Paradise on the Earth: Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco


Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha lies in the Atlantic ocean, about 360 km from the city of Natal, being the eastest inhabited point of Brazil. The volcanic archipelago is both a beach and eco-tourism destination. Year after year the beaches of Fernando de Noronha are among the most beautiful ones of Brazil and thanks to the rich marine life of the archipelago it’s with no doubt Brazil’s best diving and snorkeling spot.

The only way to reach Fernando de Noronha is by air and the connections from the continent leave either from Natal or from Recife. The flying time is about an hour. Fernando de Noronha applies a tourist tax which can be paid before arrival via internet or at the airport. The amouth of the tax is about 33 R$ per day and to avoid queues, we do recommend you to pay the tax in before hand. Basically all the pousadas (=brazilian guesthouse) include airport transfers in the basic price of the stay, so therefore you do not need to worry about the transportation once you arrive to Noronha. At the airport you will meet a large number of agencies offering tours and activities. It’s a good idea for you to pick some brochures in order  to get an idea of all the activities available in the island.

Baía do Sancho

Baía do Sancho

When talking about Fernando de Noronha, it’s good to remember that we talk about a National Park and the fragile nature of this paradise island is highly protected. For an ordinary tourist this means that you will probably not find any other cleaner beach from Brazil than the beaches of Fernando de Noronha. On the other hand, it’s also good to remember that you will also be responsable of keeping them clean, otherwise high penalties will apply. Don’t expect to find a hotel located right on the beach, nor beach servicies with chairs and bars. At Fernando de Noronha the beaches are protected and no building are allowed on the beach. Basically the only so called “beach bar” can be found from the beach of Praia do Meio and the centrally located Praia do Cachorro may have locals selling drinks and light snacks as well.

Praia do Leão

Praia do Leão

Dois Irmãos

Dois Irmãos

The three most beautiful Brazilian beaches (rated by the Brazilian authorities) can be found from Fernando de Noronha. The number one, Baía do Sancho, can be reached either by sea or by descending ladders hanging in between two rocks. This color of water is a mixture of turquoise, green and light blue, and you may observe a large number of tropical fish while swimming or snorkeling around. The second most beautiful beach is Baía dos Porcos, located next to Baía do Sancho. Both of them offer some most espectacular views over the coast and the sea. Baía dos Porcos, which is located in front of the famous rocks called “Dois Irmãos“, has a number of natural swimming pools and it also excellent for snorkeling. The last but not the least at the top three is a beach called Praia do Leão.  This beach, located in the southeastern part of the Fernando de Noronha is the longest one of the island and the color of water is deep blue. This is where the sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach.  To reach all these and many other beaches for the first time it’s recommendable to have a local guide with you. One of the most popular excursions in Fernando de Noronha is a tour around the island, which takes you to all the famous beaches and ends up to being an excellent way to get to know the island.

Conceisão

Conceisão

The main attraction of Noronha is the nature, especially the under water life. This makes the island to be the best diving and snorkeling destination of the country. Some of the best beaches to observe the marine wild life year around are Praia Atalaia and Praia Sueste. Praia Atalaia is practically a natural aquarium and located within the National Park area. That’s why a limited number of person (30) is allowed to visit this it on daily basis. Praia Sueste on the other hand is the calmest beach of the island allowing diving and snorkeling at any time of the year. Like all around Fernando de Noronha, here diving is also limited to certain areas in order to protect the coral reefs. The island of Fernando de Noronha is also very popular among surfers, being the beach of Conceicão one of the best options for surfing. The wawes are ideal from December to February and this is also one of the best points to enjoy spectacular sunsets of the island. For those that are not into water sports Fernando de Noronha offers options for hiking, horseback riding or deep sea fishing. Dolpins can be seen either early in the morning at the bay of Baía dos Golfinhos or day time during boat excursions organized by the travel agencies.

Check out our itinerary suggestions including the island of Fernando de Noronha.

Sunset

Sunset

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Algas Marinhas – a small pousada located in Floresta Nova, close the to village of Vila dos Remedios. Helpfull staff together with rooms decorated with good taste and quality materials makes this pousada an excellent value for money.
  • Pousada Solar dos Ventos – wooden bungalows located in the southern part of the island with views over the the bay of Baía do Sudeste. An excellent choice for those willing to have full privacy during their stay.
  • Dolphion Hotel – Dolphin offers hotel standard accommodation with rustic charm of pousadas respecting the surrounding nature. Location just a short step away from the landmark of Noronho, Morro do Pico.
  • Pousada Zé Maria – If you want to spoil yourself with the best that Fernando de Noronha has to offer choose Pousada Zé Maria with prime location on the island.
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Hiking in Chapada Diamantina, Bahia

Colors of Sertão

Colors of Sertão

The national park of Chapada Diamantina is located in the state of Bahia, about 400 kilometers from the state capital Salvador and is charactirized of cliffs, table mountains, canyons, caves and waterfalls. In the past decades Chapada Diamantina was famous for diamonds found from the rivers of this National Park, which nowadays is one of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in Bahia.

Due to the breathtaking landscapes and easy access, Chapada Diamantina has became a popular destination among tourists seeking an active holiday and willing to get to know this different, often less known part of brazilian countryside. Chapada Diamantina can be reached either car or by regular bus from Salvador. The bus journey to the principal village, Lencois, takes about 6-7 hours, but luckily in general brazilian busses are quite comfortable with plenty of leg space and inclining seats. A private transfer will naturally be more expensive, but also quicker way to reach the destination. An another option is to arrive to Lencois by air. A weekly flight from Salvador operated by Trip Linhas Aéreas takes about 55 minutes and is currently operated on Saturdays only. Lencois is a small and picturesque village with number of charming pousadas, colonial style buildings and tiny roads.

Hiking Sossego

Hiking Sossego

When visiting Chapada Diamantina, the focus is naturally on activities available in the area. It’s good to take into consideration, that some of the hikes do need a certain physical condition. Closest to the village you will find the Primavera waterfall and the Serrano River with beautiful views over the village. Thanks to the easy access they can be visited, for example on the day of arrival. Brazil’s highest waterfall, Cachoeira da Fumaca is one of the principal attractions of the national park. The most popular way to reach the waterfall is from above, which requieres 6 km walking from the ecological basement of Vale do Capão. For real adventures, with good physics, can reach Cachoeira da Fumaca from below. This route requiering a three days hike. An another popular hike leading you to a waterfall, is the trail of Sossego. The lenght of this trail is about 8 km per way and there is no real path. You will go up and down the river side, jumping from a stone till another until you reach the waterfall of Sossego at the end of the canyon. We do not recommend the trail of Sossego for persons, who have problems with knees or do not have physical preparation. It’s also recommendable to have a local guide with you on all hikes as there are no signs nor clear paths.

One of the several waterfalls

One of the several waterfalls

In addition to hikes there are also other interesting activities and excursions to be enjoyed in the area of Chapada Diamantina, being one of the most popular called “Roteiro 1” (route 1). This excurcion takes you to several attractions, including the caves of Gruta da Lapa Doce, Gruta Azul and Gruta da Pratinha. A walk through the Gruta da Lapa Doce takes about one hours and allows you to admire the sand formations inside of the cave. Both Gruta Azul and Gruta Pratinha are filled with crystal clear water and in Pratinha it’s possible to swim inside of the cave, observe the bats with a flashlight and see a number of fish when snorkeling towards the sunlight. The tour of “Roteiro 1” ends with a hike on the top of the table mountain Paí Inacio. After having reached the top you will enjoy endless landscapes and the breathtaking beauty of the sunset.

Check out our suggestions for itineraries including Chapada Diamantina.

View from the top of Paí Inacio

View from the top of Paí Inacio

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Vila Serrano – a lovely small pousada with personalized touch. All the rooms have a veranda or balcony and are individually decorated respecting the colonial style. Ideally located in a peaceful corner, close to the bus station and the heart of the city.
  • Restaurant Cozinha Aberta – Delicious food in a tiny restaurant and romantic dining in the terrace. Be prepared to wait, the slogan of the restaurant is “slow food” and it will take time for a meal to be served. However worth waiting for!

Broaken Canoe of the Northeastern Coast: Canoa Quebrada, Ceará

The village of Canoa Quebrada, broken canoe in English,  is located in the state of Ceará in northeastern part of Brazil. The closest airport is located in Fortaleza, about 160 km from Canoa Quebrada and can be easily reached by car. A drive from Fortaleza to Canoa Quebrada takes about 2½ hours, depending on the traffic and in general the road is in good condition. Canoa Quebrada is a former fisherman village, which turned out to be one of the most popular tourism destinations of the coast of Ceará.

Canoa Quebrada

Canoa Quebrada

Unlike some other brazilian beach destinations, Canoa Quebrada can be accessed by car and you will find some motorized traffic in this charming village. However please note that the roads are tiny and so is the traffic as well. The few cars coming and leaving the village will not disturb your holiday feeling at all. The surrounding nature is very dry and you will not find palm trees nor tropical vegetation in Canoa Quebrada. The charm of Canoa Quebrada consists of a sand beach surrounded by the colorful canyons of baked sand and dunes. It’s an ideal destination for a city escape, as the atmospheare in this village remains very rustic and relaxed reminding us of the era when this paradise was found by the first leisure seekers, the hippies .

Canoa Quebrada Beach

Canoa Quebrada Beach

The main attraction of Canoa Quebrada is the long beach with several beach side kiosks serving small snacks and ice cold drinks. Due to the geographic location the climate you is warm and windy during the year around, but don’t worry in Canoa Quebrada the wind is warm and quickly you will find out that if there were no wind you wouldn’t be able to resist the strong sun of this latitude. Thanks to the wind, Canoa Quebrada is also a popular destination when it comes to kitesurf and the best winds can be experienced from June till January. The yearly rainfall is very small and usually appears from February till May. In addition to water sports, there are also possibilities to make several excurcions in area. You can take a buggy ride over the dunes and have a swim in one of the lagoons located in the middle of the white sand. Another interesting excursion is a buggy ride along the beach. You will be able to enjoy the baked sand canyons on you right hand side and have see the sparkling see when you look on your left. One of the highlights of this excursion is the “Garganta do Diablo” (=Devil’s throat), a weird natural sand sculpture.

Garganta do Diablo

Garganta do Diablo

Canoa Quebrada is a very popular destination especially within younger public, but serves all travellers with young spirit. If you are looking for a resort kind of holiday with fancy services you better turn your attention elsewhere. Along the main street called “Broadway” you will find a number of restaurants, shop and bars, everything from reggae to traditional brazilian forró, all of them with relaxing atmospheare.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Restaurant Cabana (at Broadway) – tasty and well cooked brazilian food with excellent value for money!
  • Pousada Aruna – Pousada located in a peaceful corner of the village, large pool area and superior rooms with special roof top terrace. Recommendable especially for travellers with car.
  • Dolce Vita – Pousada consists of individual chalets with double bed and bunk bed – an excellent choice for families. Comfortable pool area and peaceful location, just a short walk away from the main street.
  • Refugio do Manati – Centrally located rustic pousada with green areas and pool. Chalets with two floors and veranda has natural ventilation and no air conditioning.
Canoa Quebrada beach

Canoa Quebrada beach

Escape Urban Life: Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro

Ilha Grande is one of the wonders located in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This former prison island is nowadays a popular tourism destination that has conserved the charming intimacy and unspoiled touch.

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande is easy to reach and we warmly recommend travellers who come to Rio, experience the alternative lifestyle of  this tropical island. To reach Ilha Grande, you can choose between few options, first of all you have to travel either to Mangaratiba or to Angra dos Reis by bus or car, and then after take a ferry boat/catamaran/speed boat to Ilha Grande. The shortest boat connection is from Angra dos Reis. There is a regular bus from Rio to Angra dos Reis via Mangaratiba, however we do recommend you to take a speed transfer, which includes a van transportation directly from the capital of the state to the port  and vice versa. The schedules of speed transfer are adjusted to the catamaran schedules, making it clearly the fastest and simplest way to reach Ilha Grande. We also recommend catamaran over the ferry boat, due to the time save. By crossing the sea with catamaran (about 50 min) you will save about 2 hours compared to the ferry boat. The speed boat transfers (25min) are available requiering a minimun number of participants and therefore being suitable especially for small groups.

Beach Ilha Grande

Beach Ilha Grande

Once you reach Ilha Grande you will quickly find out that this paradise island has no cars (expect few available only for the militar use). The streets are sandy and the peaceful atmospheare can be felt immediately. Feels like you had travelled far away from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro. The main village of the island, Abrão, is tiny village located in a beautiful bay offering a wide range of tourism services such as pousadas (=brazilian guesthouse), restaurants, shops and bars.  Due to the mountainous tropical vegetation the other villages of the island can be reached either by sea or by longer walk through the few pathways crossing the island.

Lopes Mendes

Lopes Mendes

At Ilha Grande you will find some of the most beautiful beaches of Brazil, the most well-known of them is Lopes Mendes, which was recently chosen within the top 10 of Brazil. This beach can be reached by one of the several boat tours departing from Abrão every hour during the morning. The boat will take you to another beach, easy to embark from where you can reach Lopes Mendes after a short walk through the Atlantic rainforest. Lopes Mendes is a white sandy beach with no beach services (sometimes you may find people selling water, soft drinks and beer). This is a perfect place to relax, enjoy the beauty of the nature and have a long walk along the beach.

If you are not afraid of longer walk through the pathways we recommend you to preserve one day for Dois Rios, a beautiful beach located further away from Abrão. Most of the year the waves of this bay do not allow boat to embark in front it, therefore Dois Rios can be reached only by walk (about 2-2½ hours/oneway). The walk through the pathways is enjoyable for those like active holidays. It allows you to be in touch with the local nature, observe the vegetation, flowers and birds. From the top of the hill you will have a beautiful view over the village of Abrão. Dois Rios itself is a small village where the former prison is located. The sea is often very strong and not recommendable for a swim. However the two river (Dois Rios=Two Rivers), one at each end of the beach, are not only beautiful but also perfect for a swim. Personally we preferred the one at our left hand side, but it’s up to you to choose your favourite. No beach services can be found from Dois Rios and there are few restaurant offering home made food in the village, so we recommend you to take at least some light snack and drinks with you before you leave Abrão.

Beach Dois Rios

Beach Dois Rios

River Dois Rios

River Dois Rios

Ilha Grande offers also a number of other activities for tourist. You can hike through the pathways, being Dois Rios one of the most popular light hikes. Another beautiful beach of Caixadaco (close to Dois Rios) requires hiking through more difficult forest areas and it is recommendable to have a local guide with you. The most challenging hike that requieres certain physical condition is the Pico do Papagaío, the second highest peaks of the island. This full hike takes you up to 990 meters from the sea level and from the top of the peak you will have stunning views over the whole island.
Ilha Grande is  a paradise for the lovers of water activities. From the village of Abrão, you will find a number of different tours organized in the island. One of the best places for snorkling are the Lagoa Verde (=green lagoon) and Lagoa Azul (=blue lagoon), both with large number of tropical fish. If your schedule is tight or you just want to take the maximum out of your stay, we recommend you to take a speed boat tour around half of the island. Thiss tour stops at several beaches as well as at Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. This way you will not spend the entire day travelling back and forth by a schooner.
The Brazil Diversity recommends the following pousadas in Ilha Grande:
BossaNova – a simple pousada located in the heart of the village. Located in one of the principal streests, close to the restaurants and the piers.
Só Natureza – a pousada with large, simply furnished rooms and garden with pool area. Located in the heart of the village.
Naturalia – Lovely pousada with excellent value for money, surrounded by the tropical vegetation and located in a peaceful corner, a short walk away from the heart of the village.
Asalem – a small pousada further away from the village, totally isolated allowing full interaction with the surrounding nature.

Ilha Grande offers also a number of other activities for tourist. You can hike through the pathways, being Dois Rios one of the most popular light hikes. Another beautiful beach of Caixadaco (close to Dois Rios) requires hiking through more difficult forest areas and it is recommendable to have a local guide with you. The most challenging hike that requieres certain physical condition is the Pico do Papagaío, the second highest peak of the island. This full hike takes you up to 990 meters from the sea level and from the top of the peak you will have stunning views over the whole island.

Ilha Grande is  a paradise for the lovers of water activities. From the village of Abrão, you will find a number of different tours organized in the island. One of the best places for snorkling are the Lagoa Verde (=green lagoon) and Lagoa Azul (=blue lagoon), both with large number of tropical fish. If your schedule is tight or you just want to take the maximum out of your stay, we recommend you to take a speed boat tour around half of the island. Thiss tour stops at several beaches as well as at Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. This way you will not spend the entire day travelling back and forth by a schooner.

Check out our recommended itineraries with Ilha Grande.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • BossaNova – a simple pousada located in the heart of the village. Located in one of the principal streests, close to the restaurants and the piers.
  • Só Natureza – a pousada with large, simply furnished rooms and garden with pool area. Located in the heart of the village.
  • Naturalia – Lovely pousada with excellent value for money, surrounded by the tropical vegetation and located in a peaceful corner, a short walk away from the heart of the village.
  • Asalem – a small pousada further away from the village, totally isolated allowing full interaction with the surrounding nature.
Tropical Islands

Tropical Islands

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