A city of contrasts, art and above all enchanting beaches. Nicknamed the "Venice of Brazil" or the "Brazilian Hollywood\ Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco, has an enviable cultural heritage and a history full of contamination. Ancient combined with modern. Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch and French colonies have left their mark on the city, including museums, fortresses, bridges, monuments and neoclassical buildings. There is also nature with protected areas where you can relax and learn about the flora of the area, such as the Parque Dona Lindu designed by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, a multifunctional space with sculptures and also the Janete Costa art gallery, not to mention the Luiz Mendoca theatre or other attractions such as skate parks, play areas for children and many events on the weekend. The real treasure however, are the wonderful urban beaches, with the clear sea, white sand and sun of Brazil.
An irresistible mix that has inspired the greatest interpreters of Brazilian music such as Caetano Veloso or Toquinho, and that attracts millions of visitors every year. A paradise also for those who love scuba diving: there are over a hundred underwater wrecks to discover and admire the microcosms that have formed over the years. One of the beaches not to be missed of course is the famous Praia de Boa Viagem, a real symbol, but also the Pina Area. Also worth visiting is the area of the island of Itamaracà on the North Coast with its calm and peaceful sea, and beautiful beaches. You just have to discover all this beauty, following our guide to the 10 best beaches.
The top 10 beaches in Recife
- Praia de Boa Viagem
- Praia de Calhetas
- Porto de Galinhas
- Praia dos Carneiros
- Praia de Maria Farinha
- Praias de Pina
- Praia de Muro Alto
- Praia de Maracaipe
- Praias de Itamaracà
- Praia de Coroa do Aviao
Praia de Boa Viagem
Crystal clear and calm waterscoconut palms that stand out and enrich the landscape: this is the beach of Boa Viagem. Most hotels, restaurants and nightclubs are concentrated here, as well as craft shops. Its name is auspicious and means "have a good trip". A wish that brought its luck given that it is by many considered the most beautiful city beach in the world. You won't get bored for a second here. You can relax on the sand and take relaxing walks or long runs along 7 kilometres of coastline. The only counterpoint is not to go too far off shore to avoid shark attacks. Environmentalists say the reason for their proliferation could be the destruction of the region's coastal ecosystem, caused by fishing boats moving closer and closer to the coast.
Those who want to continue to enjoy the view, perhaps in a less crowded place, can decide to go to Jaboatão and Candeias: the extensions of Boa Viagem beach, south of Recife. The "have a good trip" beach also offers the chance to taste the local specialities. Street vendors offer everything from bean soup, to freshly caught seafood and cheeses. They can be combined with green coconut water or the classic Caipirinha (a mix of cachaca, brown sugar and lime).
Praia de Calhetas
A beach, which is a little gem: a 200-metre heart shaped strip, surrounded by rocks. It is renowned for diving, deep-sea fishing and surfing: it is located about forty kilometres from Recife, and is in the municipality of Cabo de Santo Agostinho, famous for its important port and industrial complex. You can also admire the beauty of the area from above, thanks to a zip line with which you will be suspended up in the air and enjoy the surrounding landscapes from a prime location, including lakes, rivers, gorges or waterfalls. The beach is surrounded by two stone hills that meet the sea, while a small path leads to a lookout that offers great views of the beach. A panoramic moment definitely to share with your family or friends.
Porto de Galinhas
"No hectic traffic, no noisy nightlife, just relaxation and eyes open to admire its beauty And if you don't even want to keep your eyes open, why not rest in a hammock by the transparent, warm emerald waters of the Atlantic." This is how an enthusiastic traveller describes the beach at Porto de Galinhas, a true jewel of Recife. An institution that was voted "Best Brazilian Beach" eight times in a row by readers of the Brazilian magazine Voyage & Tourism. The main reasons are simple: the beauty of natural pools (the closest to the coast, all over Brazil), nature trails, hotel infrastructure, proximity to a large city (Recife) and its airport. This beach is the Ideal place for diving, snorkelling and for taking walks along the white-sand coast. Here you can fully enjoy a spectacular corner of the Atlantic.
The name refers to the period Slavery and was a kind of codename. The slaves, who arrived terrified, were, in fact, hidden under crates of guinea fowl and were announced with the phrase "There are new chickens" (galinhas) to avoid arousing suspicions and government controls after the abolition of slavery. Slaves were in high demand as labor for working the land in this area.
Praia dos Carneiros
Beauty sometimes has prickly traits and is not a quality that immediately jumps to the eye. Instead it must be researched and valued with patience. The difficulties in reaching Praia dos Carneiros probably have preserved its charm intact for a long time. From Recife you have to travel more than 100 kilometres to visit another candidate for the title of most beautiful beach in Brazil. Located in the city of Sant'Agostino, the menu is always amazing: crystal clear, calm and warm waters, ideal for snorkelling lovers, or even for a unique and relaxing swim in the sea. However, you can also arrange horseback rides and catamaran trips in the natural pools. Nature is also one of the strengths of this area. The region is surrounded by rocks, beautiful vegetation and retains that enveloping and somewhat wild look. According to various legends its name comes from the name of one of the former owners of the area, Mr. José Henrique Carneiros. Nearby you can also dive into history and architecture, since there is a church from the 1700s, lapped by the waves. A simple structure, but of great impact dedicated to St. Benedict.
Praia de Maria Farinha
Praia de Maria Farinha is situated between the River Timbo and the sea. The soft beach of white sand stretches for four kilometres, surrounded by coconut trees, mangoes and mangroves. In this paradise, the low tide forms natural pools full of colourful fish. The waters are calm, shallow and clear, perfect for water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking, diving and water skiing. The area is also surrounded by beautiful woodland, and there is also a child-friendly attraction nearby: the Venice Water Park, with slides and swimming pools spread across an area of more than 90,000 square metres. Maria Farinha belongs to the Paulista district. In addition to the famous beach, the region has other attractions such the beaches at Janga and Forte Pau Amarelo, built in 1700.
Not to be missed is also the city of Olindaconsidered to be a world cultural heritage site. It has gained its notoriety thanks to its beautiful buildings, views, art galleries, not to mention its enchanting sunsets.
Praias de Pina
It is one of the most popular and visited beaches by tourists on the coast of Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco and is a continuation of the beach of Boa Viagem. The ingredients are always attractive and pleasant, as you move between golden sand, natural pools and calm, warm, child-friendly waters. The scenario is heavenly and dominated by coconut palms also located near residential and commercial buildings. Praias de Pina is a beach suitable for water sports like kite surfing. There are areas on the beach where you can also play tennis, football and there is an ideal path for those who want to walk. For lovers of two wheels you can take advantage of the breeze and take a ride along the bike path present along the whole coast. Another idea is to take the kids for a little skate ride. Often the atmosphere is coloured by groups of young people, returning from festivities, enjoying the sunrise, lying near the shore. Residents consider the beach a good destination for have a nice day at the beach, both with family and friends. There are, in fact, places for eating and sharing, ranging from bars to restaurants, hotels, and inns where you can gorge on Fish and local specialities.
Praia de Muro Alto
The north-eastern coast of Brazil also has treasures and natural beauty to admire and fill up. One example is the beautiful beaches of clear water in Muro Alto, in the city of Hypojuca. The beach of Alto Muro owes its name to the large cliffs and is located near the famous Porto de Galinhas beach and the industrial complex of Suape Port. It is a place where you can go with children thanks to the calm water and no waves. But it's not the only peculiarity of the place: the wide coral reef has created hot, clear natural pools at low tide and is full of charm. The white sand with palm trees frames luxurious condos and some of the country's best and finest resorts that occupy the entire coastline. There are not only families here, this beautiful hidden place also attracts lovers of watersports such as canoeing and water skiing. It's a great place for boat trips too.
Praia de Maracaipe
Just a few kilometres from the famous Porto de Galinhas beach, you'll find the beach of Maracaipe, a perfect seaside resort for sports. It is no coincidence that it is called the Brazilian paradise of surf. A beach where you can find corners of solitude and silence with its tall coconut palms and golden sand resembles a postcard photograph: waves are up to 3 metres high and reggae music in the beach bars adds a unique atmosphere. This is almost exclusively a surfers’ beach: the beach is home to important national and international surfing championships. But for those who don’t know how to surf or want to try their hand at the sport, there is no problem since it is possible to attend courses for beginners.
Located in the city of Ipojuca, The beach of Maracaipe has several kiosks or hangouts where you can have a tasty snack or quench your thirst. In addition, you can walk to the Todos os Santos Village, a centre where it is easy to find numerous local restaurants and enjoy different fish dishes. Until several years ago the area was a semi-deserted beach with only a little-frequent campsite, now, instead, there are inns, hotels and hostels and everything for the conveniences of tourists.
Praias de Itamaracà
The island of Itamaracà is home to quiet beaches, with refreshing blue waters perfect for invigorating and intense bathing. There are two ways to go: crossing the bridge over the Jaguaribe River or enjoying a boat crossing from Maria Farinha beach. There is a beautiful road full of places to stop and see in the area. There are several beaches to visit for those who want to fully enjoy the holiday: one is Praia de Forte Orange, with its calm blue sea, a wide strip of sand and palm trees as a side dish. Praia Forno Da Cal is an ideal place for relaxing baths in the calm sea surrounded by rocks and varied vegetation: a real oasis. Praia de Ponta Verde has calm seas with cliffs that form natural pools at low tide, where you can see fish of various species. Enseada de Golfinhos is a lively beach that's very popular in high season. Pontal Da Ilha enjoys a perfect sea to swim in thanks to its calm waters. It is worth admiring Barn Island from here. Another treat is Praia de Juagaribe, very popular with tourists and residents for its calm sea suitable for swimming and water sports. Numerous bars and restaurants serving mainly fresh seafood dishes. Also to be mentioned is Praia Do Pilar, the most urbanised beach with the best infrastructure of the island, known for its calm and clear sea.
Praia de Coroa do Avio
Coroa do Avio is one of the most beautiful places on the north coast of Pernambuco. When the tide is low it has calm, crystal clear waters, with beautiful natural pools. It is located about 40 kilometres from Recife. In 1600, the island, (which is about 560 metres long and 80 metres wide), was conquered by the Dutch who built the fort at the southern end (Fort Orange). The origin of the name "Crown of the Plane" is cloaked in legend and several anecdotes, and perhaps comes from the news of a plane that made a forced landing on the island in the 1950s, due to an engine problem. According to others, however, the name of the beach derives from the shape of the beach seen from above that would recall "a kind of plane". The island is the natural habitat of migratory birds. Since 1994, the island has housed the station for studies of migratory birds, under the responsibility of the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco. There have been 17 migratory species from the northern hemisphere registered in Coroa do Avio. Ornithology studies are conducted in particular on coastal birds migrating from the Arctic to the Brazilian coast. The station also conducts other research in the areas of mapping, fisheries engineering and alternative energy sources, in particular solar energy.
Considered one of the city's most sought-after destinations, this beach is known for its natural beauty and pleasant climate. The heavenly appearance of the islet attracts visitors from all over Brazil and even from abroad. In high season a lot of people come on site at the weekend. The combination of tranquillity with white sand and calm, clear waters is truly inviting. They say that admiring the sunset on this beach has no equal. Like many beaches in the area, the amenities are very efficient and there is no shortage of bars and restaurants specialising in serving fish. Among the other destinations to visit in the area is definitely the town of Igarassu which houses the oldest church in all of Brazil: the mother church of Sao Cosme and Sao Damiao for which construction began in 1500, and is characterised by a sober, white facade. Its interior is embellished with 18th-century paintings depicting scenes from the Dutch War and the daily life of the city, which make up the space of the sacresty and choir, and the arch of the chapel. In the 1950s, its Baroque features were replaced by traces of Jesuit architecture, more sober and measured. The Saints are credited with a miracle supposedly happened in 1685. When the nearby towns of Recife, Olinda, Itamarac and Goiana were decimated by yellow fever, Igarassu remained unharmed.
Depart for Recife with Costa Cruises
Recife is a multifaceted city, which knows how to mix, art, natural beauties and gastronomic dishes full of personality. The Old Town of Recife is definitely worth a visit. It is the old part of the city where it seems that time has stopped in the past century, a mix of colonial colours and historic buildings that give an idea of the history of this city and of Brazil as a whole. There are plenty of ideal bars and cafes in this area to enjoy the atmosphere, but don't overlook the craft fair of Recife, which is held every Sunday in the Bairro do Recife. In addition, dance performances and cultural events are also often held, with stands of typical products, books and small objects of art, in addition to the inevitable shows of maracatu (percussion).
Don't miss the visits to some historic places of Recife in the central Praca da Republica, such as the Palacio do Campo das Princesas or the Teatro de Santa Isabel dating back to 1850. Worthy of a trip to Recife are also the typical dishes, often made with seafood, amongst many crab and lobster omelette, but in general a large variety of fish dishes, seafood and crabs. Inland, there is no shortage of meat dishes such as "buchada" (stew with goat tripe or lamb) But as we've seen, the real treasures are the beaches, rather than describing them, you have to try them, experiencing the beauty and charm of the sea, the coast and all the opportunities it offers. An hour's flight from the metropolis is also the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, a World Heritage Site, an unforgettable and almost unspoiled place, famous for the wonderful beaches, crystal clear water, lush flora and amazing fauna. So many treasures in one area, enclosed in a single trip.