A small, mountainous archipelago off the northeastern coast 320 mi/510 km northeast of Recife, Fernando de Noronha is a true island paradise that offers stunning primitive beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, completely unspoiled natural surroundings and, above all, superb diving, snorkeling and surfing in its incredibly clear, crystalline waters. The islands were declared an environmental reserve in 1986. The beaches of Baia do Sancho, Baia dos Porcos and Praia do Leao are considered among the most beautiful in Brazil.
Because of the difficulty and expense involved with getting there, most people spend four or five nights in the islands. Tourism is carefully controlled, but there is an increasing number of simple but well-equipped hotels and restaurants. There are flights from Recife and Natal to the island.
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