TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2007. FERNANDO DE NORONHA, BRAZIL. After a one hour flight from Recife (Varig Brasil, 771 Reals round trip ~$385), we have arrived on Fernando De Noronha, the main and only populated island in an archipelago off Brazil's northeast coast. The diving and beaches are supposed to be the best in Brazil, if not all of South America. There is also a huge pod of dolphins that live in the area. Our plan is to spend five days enjoying and exploring the islands before returning to Recife.
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TUESDAY-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 3, 2007. FERNANDO DE NORONHA, BRAZIL. The first thing you do upon arriving at Fernando De Noronha's airport is pay about R$33 ($16) per day of your intended stay as an "ecological use tax". Ouch! It's probably one of the worst ways to welcome tourists.
We ended up spending three and a half days on Noronha. We found accommodation at Pousada Do Trinta, at R$ 90 (~$45) for a twin, one of the cheapest accommodation on the island according to a tour agent. The island is only about 6 kilometers (4 miles) wide, making walking a possibility. There is a public bus that runs the three quarters of the length of the island (R$2.85). Jeff and I used it quite a bit to get around.
As with most islands, the things to do were hiking, swimming, snokeling, surfing, boat tours, and scuba diving. I confined myself to hiking and swimming. We were quoted over US$100 for a two tank dive, which is outrageously expensive compared to my twelve dives (so far) around the world.
The island turned out to be largely a couples' destination--very few backpackers, perhaps because it was a very expensive place to visit. Although called the Brazilian Hawaii by locals, Noronha does not come close to matching the beauty, culture, and diversity of the Hawaiian islands. Still, we enjoyed our time exploring the numerous beaches, headlands, and trails around the island, while resting and relaxing in between.