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Located some 550 km (340 miles) off the coast of Recife, the 21-island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is the quintessential tropical island getaway. A formal penal colony, the main – and only inhabited – island possesses some of planet’s most unspoiled, idyllic beaches. Meanwhile, its protected aquamarine waters are stuffed with colorful fish as well as sea turtles, cavorting dolphins and “friendly” sharks (you can swim beside them – or munch upon them, in the form of croquettes, filets, or burgers, at a local eatery). Visibility is such that Fernando de Noronha is one of the world’s top diving spots, but it also boasts excellent ...

Located some 550 km (340 miles) off the coast of Recife, the 21-island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is the quintessential tropical island getaway. A formal penal colony, the main – and only inhabited – island possesses some of planet’s most unspoiled, idyllic beaches. Meanwhile, its protected aquamarine waters are stuffed with colorful fish as well as sea turtles, cavorting dolphins and “friendly” sharks (you can swim beside them – or munch upon them, in the form of croquettes, filets, or burgers, at a local eatery). Visibility is such that Fernando de Noronha is one of the world’s top diving spots, but it also boasts excellent snorkeling, surfing, sailing, and plain-old floating. The main urban hub, Vila dos Remédios, is an attractive village of 3,000. Due to its distance from the mainland (and celebrity cachet) a trip to eco-paradise doesn’t come cheap – food and lodging prices are inflated and visitors must pay a daily eco-tax – but it’s definitely worth the splurge.

Michael Sommers
About the Expert

Michael Sommers is the author of Moon Brazil and Moon Rio, as well as the blog Thrill of Brazil. He has been living in Salvador, Brazil since 1999.

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Michael Sommers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
  • Language: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French
  • Currency: real
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer (December-March) is high season; expect tourists and cruise ships. For diving, visibility is best in September-October. For surfing, the waves are best in December-January. March-June can be rainy.