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Fernando de Noronha a Honeymoon Paradise!

August 8, 2011 by Michael Eiseman divider image

About Fernando de Noronha – Brazil’s mystical paradise

First let me say, being married to a Brazilian and also living in Sao Paulo back in the early 2000′s, I always heard Brazilians speak about Fernando de Noronha as a mystical place and their most cherished Eco and Diving paradise, almost a garden of eden type folklore. I always wondered if it would hold up to all my expectations to be the perfect special honeymoon destination; bountiful diving and snorkeling, romantic sunsets, and exotic and unique beaches. Would this destination, with its very steep prices, eco-taxes and hard to get to reputation, live up to all the hype?

My only disclaimer for this report is to speak to the die-hard divers that are not really our normal clientele. If you are just going for the diving, then going to Cayman Islands and Cozumel may be closer and better suited for the budget die hard diver, but if you are looking for a paradise found for a honeymoon, being in the very remote place, with breathtaking beaches, escaping the crowds to an ecological paradise then it definitely lives up to it’s reputation.

dolphins in Brazil, fernanda de noronha, travel packages

History of the Island and why are there few Americans?

Americans are not familiar with Fernando de Noronha as a tourist destination yet, but tourists from Europe, especially Italians have been coming here for many years and have found it to be laid back, rich in eco-activities and offers year around warm tropical temperatures. The Island is a National Park and is part of an Archipelago that is comprised of 21 islands, of which Noronha is the only one that is inhabited. Ibama which is like our EPA protects the island and charges a tax per day per person that is about 20.00 USD and the flights and hotels are very expensive because of it being an  Ecological Sanctuary. This tax gets paid upon arrival, and you also have to check out upon departure. Noronha’s history is unique. The islands were discovered in 1503 and it was a federal territory of Brazil from 1942 to 1988, when it was re-annexed to the state of Pernambuco, it is administered as a state district and is the site of a national maritime park. The islands have been the site of a military base and a penal colony. A U.S. missile-tracking base was there from 1957 to 1962 and many structures on the island remain and have been turned into stores and dive shops using the hanger-like structures because of the restrictions of new construction.

honeymoon in brazil beaches

How to get there?

There are direct flights from Miami to Recife now on American, then from Recife you must take another flight to the island, flights are $450pp -$588pp – no Brazil Airpass segment is allowed. The island is small so transfers from the Airport to hotels are short, most less then 10 mins.

The #1 feature in Noronha is the beaches
I visited some of the nicest, cleanest and most unique beaches I have ever seen. Dusk with caipirinhas from the bar on Praia do Conceicao was the perfect spot to watch a breathtaking sunset.

The remote beach of Praia do Porcos was my favorite spot; it offered a little hike to get there, a natural cove of Lava rocks and crystal clear blue waters for relaxing on the beach, taking photographs, snorkeling and breathtaking views of the two mountains standing in the sea called Ilhas Dois Irmaos.

Hiking to Praia da Atalaia is well worth the trip, it’s truly a natural aquarium, this beach allows for diving in its natural pools in low tide. These pools are extremely shallow and are home to a variety of dazzling marine fauna species. The maximum daily number of visitors is limited to 100, divided into groups of 25 at a time. These privileged visitors enjoy this natural swimming pool for only twenty minutes during the low tide.

honeymoon at maravilha hotel in brazil

Hotels “Why are they so expensive?” We have to manage our client’s expectations

The Hotels on Noronha are about double the cost of hotels on the mainland; Mainly because of the cost to bring materials and tariffs imposed from the islands status as a preserve. For example, Ze Maria known as one of the top two or three hotels in Noronha has a low season rate for the bungalow option of $900 USD and $1,100 for the Special Bungalows which are no more then a 3 star rooms with a 5 star restaurant with mediocre amenities, but in Noronha the jet set paulistas stay there and feel it’s the place to be seen. Don’t miss their weekly Wednesday night seafood festival, it’s a real treat and Ze himself welcomes you for a seafood feast for the senses. The same bungalow at other Brazilian beaches would be half the cost. Brazilians well understand this but Americans must me informed and expectations managed; There are no deals in Noronha, all the Pousadas are used to high occupancy and the Euro is strong so they feel no recession and none have felt the crunch of the recession.

Mike’s Top Three Picks for Honeymooners

VIP Luxury Pick –  Pousada Maravilha
Maravilha is in a category all by itself. Its Bali-style bungalows and main areas are heads ahead of the rest, they boast a great chef and always impeccable service. It provides perfect views from all bungalows and is on a blessed bluff overlooking one of Noronha’s most picturesque beaches, the ideal setting for Honeymooners. Click here to read more

5 Star Picks – Teju Acu & Solar de Loronha
Teju Acu is the hotel where I stayed while in Noronha, its well located and has lovely bungalows and good food, my only wish is that it had views of the ocean, the manager will tell you if you look far in to the distance you can see the ocean from the opposite side of the island, when the Conceicao mountain is right in front of the hotel blocking the sea views that are just over its cliffs, but for service, all around style and atmosphere it was a great place.

Solar de Loronha is a newer property that has great honeymoon bungalows with great views of the ocean, boasting specious and newer bathrooms and showers within the bungalows. The only thing that’s seems out of place is the common areas; the weird pool and eating area look out of step with the rest, looking like they belongs in a 2 star hotel somewhere else. The bungalows #1-4 have the best views and are worth asking for. If you are going to spend a good amount of time in your room then I highly recommend this property! Click here for more.

4 Star Pick – Solar do Ventos

Solar do Ventos, with perhaps the best view of any pousada under $600, offers the best value, It has a great location, just behind Maravilha and has a charming homey feel that Brazil is known for. It’s a family owned pousada and just lacks the English speaking staff that some of the others offer. It’s a close walk to the beach and has no pool, but the large open balconies and property area to lounge around offers post card views from almost every vantage point.

In Conclusion

Fernando de Noronha is a stunning year around destination that lives up to or even surpasses the hype. If one is prepared for the steep prices, books early due to limited availability and size of the accommodations, you can find sheer joy in a ecological paradise equal to any in the world. It is a great honeymoon destination that will be different and exotic from any other experience in South America. Now I know why Brazilians covet this place like the Holy Grail. I am truly a converted follower and will return often to enjoy its beauty and undersea wonders.

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