Fernando de Noronha isn't easy: for one thing, most residents speak Portuguese (ask for someone who can understand English). Also, getting here takes a three-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo to Recife, and then a one-hour flight to the island. Because only 420 visitors are allowed on Fernando at one time, you need to book early. To get around the island, hire a dune buggy at Tartarugão Rent a Car in Remédios (55-81/619-1331, fax 55-81/619-1142; $47 a day).
There are more than 100 pousadas on Fernando de Noronha. Most have air-conditioning and private baths, but are otherwise very basic. Here, the top choices.
Pousada da Jô Rua dom Juquinha, Vila do Trinta; phone and fax 55-81/619-1337; doubles from $100. Built in 1991, the pousada has five rooms, each with its own veranda. Praia do Cachorro is a 10-minute walk away.
Pousada Morena 2600 Rua Nice Cordeiro, Floresta Nova; 55-81/466-4300, fax 55-81/619-1414; doubles from $90. A five-room pousada that serves fresh pasta and other Italian dishes.
Pousada Sueste Estrada do Sueste; phone and fax 55-81/619-1164; doubles from $100. Four rooms overlooking the Bay of Sueste. The Praia Sueste is right nearby.
Solar dos Ventos Estrada do Sueste; 55-81/619-1347, fax 55-81/619-1253; doubles from $90, including meals. By far the best and most secluded pousada. The four recently built two-room wooden bungalows all have verandas and fabulous views of the sea.
Bar do Boldró Ladeira do Boldró, Praia do Boldró; 55-81/619-1400; lunch for two $20. A beach shack that opens at 11 A.M. to sell fried fish and shrimp soup.
Tartarugão 238 Alameda do Boldró; 55-81/619-1331; dinner for two $35. The island's most urbane and lively restaurant, on a terrace near the center of town. Fantastic steaks—a "small" order consists of a sizzling plate holding five rather substantial slabs of beef.
Tubalhau Avda. Joaquim Francisco, Vila do Porto; 55-81/619-1365; lunch for two $15. On a veranda next to the harbor, it's the place for shark croquettes, served in a basket with toothpicks instead of forks.
Quietest Beach: Praia Sueste, where the water is deep and, at the end of the day, deliciously warm.
Finest Beach: Praia do Boldró, so vast that you'll never be at a loss for something to do. When you need some shade, head to one of Boldró's cafés.
Top Snorkeling Spots: Praia dos Porcos; Ataláia.
Most Beautiful Sight: Sunset from the fort.
Hottest Nightspot: The very scenic open-air Bar do Cachorro, for dancing and live samba, with the sound of crashing waves in the background.
Best Walk: Around the red and white Palacio do São Miguel, near the historic center of Remédios.
Want to See Flipper?
Baía dos Golfinhos, the Bay of Dolphins, is loaded with the mammals—but is off-limits to visitors. If you want to observe the dolphins, hire a boat from the port of Santo Antônio; your captain will take you close enough to look without touching.