Porto de Galinhas
Fernando de Noronha - Brazil
«Cities of Pernambuco
Population: 2.051 inhabitants (Censo 2000)
Distância do Recife: 540 km
Access: Air or sea. Visit also maps of Recife and Pernambuco.
The islands of Fernando de Noronha are located 540 km off the Recife coast; the archipelago is made up of 19 islands, and only two of them are inhabited; the largest island has an area of 16,2 km2.
There are a few versions about the discovering of the island; the most accepted version is that Italian navigator Américo Vespúcio came across Noronha in 1503, when, at service of the Portuguese King, he commanded a fleet which explored the Brazilian coast.
In past centuries, Fernando de Noronha was invaded by the Dutch, the French and the British, all wanting to establish a base in an strategic spot. In the 19th century, the island became a penal colony; during this period, the forests were cut down, to prevent prisoners from using the trees to build boats and escape. More recently, during the Military Period, Noronha was used to isolate political prisoners (the most famous of which was Miguel Arraes, ex-governor of the State of Pernambuco).
In 1942, Noronha became Federal Territory (an area administered by the Federal Government). After the Federal Constitution of 1988, Noronha was turned into a Distric of the State of Pernambuco; the Governor of Pernambuco appoints a manager to Noronha.
The tourism is the major source of jobs and income in the Territory of Fernando de Noronha. Most of the population is involved in lodging, restaurants or commerce targeted to tourists.
Because the entire island is protected by the environment legislation, there are several restrictions to the usage of the limited natural resources, and this is a factor to prevent other business sectors from growing.
Noronha is the only place in Brazil where visitors must pay, on top of all ordinary expenses, an environment preservation tax; all proceeds from this tax are used towards the ecological preservation of the island (for example, all wastings are sent by boat for processing in the continent).
For further information, visit the this site.
Fernando de Noronha, a piece of paradise on Earth, is administered by the State of Pernambuco. The islands are surrounded by breath taking beaches. The interior of the islands offer trails for trekkings with some of the most beautiful viewings in Brazil.
Altogether, there are 16 beaches in the archipelago, all inhabited by a rich fauna and flora; several species of fish, coral, turtles and dolphins can be observed by the visitors.
To those who practice surf and diving, Noronha is a must go place. Surfers from around the around are attracted by beaches like Cacimba do Padre, with waves considered ideal for the practice of surfing.
To live a bit of the History of Noronha, visit the century-old Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception) or some of the ten fortresses which still exist in the island. The fortresses were built right on the spots which afford the best points of viewing in the archipelago.
To learn some legends and stories, visit the Memorial Noronhense - Espaço Cultural Américo Vespúcio, considered the museum of Noronha.
It used to be the case that most lodging in the island was provided by rustic inns or even houses of the residents; over the past years, however, a few upscale hostels have been built. Notice, however, that the ecological restrictions still apply; the number of visitors is limited, and all must pay the Environmental Protection Tax.
Source of information: IBGE and Government of the State of Pernambuco
Credit of photos: Government of the State of Pernambuco