Christmas and New Years in Fernando de Noronha has become a family tradition, this is the fourth year in a row we come to the island with family and friends, and this time we have even brought our new puppy “Feijão” along! We have just fallen in love with this place, Noronha is just a water sports paradise, from SUP to surf, kite surf, snorkeling and diving, you have it all, and we don’t travel light….
Voted #1 Beach in the World on Trip Advisor
Noronha is an archipelago made of 21 islands off the north-east cost of Brasil, belonging to the state of Pernambuco, it was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO and 70% of its territory has been denominated national maritime park. Interestingly enough, Trip Advisor has rated this beach Baia do Sancho as The #1 Best Beach in the World. The island is really well and carefully preserved, the population is around 3,500 residents and tourism is restricted to about 2,000 tourists at any one time. In order to discourage tourists from staying long, a daily tax is paid that doubles in value every 7 days. This all helps maintain this paradise!
Life above and below sea is one of the main attractions, including sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, endless kinds of fish, albatrosses, as well as many other species. The water is crystal clear and the scenery is magic.
We arrived at our pousada (bed and breakfast) safe and sound, and after settling in, we got our new Isle inflatable SUP and Feijão on the back of our rental buggy (you can rent one during your stay or use the local taxis which are reliable and fairly cheap) and headed to the Air France view point. Thank god for inflatable SUP´s! This is our third board and I just couldn’t wait to try it out.
During low tide the waters are pretty calm there and it’s the best spot to start paddling out, you have several options from there. We have been coming to Noronha for several years but this is the first time we brought our SUP along, we were just so excited to go out exploring. We had heard of this secret little spot with several natural pools that are formed during low tide, just behind the famous Rurus surfing spot, very difficult to get to, only a hand full of people have actually been, but now with our SUP board, we had the chance to go out looking for it. So out we went, the 3 of us, on my new board!
Renato and I took turns paddling and after just over an hour we found them! What a day and what a welcome to the island!! The pools are beautiful, the fact that they are quite hidden and hard to get to, make them even more special. The sun was shining, the water crystal clear and Feijão had an absolutely blast! After unwillingly jumping in the water for a couple of times, he now, for sure, considers the SUP board his safe port, he will quickly jump onto it even on land, it’s quite funny!
Snorkeling and Kite Surfing
We spent most of our days paddling out in the morning or afternoon and then checking out one of the several beaches on the other half of the day. We would paddle out from the Air France spot on most days. Even on windy days, an option is to paddle out from there, and just head around the corner to the harbor and check out a great snorkeling spot, the harbor´s ship wreck. It is a nice and easy paddle and that is just what I did on one of the days when Renato decided to go kite surfing. I paddled alongside the coast and it took me just over 40min to get to the wreck. While I enjoyed my ride with Feijão and my friends, Renato went kite surfing and managed to pull out some great airs, even with moderate wind.
The only place you can really kite on the island is also from the Air France spot. Most beaches you are not allowed and some other places the wind is too gusty.
Snorkeling and Diving heaven
Snorkeling is just fantastic; you have several amazing spots such as Sueste Beach and the Atalaya natural pool. But if you are into diving, Noronha is one of the best places in Brazil! Diving costs around US$200 for 2 tanks and as you go out with the boat you are escorted by the local Spinner Dolphins, it is magical.
On December 31st we got Feijão and our SUP on the back of our buggy and off we went again to the Air France viewpoint. What a way to finish the year. We paddled out the 3 of us all the way to Conceição Beach. It is around an hour´s ride, and the scenery couldn’t be more spectacular, you paddle out between the fishing boats and go by the harbor beach, Lion´s rock (a rock formation that when the waves crash make a sturdy noise similar to a lion´s roar), Cachorro Beach, Meio Beach, until you reach Conceição Beach. And if you are lucky enough, you will catch a beautiful sunset along the way and a fresh coconut water will be waiting for you to the sound of reggae at Conceição Beach Bar.
New Year´s, let´s open the champagne!
There are some options to celebrate New Year´s eve in Noronha depending on your budget. Zé Maria is a famous party organized by one of the best pousadas, its quite costly, going up to around US$700 per person, including dinner, drinks and DJ, its quite jet-set with Brazilian celebrities attending each year. Other less expensive party options are also organized, this year we all had dinner at our pousada and then went down to Boldró beach to celebrate. The local government also organizes a live band to play to the local residents at the Harbor, its free entrance and can be quite entertaining. The tradition all over Brasil is to dress in white, jump 7 waves at the beach and throw flowers in the sea at midnight for Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea. And so we did, all of it!
After a slight head-ache and to shake off the champagne from the night before, we woke up on the first day of the year and headed off to Cacimba do Padre beach, with its famous Dois Irmãos (two brothers) islands. This time of the year (from December to March) its surfing season and this is definitely the best beach to catch some waves when the swell comes in.
At Cacima beach, as you look to the sea, on the far left corner of the beach, there is a little hidden path, just over the rocks, that leads you to the Baia dos Porcos (Pig´s Bay), it’s a stunning little bay, definitely worth the walk.
The sunset at Cacimba beach is beautiful, but if you have the time, head of to the viewpoint Mirante Forte do Boldró, it’s a jaw dropping sight, just unforgettable. There is a small bar up there that sells drinks, snacks and ice cream.
What a way to start the year and to finish our holidays! Feeling blessed!
Goodbye Paradise, see you soon!…
And before saying goodbye one more time to our beloved Paradise, we stopped by the Iemanjá statue, right at the end of Conceição Beach, to say thanks for another amazing trip. Iemanjá is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron spirit of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation, and the spirit of moonlight. She is worshiped and celebrated by the Umbanda and Candomblé religions in Brasil, but most Brazilian are truly devoted to her especially during New Year´s.
There is plenty to see and do in Noronha, for sure we will be back pretty soon!