1. Head to the shore, but stay on the sand
Boa Viagem is the most famous beach destination in the city and the longest stretch of urbanised seafront in Brazil, at a lengthy 8 km. A coral reef barrier keeps the waves tamed and the water temperature at around 25 degrees, but be advised that shark attacks occur often. It’s not a bad idea to stay dry on the sand sipping a cocktail or fresh coconut.
2. Follow the rainbow
Olinda is one of the prettiest colonial towns in Brazil with its houses painted in bright, bright colours. It’s only 6km from Recife and is a UNESCO Heritage site. The Portuguese built the city on a hill in order to better defend themselves in the case of an invasion. Its elevated position gives this gem an outlook of uninterrupted ocean views. You’ll also see some jaw-dropping buildings like the enormous Saint Francis Monastery.
3. Say yes to street food
Tia Lu has been selling tapioca or cassava starch pancakes in Olinda for over 50 years. There is a list of fillings as long as your arm, but the most popular varieties are coconut and condensed milk for the sweet-tooths, or cheese and sun-dried meat for a savory bite. It’s sold as a snack, but we dare you to fit in lunch after you’ve tried one.
4. Discover the Dutch touch
Recife was originally founded by Dutch colonisers and they left their mark on the architecture around the old town, with its tall and narrow buildings. Here you’ll find the oldest synagogue in the Americas. Built in 1636, for years it has served the local Jewish community that settled in Recife centuries ago.
5. Find your Forró fever
Caruaru is a country town 130 km from Recife that lies in the dry, desert region of the state. The city is known as the capital of Forró, a much loved music and dance style that is usually the soundtrack of the St. John celebrations in June when the city hosts a huge party. You can find Forró parties all year round and fun is guaranteed.
6. Where to eat
Oficina do Sabor (Rua do Amparo, 335, Olinda)
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