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A city guide to Recife and Pernambuco – beaches, sunshine, carnivals and culture

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Located in central northeast Brazil, Recife and the state of Pernambuco have everything to make them one of the country's most interesting places to visit. Recife has a unique and lively culture and a warm sunny tropical coastal climate all year round. With the state's multicultural roots, dance, music art and cuisine it enchants visitors with originality, diversity, tradition, vibrant nightlife and colorful carnivals. Pernambuco locals are well known for their hospitality, always prepared to make any visitor's stay a pleasant and unforgettable experience. 

Chris Cobb

My Destination local expert on




Recife is a city full of contrasts and the capital of the state in which the Old Portuguese heritage of the colonial times is merged with modern constructions. Criss-crossed by rivers and washed by the sea, it is the regional hub for cultural life, services, health and leisure for the Northeast, in addition to being graded as the third most important gastronomic pole in the country. The city is home to hotels, restaurants, a modern international airport and cruise terminal, integrated bus services, plentiful and varied night life, modern shopping centers and a whole series of equipment and services. The state also has the largest convention center in Northeast Brazil, the 15,000-seat Pernambuco Convention Center. Here you’ll find an enormous air-conditioned pavilion for international and domestic trade fairs, two theatres, three auditoriums, 13 meeting rooms, VIP lounge and parking for 2,500 vehicles.




Olinda, the first Capital of Culture in Brazil, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the birthplace of the country’s most irreverent version of Carnival. The city also stands as a center for eating out, with bars and restaurants offering a wide range of both regional and international cuisine in a well-preserved colonial setting. An obligatory delicacy in Olinda is the famous and officially certified, tapioca, in addition to the traditional biscuits and spirits produced in convents and monasteries.


Fernando de Noronha


The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha may just be the closest thing to a paradise on earth – and all only an hour's flight away. Surrounded by clear water, visitors can take a closer look at the rich marine life, diving and snorkeling around the coral reefs, as if inside a huge natural aquarium, succumbing to the islands' natural enchantments.


Carneiros Beach


To the south of the region and along the coast, Pernambuco is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Brazil. Carneiros Beach has clear warm water, bordered by the sea and a river estuary, and is entirely surrounded by swaying coconut trees. Its sand banks, and the kilometers of long rocky reefs, form a spectacle of color and beauty, especially at low tide.


Porto de Galinhas


Elected many times as the most beautiful beach in Brazil, Porto de Galinhas is continually upping its game in order to receive international guests. Come and take a relaxing swim in the warm waters of the natural pools with various species of ornamental fish or visit the mangroves in a jangada, a sailboat used by fishermen. For those seeking adventure Maracaípe Beach nearby has some impressive surf, where waves can reach as much as six feet – ideal for those into their surfing and kite surfing.


Coroa do Avião Island


After an enjoyable boat ride up the northern coast you will arrive at Coroa do Avião Island, where bars and restaurants offer tropical drinks and local seafood dishes. Itamaracá Island and Maria Farinha are popular for those looking for beautiful beaches and tourist infrastructure for the family. The island's history can be seen at Fort Orange, next to the ocean, and some of the first churches built in Brazil.