Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazilâ€™s hidden treasure
Fri, Dec 4th 2009, 12:43
The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is a paradise 200 kilometres from mainland Brazil. The National Marine Sanctuary of Fernando de Noronha is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the spectacular diversity of marine species in this unspoiled wonderland.
The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is one of Brazil's hidden natural treasures. The warm equatorial currents make for rich waters that provide breeding grounds for tuna, shark, turtle and other marine mammals. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin and at low tide the Rocas Atoll provides a spectacular seascape of lagoons and tidal pools teeming with fish. The islands also have the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. It is for these reasons that Fernando de Noronha has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fernando de Noronha housed a prison in the nineteenth century. Most of the natural forest was cut down at this stage to prevent prisoners making themselves rafts to escape. The vegetation on the islands is now mostly low shrub.
The islands are largely unpopulated, though there is a scattering of small settlements which mostly cater to the tourist trade. Visitor numbers to the archipelago are restricted to 420 people at a time to avoid putting strain onto this rich environment. The islands have some truly spectacular settings and beautiful beaches. Warm waters, the abundant sealife and a shipwriecked Brazilian warship lying at 60 metres make for perfect diving.
Visitors can reach the islands of Fernando de Noronha by boat from Recife or Natal, or by plane. You will need to pay an environmental permit fee to stay on Fernando de Noronha.