The Road to Iguacu
Iguassu Falls Nat'l Park
Macuco Boat Safari
Iguazu Falls Rest.
Foz Tropicana Aviary
6 - Rafain Churrascaria
7 - The Road to Noronha
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
Rio de Janeiro
Fernando de Noronha
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ROAD TO NORONHA
BRAZIL TRAVELOGUE - DAY
3 - FERNANDO DE NORONHA BRAZIL
Watching the Sun Rise from 25,000 Feet over Brazil.
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.
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!
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
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
The tiny confines of
Fernando de Noronha Airport.
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, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.
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
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 and our steaming
pile of a dune buggy.
We have better
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, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.
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
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.
Chillin' in our hammock
on the front porch of 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.
Continue to Day 4 -
Fernando de Noronha
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