Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, around 354 km (220 miles) offshore from the Brazilian coast. The main island has an area of 18.4 square kilometres (7.1 sq mi) and had a population of 3,012 in the year 2008. The area is a special municipality (distrito estadual) of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco (despite being closer to the state of Rio Grande do Norte) and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its timezone is UTC−2h. The local population and travellers can get to Noronha by plane or cruise from Recife (545km) or by plane from Natal (360km). A small environmental preservation fee is charged from tourists upon arrival by Ibama (Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).
The climate is tropical, with two well-defined seasons. The rainy season lasts from March to September, the rest of the year sees little rain.
The islands of this archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains. Consisting of 21 islands, islets and rocks of volcanic origin, the main island has an area of 18 km² (7.1 miles²), being 10 km (6.2 miles) long and 3.5 kilometres (2.170 mi) wide at its maximum. The base of this enormous volcanic formation is 756 m below the surface. The main island, from which the group gets its name, makes up 91% of the total area.