Recife (Brazil) is a mixture of past and present, a city of harmonious contrast between old monuments and modern constructions. Recife Antico - at present refurbished and packed with bars, restaurants and plenty of nightlife - is a good example of its colonial past, with buildings from 17th. and 18th. centuries reflecting both Portuguese and Dutch legacy in Brazil.
Its name means reef (Recife in Portuguese), as the city is positioned behind a long coastal reef.
Boa Viagem beach is a good example of this, a 7 km. stretch that goes from Pina (in the north) to Piedade (in the south), with white sand and emerald-green waters.
Porto do Galinhas - about 60 km. to the south - is the most famous destination in the whole Pernambuco State and ranked among the top ten Brazil beaches.
It runs for about 18 km. with a chain of reefs lining all along. during low tide, water gets trapped by the reefs forming "piscinas naturais" (natural pools).
The name Porto do Galhinas means Port of Chickens.
In the 18th. century, when traffic of slaves was forbidden, chicken was the code name to refer to slaves.
Recife is also a favorite destination for scuba diving fans, with a shipwreck yard full of sunken boats...
And of course, it's the main gateway to Fernando de Noronha, and extraordinary heaven for diving and snorkeling about 550 km. away.
But is through its Carnival celebration that the city -and nearby town of Olinda - are really famous for, making it one of the top tourist attractions in Brazil.
People dancing to the music of Frevo and Maracatu bands...
Frevo is a creation of the Recife Carnival played by brass-bands that can contain up to 36 musicians.
A fast paced music and dance performed with colorful umbrellas.
The street Frevo is divided in..
Maracatu is a carnival group from Pernambuco, with close ties to Afro-Brazilian ceremonies.
It's composed of a small percussion orchestra with several types of drums, agogô, rattles, women dancers and a male singer.
There are two types of Maracatu..
The Carnival's highlight starts on Saturday with the Galo da Madrugada Group (Rooster of the Down), when over two million people follows a huge statue of a rooster while singing and dancing.
It will continue with the Night of the Silent Drums on Patio do Terço, to honor slaves that died in prison.
Your visit wouldn't be completed without a trip to Olinda - around 8 km. away.
It's a living museum and considered to be the origin of the entire Brazilian culture of the 16th. century.
Olinda is truly unique. A restored and preserved colonial town listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Landmark in 1982.
Please do not miss...
..and the Baroque style Churches...
You will land at Guararapes Intl. Airport. More info on this at airports in Brazil.
There are many lodging options, from simple guest houses, pousadas and hostels to luxurious and sophisticated hotels. Find and compare best hotel rates.
Alternatively, book budget accommodation in Recife and Porto do Galinhas.