum which is a free museum that informs visitors all about the marine life on the island and offers a fascinating look into the different species of sharks that inhabit the waters around Fernando de Noronha. Finally, head to Boldro Beach to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets you can see on this picturesque island.

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