Boa Viagem beach

Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, is one of the largest and most important cities on the northeastern coast of Brazil. This lively capital, originally founded by Dutch colonizers, is brimming with a vibrant culture, an interesting old town (which includes the oldest synagogue in the Americas) and some nice beaches.


Recife is on the Atlantic coast, at the mouth of the Capibaribe, Beberibe and Jordão Rivers, close to the easternmost point of the Americas. The climate is tropical, with two main seasons: dry (September–March) and rainy (April–August). Average annual temperature is 26°C (78.8°F), with limited variation. The city, which is only two meters above sea level (some parts are below), is distributed across rivers, canals and islands. Due to the prevalence of waterways in its geography, Recife is known as Veneza Brasileira (Brazilian Venice). Its 1.5 million inhabitants (3.5 million in the Grande Recife) are called recifenses. Services are the base of the economy. Despite the high incidence of poverty, the municipal Human Development Index (HDI) in 2000 (0.810) was above Brazil's national average (0.800). Recife is famous for its beaches, history, Carnaval, arts and cuisine.

The city can be roughly divided in four major areas:

The term Grande Recife is used to describe the Metropolitan Region of Recife, the fifth largest urban agglomeration in Brazil (after São Paulo, Rio de Janeio Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre) and the single largest in the Northeast. Grande Recife offers superb touristic attractions both in Recife proper and outside the city limits. Do not miss Olinda or Porto de Galinhas. The first is famous for its natural setting, colonial architecture and carnaval, while the second has been consistently voted the best beach in Brazil. Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Itamaracá Island and Igarassu are known for their beautiful beaches and important historical monuments.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 30.2 30.2 30.0 29.7 28.9 27.9 27.3 27.5 28.1 29.0 30.1 30.2
Nightly lows (°C) 22.4 22.6 22.7 22.6 21.9 21.6 21.1 20.6 20.7 21.4 21.9 22.2
Precipitation (mm) 108.2 148.2 256.9 337.6 318.5 377.9 388.1 204.8 122.0 63.0 35.7 56.8


Tourist information centers

Get in

Recife Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport

By plane

Recife's modern Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport (REC) is efficient, user-friendly and close to the city. There are direct scheduled flights to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Campinas, Caruaru, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Fernando de Noronha, Fortaleza, Maceió, Natal, João Pessoa, Aracaju, Petrolina, Campina Grande, Juazeiro do Norte, as well as to Buenos Aires, Frankfurt (Condor), Madrid (Iberia), Miami (American Airlines), Lisbon (TAP), Madrid, Oporto and Paris. There are also regular charter flights from other European cities, such as Milan, Helsinki and Amsterdam.

Domestic airlines operating regular scheduled flights to Recife: Azul, Avianca Brasil, GOL, Noar, Pantanal, TAM, TRIP, VARIG and WebJet.

From the airport

By car

By bus

Terminal Integrado de Passageiros (TIP), Rod BR 232 - Coqueiral, ☎ +55 81 3452-1999. Recife's long-distance bus terminal is way out in the suburbs. TIP is connected to the city by the MetroRec subway at the Rodoviária station on the Centro 1 line, around 15 minutes from downtown. Bus companies have booths at the Central MetroRec station in town, so at least you do not have to trek out just to buy advance bus tickets.

Direct buses to all Northeast and many other capital cities:

By boat

You can arrive in cruise ships at the Port of Recife. Cruises may come from other Brazilian states, from other countries in South America and the Caribbean, or from Europe. Transatlantic cruise liners include Holland America Line ms Rotterdam, Holland America Line ms Prisendam, Oceania Cruises Insignia, SeaDream Yacht Club, Royal Caribbean International Splendour of the Sea, P&O Cruises Artemis, Cunard Line Queen Elizabeth II, among others. Cruises from Recife to the Fernando de Noronha archipelago are also available.

Get around

By taxi

Taxi is the best bet. Look for registered taxi companies which charge standard rates. Ask for a car with air conditioning (especially in the summer).

By bus

Buses are the most useful form of mass transportation. The Sistema Estrutural Integrado (Integrated Structural System) , known as SEI, has 119 bus lines which are integrated with the subway system at 13 points throughout the metropolitan area.

By subway

MetroRec, Recife's subway system, is the third largest in Brazil, although it still covers only limited areas of the city. 13 of the 28 stations have connections to the SEI metro bus system and, depending on your destination, it may be possible to purchase a single combination subway/bus ticket. MetroRec has three basic lines:



Recife is known for its amazing beaches.


The convent also houses the Museu Franciscano de Arte Sagrada (Franciscan Museum of Sacred Art). R$2.

Museums (Historic Interest)

Historic buildings at Marco Zero Square in Recife Antigo
Instituto Ricardo Brennand
Brum Fortress (17th century).

Museums (Art & Folklore)

Other Historic Buildings




Recife is the third largest theater production center in Brazil, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The most traditional theater is Teatro Santa Isabel, while the most modern is the one at Convention Center of the Federal University of Pernambuco.

Smaller Theaters:



Soccer teams from Recife participate in the A-Series (First Division) Brazilian Championship, the Brazil Cup, Pernambucan Championship, and the Copa Libertadores da América.

The three most traditional teams are Clube Nautico Capibaribe (home: Aflitos Stadium); Sport Clube do Recife (home: Ilha do Retiro Stadium); and Santa Cruz Futebol Clube (home: Arruda Stadium). Nautico and Sport are currently in the A-Series Brazilian Champsionship. Santa Cruz is in the C-Series.

Recife is home to internationally famous soccer players including Juninho Pernambucano, Rivaldo, Ricardo Rocha and Vavá.

Roller hockey

The city of Recife is home to some of Brazil's top roller hockey teams: Clube Portugues do Recife, Clube Nautico Capibaribe , Sport Clube do Recife and Associacão Amigos do Minho do Recife. Both Clube Portugues and Sport have been national champions.




Local specialties

Pernambuco has a multicultural gastronomy with African and indigenous influences, among others. The national dish Feijoada (a stew of beans, pork and beef, served with rice and Farofa) is not very popular in Recife. On the other hand some ingredients which are widely used in Recife are hardly found in the South of Brazil, as manioc flour (which is the main ingredient of tapioca), cuscuz (corn flour). pumpkin, jerked beef, goat or lamb. Seafood is exotic and delicious. The regional food has some peculiarities like Carne de Sol and buchada, a dish prepared with the stomach of billy goat.


Recife is the gastronomic capital of the Northeast. There are more high-quality restaurants here than in any other city in Brazil north of Rio de Janeiro.




Beach food

Fancy sitting around all day on the beach under a beach umbrella? Well, you can! The chairs and the guy that moves the umbrella are free. All they ask in return is that you buy your food and drink from them.

They all carry a menu and the food arrives quickly and freshly made on the beach. Try the seafood. The fish is usually caught locally and earlier that same day.

Apart from your own vendor, there will be a variety of vendors walking up and down the beach, selling a variety of things. Learning the language for these items is useful but unnecessary as the vendor will take the time to show you what he/she has on offer.



There are many many bars in Recife, most, if not all, serving food as well as drinks. The prices are cheap, ranging from R$2.50 to R$4 for a 600 ml bottle of cerveja, a lager style beer.

There are bars of varying quality up and down the streets of Recife. A few good picks include the following:

At the less classy end of the market, there are some great bars. They don't have great signage to tell you that it's a bar. Basically, if you see some plastic garden furniture in the street, you are looking at a bar. These are usually the most fun places with the loudest people and the best vibe. Be careful of the ice in places like this as it might not be made from bottled water. It also helps to have a good constitution of you are going to eat in these bars.

Dance clubs


Many tourists stay along the beach in Boa Viagem, 10 km (7 mi) south of the center. The area of Boa Vista just across the Ponte Velha from the train station has a number of budget and mid-range hotels.




Stay safe

Recife's reputation for safety is not one of the best. Robberies on streets and buses are fairly common. Do not be alarmed odds are you will have a fabulous time here but be aware of your surroundings and take the usual big city precautions.



Honorary Consulates

Stay healthy




Go next

Routes through Recife

João Pessoa Olinda  N  S  Maceió Aracaju

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