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1 - The Road to Iguacu

2 - Iguassu Falls Nat'l Park

3 - Macuco Boat Safari

4 - Iguazu Falls Rest.

5 - Foz Tropicana Aviary

6 - Rafain Churrascaria

7 - The Road to Noronha

8 - Fernando de Noronha

9 - Sueste Bay Snorkeling

10 - Farewell to Fernando

11 - The Road to Rio

12 - The Hippie Market

13 - Sugar Loaf Mountain

14 - Copacabana Palace

15 - Too Much Gluten

16 - Botanical Gardens

17 - Buzios

18 - Copacabana

19 - Ipanema Beach

20 - Plataforma Show

21 - Corcovado Mountain

Travelogue Main Page



Introduction to Brazil

Impressions of Brazil

Brazil Travelogue

Rio de Janeiro

Iguassu Falls

Fernando de Noronha

Scuba Diving


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Sunrise over Curitiba Brazil
Watching the Sun Rise from 25,000 Feet over Brazil.

BEEP...BEEP...BEEP...The alarm sounds at 3:30AM - time to get up and get to Foz Do Iguacu Airport to fly to Fernando de Noronha, a tiny island off the northeast coast of Brazil where we'll scuba dive for the next couple of days.  Eddie picks us up at the hotel at 4:30AM and takes us to the airport.  He helps us with our bags through customs (a matter of sliding them through an x-ray machine just like you do with your carry-on baggage), and shows us where the departure hall is for Varig (just around the corner - the airport is very small). 

We get checked in, and fly out at 6:00AM sharp - on our way to Curitiba, where we make a pit stop before continuing to Sao Paulo, about a 2 hour flight. 


 In Sao Paulo, we change planes and after standing in a giant departure line at security, we fly out to Recife at 9:45AM.  Sandra tries to make us miss our plane by insisting that the plane that is leaving is not ours - luckily I complain loudly enough we go over and ask - sure enough it's ours! 

After a 4 hour flight to Recife, we land again - the skies, heavily overcast at Sao Paulo are now a brilliant blue. A quick jump over to another plane and we're on our way to Fernando de Noronha, a small island off the northeast coast of Brazil, where we'll stay for three nights and do some scuba diving.  The flight is a quick one, just about 55 minutes from start to finish - the waters are a brilliant aquamarine and our mouth waters as we think of scuba diving.


We arrive at the airport and are taken aback by just how small it is.  There is really only room for maybe 50 people in the airport at one time.  We deplane on the tarmac and walk over to the tax line where everyone who enters the island has to pay a $33BR per person per day conservation tax, used to preserve the marine park that encompasses the entire island.  A half-hour later we're through the line, grab our bags, find our shuttle and we're off to the Pousada da Morena.  The shuttle operator tries to sell us tours, but doesn't speak any English, as we're quick to find out is the norm on this island.  We try to explain through a translator (the only other passenger on the shuttle) that we've already pre-reserved our tours and dives through Karitas in Recife before we arrived, and eventually we're understood.

Fernando de Noronha Airport
The tiny confines of Fernando de Noronha Airport.

The island is not lush and green, it's mostly scrub with reddish dirt, much like Lanai or the dry side of Molokai in Hawaii.  The oceans beyond are beautiful, and so are the beaches - the island itself isn't the attraction for sure, though it is cozy (we like that).  Our Pousada is about five minutes from the airport, up a read dirt and rock road.

Pousada da Morena
Pousada da Morena, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

The booking through Karitas is a total pain, however, as instead of reserving us times for our tours, they made reservations for a date range and we were supposed to call the tour companies when we arrived and set up a time and date. I'm thinking (and vocalizing quite loudly) "Isn't most of the reason to book in advance so I don't have to do this when I get here"?  Sure enough, as we feared, we arrive at the Pousada da Morena and the hotel desk clerk speaks no English (she is very friendly and helpful though - we just don't know what she is saying).  She explains to us how to use the telephone to call, but we again don't have a clue what she is saying. 


When we get back to the room, we attempt to call the tour operators but can't figure out the telephone system.  After much frustration and cussing Karitas, we finally make contact with LocBuggy who is to be our tour operator for an Island Tour and a LocSub activity where you get towed behind a boat with scuba gear on, but what do you know?  Nobody there speaks any English.  So, unable to communicate, we give up and decided to ditch LocBuggy.  Besides, we'd e-mailed them before we left and never got any response, and even though we have reservations and they knew where we were staying, they didn't try to contact us to confirm either.  Plus, if they speak no English, how will they give us a fun tour anyway?

Sandra with Dune Buggy
Sandra and our steaming pile of a dune buggy.

We have better luck with Atlantis Divers who is our dive shop.  They have one person who speaks English, but we have to find a way down to their dive shop to fill out paperwork for the next day's dives.  So, we ask the hotel desk to arrange a rental dune buggy (the vast majority of the transportation on the island, though there are taxis and a bus).  She is happy to help, and within about a half-hour, a guy shows up with our buggy.  Of course, he doesn't speak any English either, so we have to try through hand gestures and drawing to negotiate a price.  We settle on $50USD per day.

Restaurante da Edilma
Restaurante da Edilma, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

The buggy is a total heap of crap - none of the gauges or seatbelts works, the seat is held in place by a block of wood, it barely starts or runs, the gas pedal sticks and you have to kick it to get it to engage.  The emergency brake is covered in grease, and the seatbelts stain our clothes with red goo.  But, since he is now gone, we can't very well tell anyone about this, so we decide to make the best of it.  We sputter and backfire our way down to first the Airport to take out cash out of the only ATM on the island, then to Atlantis Divers to fill out our papers.  Luckily the one person who speaks English is still working there and she is very nice.


We stop "downtown" and have dinner at Restaurante da Edilma, a restaurant that seems to be run by 12 year old girls who don't speak English.  We order a shark steak (a house specialty), and a shrimp dish - both of which are fairly bland and uninspiring, similar to other Brazilian food we've have so far.  A Swedish guy comes in and says in Swedish "This is a restaurant?" and quickly leaves, but there gradually trickle in a few more people.  We are in a room with three tables, two internet kiosks, and a television, about six feet by 10 feet. The restaurant is fairly expensive, but we are served a fair amount of food.


Afterward, we head back to our Pousada to check out the place.  As with most of the Pousadas (small, government run inns) on the island, it has about five rooms, including one room that is it's own little separate apartment. Each of the rooms has it's own hammock and chair on the porch, and our room has air conditioning, a pretty nice bathroom, a television (with four Portuguese-only channels) and even a wireless internet connection!  It is a decent sized room with 110V as well as 220V outlets.  I hop in the shower to find out that there will be no hot showers this trip.  The "solar heated" water runs cold, but I suck it up - better get used to it now - we're here for three nights.

Pousada da Morena
Chillin' in our hammock on the front porch of the pousada.

The Pousada has it's own restaurant, the Trattoria di Morena, an Italian restaurant, which is quite pleasant.  We go in for appetizers and drinks and order a Carpaccio Beef dish - we had no idea what it was, but figure what the heck.  We are unpleasantly surprised to find out that Carpaccio means raw meat.  I try one piece, and almost heave right there.  Sandra doesn't even want to try it.  We send it back and order some Bruschetta, which is average at best.  We finish up our drinks and head for bed - tomorrow will be a busy day.


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