Whereas elegant Rio de Janeiro and cosmopolitan São Paulo may be the best-known places in Brazil, the Northeast, or Nordeste is one of the liveliest - a land of sunny beaches, colonial towns, vibrating street parties, music and friendly people.
Nine states comprise the Northeast region, counting along the coast from the south:
Despite being grouped together, culturally and geographically speaking some of those states can be very far apart from each other.
- Fortaleza - the pleasant capital of Ceará and close to several spectacular beaches
- João Pessoa - the capital of Paraíba, with the easternmost point in the Americas
- Juazeiro do Norte - One of Brazil's most famous pilgrimage sites, located in rural Ceará.
- Maceio - the beautiful capital city of Alagoas, known as the "Waters' Paradise"
- Natal - Founded on the 25th of december (Natal means Christmas in Portuguese), and the capital of Rio Grande do Norte
- Recife - a major city and the capital of Pernambuco
- Salvador (Salvador da Bahia) - the capital of Bahia, rich in African influence and colonial architecture
- São Luís - a major city, capital of Maranhão and halfway between Amazon and Northeast.
- Teresina - Considered by some to be the hottest city in Brazil, it is the capital of Piauí and a gateway to exploring the pre-historic remains in Serra da Capivara.
- Abrolhos — archipelago off the coast of Bahia
- Chapada Diamantina National Park
- Fernando de Noronha — tropical island paradise in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Is protected as a Marine National Park since 1997 and a World Heritage Site
- Ilha dos Poldros — an island right by the main mouth of the Parnaíba river
- Lençóis Maranhenses — stunning white sand dunes
- Parque Nacional de Sete Cidades — created as a national park mainly because of the paintings, although most viritors find more pleasure in rock formations and wildlife
- Serra da Capivara National Park — a protected area and World Heritage site, contains the oldest prehistoric rock paintings in the Americas
The Northeast is the sunniest of Brazilian regions. Although this may mean long periods of drought for the mainly agricultural inland of some states (and thus crop losses and widespread poverty), the climate also provides almost year-round opportunities for beach-going and other outdoor activities. Long favoured by Brazilian holiday makers, the Northeast has also become increasingly popular with European travellers, especially from Portugal, Spain and Italy due to language and cultural similarities.
The region was also the original site of European colonization in Brazil. The first Europeans landed in Bahia, set up the country's first capital in Salvador, and over the next centuries brought millions of slaves from Africa to the region. Added to the indigenous population, the result is a fascinating rich cultural mix that makes up some often unknown faces of Brazilian culture.
- oxente (oh shench) or oxe (oshe) :Sounds like "Oh Shit", but actually it is an interjection. It can mean admiration, surprise or a misunderstanding.
- a suprise.
- homossexual (only in Pernambuco)
The largest airports are Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza, which provide easy access to most of Brazil. Some international flights too, but nothing compared to Rio or São Paulo. At present construction is under way in Natal of what is supposed to be the largest Airport in Brazil.
- Buchada de Bode: made with the white entrails of a goat, with rice and farofa on the side. Not for the weak of stomach.
- Carne de Sol (sun-dried meat): beef jerky, a very traditional cearense food item, eaten in a wide array of styles, often splashed with clarified butter
- Escondidinho: dish of shredded beef jerky (or shredded chicken breast, or shrimps) topped with mashed cassava, seasoned with clarified butter and gratin with coalho cheese
- Macaxeira frita: cassava fries, frequently enjoyed as a late night snack
- Moqueca: seafood stew made with coconut milk
- Rapadura: brick of dried raw garapa (sugarcane juice). Very caloric and durable and portable and rich in vitamin C. Traditional cowboy fare
- Sarapatel: made with the red entrails and blood of a goat or pig. Another dish not for the weak of stomach.
- Açaí: thick creamy purple juice from the grated fruit of the açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea); particularly tasty when served with crushed cashew nuts (castanha de caju), whipped with banana and honey.
- Cajuína: delicious clarified juice from the pulpy part of the cashew fruit, sold in glass bottles