Pernambuco Beaches
Pernambuco Beaches
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North of Olinda
South of Recife
Nude Beaches
Places to Stay
Boa Viagem
Caba de Santo Agostinho
Fernando de Noronha
Gaibu and Calhetas
surfer's beach
Maria Farinha
mud bath
Ponta de Mangue
Porto de Galinhas
most beautiful
Recife was named after the reefs (Recife is the Portuguese name for reef) that are a natural shield of the palm-fringed beaches, and make Recife a popular dive destination.
Porto de Galinhas has often been selected by  magazines as the best beach in Brazil.

Porto de Galinhas means Port of Chickens; during the 18th century, when the traffic of slaves was forbidden, "chicken" was the code used to refer to the slaves. "There are new chickens in town" was the way to say that a ship loaded with slaves had arrived.

Enjoy the local siri (small crab) and caranguejo (big crab) at the barracas.
Mayor of Santo Agostinho Elias Gomes 
A Rising Star

"According to Gomes, citizen participation in the budgeting process is a counterweight to entrenched municipal bureaucracy, which constantly pressures the administration to spend budget resources on salaries. But he does not see participatory government as a constant tug of war between citizens and bureaucrats"

the Golden Coast

They say the sun shines brighter in Recife than anywhere else, and the State of Pernabuco's 187 kilometers of beaches are undoubtedly among the loveliest in the Northeast. Especially pleasant are the warm pools that often form along the sands due to the action of the waves, tide and calming effect of the reefs. The outlying Nordeste beaches can be found rather empty during weekdays, even during the high season of December to March.

The urban beaches of the city are nice, but too polluted to swim in due to River Beberibee residues. These include: Praia dos Milagres , Praia do Carmo, Bairro Novo, Casa Caiada, Jardim Atlântico & Rio Dôce. The three main islands in the delta of the Capibaribe and Beberibe rivers - Recife, Santo Antonio and Boa Vista - make up the city known as Recife.
For bathing, it is best to head north or south to good beaches


Boa Viagem: The most famous city beach is 10km long and named Boa Viagem (Good Travel), which is to the people of Recife as central to their culture as Copacabana Beach is for people in Rio. Unfortunately, it is not recommended for swimming, but this white sand beach with turquoise water is a great place for walking or sunbathing. It is protected by a long reef wall.

7km South to North:
As Boa Viagem merges into Piedade, it becomes primarily a local's
map-praias.jpg beach.
 The stretch between the far south and the Praca de Boa Viagem. Narrow stretch where the beach almost disappears at high tide. Mostly frequented by middle-class people living in the neighborhood. This is the main district for Recife's middle class who enjoy an urban beach culture that is so talked about in Rio.
Praca de Boa Viagem
  [about 4 km wide]  is the heart of the beach where the hotels and pousadas are located and most visitors come to enjoy. There’s a constant flow of people selling fresh coconut milk, iced beers, ready-mixed batidas (rum cocktails), pineapples, watermelon, shrimp, crabs, oysters, ice creams, straw hats and suntan lotion. On
weekends there’s a worthwhile food and craft fair here that is busiest on Sunday evenings.
Praia do Pina - Pina beach
At the northern end of the Boa Viagem beach. With no sewage system and many fisherman families, the sea here is polluted.


The Recife & Olinda city beaches are polluted, and not recommended for swimming 
Recife || translated to English

Piedade residential district of Recife 
Jaboatão dos Guararapes   translated to English
"It is impractical to surf in this place. The sea bath, however, does not involve any risk."

About the local police 


The urban beaches of the city are nice, but too polluted to swim in due to  River Beberibee residues.  These include: 

Praia dos Milagres , Praia do Carmo, Bairro Novo, Casa Caiada, Jardim Atlântico & Rio Dôce For bathing, it is best to head north or south.


PLAYCENTER Av.: Agamenon Magalhães s/n - Salgadinho - Olinda - PE

Beaches of Pernambuco by 
how many beaches can you visit in the 7 day siggested itinerary?



North from Recife, the BR-101 highway runs a little way inland through low hills and sugar-cane fields. A scenic enough route, but one that offers little reason to stop off anywhere, except perhaps at the small pottery centre of Goiana.  Smaller roads that branch off the highway provide coastal access.

You can catch local buses to these beaches from Praça do Carmo. Maria Farinha is a popular tour bus trip.

Rio Doce (6km) 
Janga  beach (Barra de Jangada ) (8 km) Look for Ciranda de Dona Duda, which is famous for its participatory ciranda (round dance). Take a boat to Ilha do Paiva, nicknamed island of lovers, which is popular for its nude beaches.  Being close to major population centres, however, the water quality at Rio Doce and Janga is not always the best. The area gets busy at weekends, especially in Janga, when there’s music and dancing in the beachside bars at night.


Praia do Ó (12 km), 
Praia do Pau Amarelo (14 km) You can still see one of several star-shaped forts left behind by the Dutch in 1719.
Praia da Conceição (17 km) 

Maria Farinha [(23 km). municipality of Paulista]
Maria Farinha is within easy reach of Recife. The low-rise ecology-oriented hotels at Maria Farinha and Nova Cruz (part of Igarassu) give their guests  elegant surroundings amongst the natural  beauty of native bayous, marshes, lovely beaches and serene channels. Warm, clear water is perfect for swimming. There are many good restaurants to discover. 

The beach is a large complex for water sports and leisure, where windsurf, Hobie Cat and jet ski can be enjoyed. The local tourist infrastructure includes leisure hotels and marinas, offering the visitor options such as boat, catamaran or microlight trips. One of the charming features of Maria Farinha is the Coroa do Avião, a small island where migratory birds land.

Maria Farinha beach is beautiful and shallow, allowing you to walk hundred of meters into the water without any problem. This tropical bliss is cut by waterways leading into the open sea and dotted by sand dunes such as "Coroa do Avião", which appears in all its splendor at low tide.
Beside Maria Farinha, the beaches of Janga, Pau Amarelo and Conceição make up a coastline with warm waters and beautiful landscapes.

VENEZA WATER PARK  A centre for watersports located at Maria Farinha, only 20km from Recife, the Veneza Water Park has an area of 90 thousand m² and is the largest and most modern water park in Latin America. Here you can enjoy a wave pool, playground, streams, thermal springs, tobogans, and a large restaurant complex. 

 From Janga to Maria Farinha   translated to English

Igarassú, (39 km from Recife on the BR-101 and 20 km south of Ilha de Itamaraca)
One of the oldest cities in Brazil. Its Saints Cosme and Damião Church, built in 1535, is the oldest in Brazil. "Convento de Santo Antonio" houses some of the most important paintings of Colonial Brazil. This small City is relatively untouristed and full of colonial buildings. Museu Histoirco de Igarassu (city museum) displays sacred art, weapons and furniture from noble families.
Here is also the site of the Battle of Guararapes, when the Dutch were driven from Pernambuco. Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres Church marks the spot where the 30-year occupation was ended.
The Sítio dos Marcos (Stone Markers) is was where the Captaincies of Pernambuco and Itamaracá were delineated and where, in 1516, Cristóvão Jacques established the Stewardship of Pernambuco. On this site, on 9th March 1535, Duarte Coelho landed to take possession of his Captaincy, thus commencing the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil.

Festivals: 27 September - Festa dos Santos Cosme e Damiao celebrates the founding in 1535, when Duarte Coelho fought off both French pirates and Potigar Indians before the noontime meal and then founded the city in the afternoon. Expect to see the circada dance, which is is said to have originated in Igarassu, as well as Bumba Meu Boi.
Festa co Coco is held during last week of November.
Getting There: Buses leave every 15 minutes for the 45 minute ride to and from Recife.

Island of Itamaracá (50km north of Recife)
 Connected to the continent by a bridge, the warm water and coconut tree forests will enchant you and your Lover. The main attraction is Forte Orange, a XVII Century fortresses built by the Dutch and surrounded by stalls selling local delicacies. You can  boat across to Coroa do Avião, an enchanted islet that is a paradise for tourism and water sports. There are miles of shoreline and many beautiful tepid water beaches here, amidst a wealth of folklore, calm seas, walking trails and delicious cuisine, the best being found closest to the beach town of Pilar.

Itamaracá means 'singing stone' in Tupi.
The main activities of the population are fishing and tourism. It is very popular on weekends and quiet during weekdays, although development has been rampant throughout the 90's and the quiet charm has become more difficult to find.

The main tourist attractions are:

  • Beaches without big waves
  • Forte Orange, one of the largest fortresses in the Northeast (1631), Vila Velha, with its beautiful 18th century church and Lia’s Ciranda
  • Ibama's centre of sea mammals (Trichechus manatus)  Manatee Preservation Center: opened from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 16:00, it is an excellent place to see the Manatee, an exotic marine mammal native from the waters of the island.
  • COROA DO AVIÃO [Avião island]
    Famous small island, in the middle of the Jaguaribe River delta, which can be reached only by boat or raft, from Recife or Itamaracá.
  • The landscape is covered with beautiful sugarcane plantations, such as Engenho São João, with its mansion house

How to get there : By car you can reach the island through Highway BR-101 Norte, going past Igarassu, Itapissuma, and reaching Itamaracá at km 34.
By bus Hourly buses to Igarassu, with easy connections to Itamaracá, leave from Avenida Martins de Barros, on Santo Antônio island in Recife, opposite the Grande Hotel. Another possibility is to go there by boat: every travel agency in Recife runs trips, stopping at beaches on the way, for around $35–40

Igarassu || translated to English

Ilha de Itamaracá || English translate

Goiana (66 km north on the BR-101) English translate
River Goiana defines a City the French  fought over. Ten churches remain. The beach is a narrow band with weak waves. Visit the Church of the Carmo and the Convent of Alberto Saint of the Armelites/font>

Other beaches include  Candeias, Piedade, Pina, and Venda Grande, Coroa do Avião. Gavoa, Catuama, Ponta de Pedras, Carne de Vaca

João Pessoa   (115km north of Recife.)
Get to know the friendly capital of Paraíba. See the Solon de Lucena park with its famous lake, Tambaú beach, Cabo Branco and Ponta do Seixas, the eastern most point of the Americas.  

Beaches South of Recife
Best is the coastal route south, where a succession of small towns and villages interrupts a glorious stretch of palm-fringed beach.
The excellent, calm beaches are protected by coral reefs with crystal clear water. The coastal road PE-60 doesn't hug the shoreline, so you have to drive in a ways to check out the beaches, which are nearly deserted during the week. Almost all buses to cities south of Recife take the BR-101 highway, which runs inland through fairly dull scenery, made worse by heavy traffic. Enseada dos Corais 


Jaboatão, [14km from Recife]
The city also has old sugar mills and beautiful beaches such as Piedade, Candeias and Barra de Jangada.
National Historical Park retains the mark of the decisive battles fought against the Dutch in the Pernambuco War of Restoration. The Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres church, breathtaking viewpoints and a museum with diorama and panels that illustrate the battles can all be found within the park.

Paivia [46 km from Recife]
The beach is not protected by the reefs. Near Paiva  is a well of black mud that is used for mud baths. Access via Itapuama beach.


Caba de Santo Agostinho 49km south of Recife 
 Less developed than Gaibu, with good snorkeling and spear -fishing. The city is blessed with many historic buildings, such as the Fortress of Santo Agostinho (stage of battles between Portuguese and Dutch) and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Nazaré, which dates back to the 16th century.

Cabo is a place with beautiful landscapes, a warm sea and bars beside the beaches of Paraíso, Calhetas and Gaibu, which are three of the most famous beaches in the region.

Gaibu and Calhetas  
Beaches with clear warm waters, encrusted with rocks and beautiful vegetation. P
rotected by reefs, the beach of Gaibu has tranquil waters and small waves. Gaibu and Calhetas boast restaurants with an excellent regional menu and the best in seafood. And after lunch, how about lying on the sand and enjoying the shade of a coconut tree? Between the two is a small freshwater lake, Lago de  Zumbi, which is used for nude bathing.

Calhetas is a favored scuba diving destination
 Access: BR-101 South, PE-60 and PE-29. 


Suape  This beach was chosen for the construction of the Port of Suape, the largest in the State; nearby, the river Massangana meets the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2005, the Federal government announced that a new oil refinery will be built in Ipojuca, near Suape.

Muro Alto [60 km from Recife] The name means "High Wall", and refers to the 3m high which surrounds the beach.

Cupe Near Porto de Galinhas

Porto de Galinhas  (66km south of Recife) 

One of the nordeste's most acclaimed beaches, with discrete charm and compelling beauty. The name translates as Port of Chicken, harkening back to the time when the area was used for slave smuggling. (Upon hearing that a load of chickens had arrived, the masters in Recife knew to prepare for another load of slaves)

Crystal clear warm waters beckon. Sunbathe on a boat or go "jangada" sailing where you can observe the
beautifully colored fish. Rustic and upscale smaller beach resorts and inns invite the visitor to stay overnight in the area. This is a place for those that like quiet beaches far away from big cities and big crowd. Besides "Jangada" sailing there's  snorkeling, surfing, buggy rides along the beaches,  and jet skiing. Or, simply explore the crystal clear waters, coconut groves, natural pools and good facilities. The town has many excellent seafood restaurants, including the renowned Restaurant Braz, or you can simply order fresh crab from the barracas along the beach.

The beach line is 18 km long, all with white, fine grained, clean sand. There is a chain of reefs lining all along the coast. During the lower tide, the water trapped by the reefs forms several natural pools; tourists can swim, dive and feed the fishes.

The nearby, more secluded beach of
Maracaípealso has accommodations, including camping.
Getting There: All the tour companies offer day  trips to Porto de Galinhas. There are also several cheap daily public bus trips (1.5 hours) from Mercado São José on Avenida Dantas Barreto in Recife
By car can be reached through Highways BR-101 Sul, PE-060, PE-038 and PE-09.The beach of Porto de Galinhas is in the small city of Ipojuca (not shown on the map), a few kilometers south of the city of Cabo.

Places To Stay
RRustic beach resorts and inns invite the visitor to overnight in the area.

 Portuguese only. Information about beaches, hotels, tours, nature,

Guide of Porto Several photos of the city and links to hotels

Beach resort located at the Muro Alto / Porto de Galinhas. Each apartment has a telephone, individual safe, air conditioning & TV.

Hotel Pontal de Ocaporã has 107 suites and bungalows overlooking the ocean. Each apartment  has telephone, individual safe, air conditioning, TV, mini-bar, water heater and balcony with hammock.

Check out the Link directory of Places to Stay in Porto Galinas


Pôrto das Galinhas - Restaurants ||Accommodations ||Must See Activities || Nightlife || Off The Beaten Path ||Tourist Traps ||Warnings Or Dangers || Transportation ||Local Customs ||Packing Lists ||Shopping || Sports Travel


Maracaípe faces an open sea, making it a beach with big waves favored by surfers. Maracaípe hosts a phase of the Brazilian Surf Tournament, as well as international surfing events. The many surfers often stay in nearby in Porto de Galinhas.
How to get there : can be reached through Highways BR-101 Sul, PE-060, PE-038 and PE-09.

Serrambi is a beach of average width, known for its calm blue waters and sophisticated condominiums.
Home to one of the richest sunken treasures in Brazil history, a gold-laden ship which was destroyed off the coast almost 300 years ago.

Heading South from Gamboa to Serrambi Beach


Praia dos Carneiros at Rio Formoso 82 km of South of Recife

Tamandaré   (90km south from Recife) One of Pernambuco's favourite summer resorts, with calm seas and ideal diving conditions: shallow, clear waters, plus plenty of space to have fun and sunbathe on the sand. There are a few restaurants and two inexpensive inns. The coconut groves make Tamandaré a fine example of the beaches of the Northeast. 

From Carneiros to Tamandaré   translate to English
listings for 14 inns & hotels

Sirinhaém || translate to English
Guadalupe urban beach in City of Sirinhaém, 99 km south of Recife on BR 101 - South and it catches the Pe-60. The river makes the green waters too polluted to swim in

São José da Coroa Grande  translate to English (120 km from Recife) near the border of the state of Alagoas. The three beaches here are Várzea do Una , Gravatá  & Coroa Grande

Ponta de Mangue - State of Alagoas
A true jewel of the coast north of Alagoas. Combine a ship walk, a sea bath in the galleys, a buggy walk and some
bicycling in deserted beaches, with white sands, crystalline waters and a lot of coconut tree shade. Ponta de Mangue is about 125 km to the south of Recife.

jangadas - the small fishing rafts with huge curving triangular sails in action. They go out at dawn and return in mid-afternoon, and are quite a sight as they rear and plunge through the surf.
Radio/TV Pernambuco For Tuning your Radio
The Pernambuco coastline is 187 km long. The name of the state comes from the indigenous
language, tupy. PARANÁ-PUCA means "stormy sea", and PARANÁ-BU "whirlpool".
The Carranca was once a part of every brazilian boat along inland rivers. According to old legends, those ugly faces had the job of scaring water demons, and in doing so, would provide a smooth journey to those on board.
According to some historians, on 26th January 1500, the Spanish sailor Vicente Pinzón landed at Cabo de Santo Agostinho three months before Pedro Álvares Cabral, the official discoverer of Brazil.
weekend homes are going up now all along the Pernambuco coast
"The trick is to get a bus that goes along the much more scenic coastal road, the PE-60, or via litoral; they leave from either Avenida Dantas Barreto or the Recife Rodoviária for the string of towns down the coast from Cabo, through Ipojuca, Sirinhaém, Rio Formoso, to São José da Coroa Grande. Before São José, where the road starts to run alongside the beach, you may need to get another local bus to get to the beachside villages themselves. In theory, you could hop from village to village down the coast on local buses, but only with time to spare. Services are infrequent – early morning is the usual departure time – and you might have to sleep on a beach or find somewhere to sling a hammock, as not all the villages have places to stay. As you move south, bays and promontories disappear, and walking along the beaches to the next village is often quicker than waiting for a bus. "
Cape Sto Agostinho Resort  In March, water is so warm that you can swim at night, and it's like taking bath in a Jacuzzi.
- Americano, islands of Fernando de Noronha - It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory.
- Cocaia, county of Cabo de Santo Agostinho - It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory.
- Gravatá, county of Várzea Una-Barreiro - It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory.
- Ilha do Amor (Love Island), county of Jaboatão - You'll feel like you're in Paradise in this white sandy island full of coconut-trees. It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory. Arrange with one of the boat-men of Barra do Jaboatão to take you there and come back later. Take food and beverage with you; on the island just live two IBAMA guards. In the south, there's a swamp, untouched as everything in the island, and at the northeast, the beach is just unforgettable. It's hard to imagine that such a Paradise lays just 15 minutes from Boa Viagem beach, in Recife. Don't miss it!
- Muro Alto, county of Porto de Galinhas - It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory.
- Porto, county of Barreiros - It's not officially recognized, but nakedness is tolerated and not compulsory.

Nudity & the Law in Rio May 2001

Fernando de Noronha 

The island of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic Ocean, 535 km Northeast of Recife, has been part of Pernambuco since 1988
 Recife, along with Natal, are where you catch a connecting flight to the brilliant archipelago of 21 islands.

Return to Main Page: ||
This Page: Olinda || North of Olinda || South of Recife || Nude Beaches || Places to Stay || Boa Viagem | | Caba de Santo Agostinho || Fernando de Noronha || Gaibu and Calhetas || Goiana || Igarassú || Itamaracá || Jaboatão || Maracaípe || Maria Farinha || Paivia || Ponta de Mangue || Porto de Galinhas || Serrambi || Suape || Tamandaré