Brazil’s Fernando de Noronha

South America - Editor - 10 December 2009

Brazil’s Fernando de Noronha

It is still disputed as to who discovered the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. Some believe the islands were discovered by Gaspar de Lemos, some credit it to Fernao de Noronha and others name Amerigo Vespucci. But there are two well known facts about the islands. Firstly, the islands were documented as Ilha de Fernando de Noronha by Martim Alfonso de Souza in 1530, and secondly, they are absolutely breathtaking islands. Located off the coast of Brazil, Fernando de Noronha has become a popular destination for tourists.

There are twenty small islands and one large island that make up the archipelago, with the main island covering an area of approximately eighteen square kilometers. Following the introduction of reforestation, small forest areas have been taking shape on the island. This had to be done due to the original forests being cut down out of fear that the prisoners, who were held on the island, could use the forest to build rafts. According to the United Nations Environment Program, there are an estimated fifteen plant species which are endemic to the islands, while the rest were introduced by humans. In regard to the bird species on the islands, there are two endemic species, as well as one rat species and two reptile species that are also endemic.

But it is the breathtaking marine life in waters surrounding the islands that attract the most visitors. Scuba diving is the most popular activity on the islands, and the untouched beaches of Fernando de Noronha are a part of the attraction. The most frequented beaches include Sancho Beach, Conceicao Beach, Cacimba do Padre Beach, Golfinhos Bay, Porcos Bay, San Antonio Port Bay and Boldro Beach. It is of no concern to the visitors of Fernando de Noronha that there are no tourist facilities or tourism infrastructure, as they visit the islands to enjoy the beauty of nature in its untouched form. Due to conservation efforts in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, and the government’s determination to keep the islands as uninhabited as possible, permit fees increase with longer visits and visitor numbers are restricted to four hundred and twenty at a time. All these strict precautions ensure the survival of the islands and the wildlife that resides here, making a visit to Fernando de Noronha truly unique and unforgettable.


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