I’m sure that the guides of Brazil could go on and on about the different beaches along the long Atlantic Coast of Brazil. The truth is that there are so many beaches that many of them start to meld together. That being said, in terms of Brazilian travel destinations, the city of Recife, and the small adjacent town of Olinda, should sit quite high on your travel list. The city of Recife is rich in history dating back to the age of the slave trade. The cultural power of the city too is strong and as many people reserve their carnival conversations to Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro alone Recife too hosts a spectacular event. The nearby town of Olinda is a laid back piece of coastal paradise which manages to hide for the city rush and provides an escape for travellers and local Brazilians alike.
Things to do in Recife and Olinda
- Oficina Ceramica Francisco Brennand: In Recife, this is an old ceramics factory that is as colourful and interesting a place in Recife, well worth a half and hour worth of exploration. If you’re a photographer, this place is a dream.
- The Old City: The old city of Recife is as important as any part of a city in Brazil, with perhaps the exception of the Pelorinho of downtown Salvador da Bahia. The old streets, busy markets and fading churches or the old city are all worth exploring.
- Beaches: The beach is the reason that most come to Recife or Olinda. However, the truth is that if you’re actually planning on going for a swim you’ll have to hop a bus to Praia Pedra do Xareu, which is about 35-40minutes from town to the south. If you’re just looking to lay on some sand and get some sun, Praia Boa Viagem is just a couple steps from most hostels in Olinda.
- Casa dos Bonecos Gicantes: Literally translates into “the house of giant dolls,” this house is full of giant paper mache carnival puppets and is a must visit in Olinda.
Where to Eat in Recife and Olinda
I actually found some really good places to eat while staying in Olinda. For lunch one day, on a Lonely Planet recommendation, I went to a place called Jardin do Mourisco which had a buffet for about 8US$. I kept my addiction to pizza going as well with a visit to A Toca da Pizza which had large pizzas for about 10US$. In Recife there are a number of buffets and cafe spotted around the old town.
Where to Sleep in Recife and Olinda
Personally, I think it’s much better to stay in Olinda and then take a bus into the downtown of Recifie if you want to visit the old town. While staying in Recife I spent 5 nights at Arrecifes Hostel which is just a quick 5 minute walk to the beach, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The prices are high at every hostel in town, I believe I paid about 25US$ for a dorm in Olinda.
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