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Help with planning Recife area visit

Help with planning Recife area visit

Old Apr 30, 17, 5:16 am
  #1  
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Help with planning Recife area visit

Will be traveling to Recife for 4 nights at the end of May and looking for advice on where to stay.

From what I've read about Recife itself, it doesn't sound like somewhere I'd want to visit (ie big bustling city).

Olinda could be a nice base with day trips down to some of the beaches maybe (how feasible is this?), or I could split the stay between Olinda and Porto de Galinhas for example (recommendations for a nice beach resort where its not crowded? Other beaches worth considering?).

I'm sure other people have visited the area, so I'd like to hear their experiences in the area.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 5:51 am
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Check out Porto de Galinhas near Recife.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 10:13 am
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Olinda is about 30 minutes from Recife. There are pousadas there, but the beaches are polluted and not swimmable. The historic part of town is interesting, but relatively small. Hint: Start at the top of the hill and walk down. In the evening, some restaurants put tables out on the breakwaters; very pleasant.

There is a lot to do in Recife, and the food, particularly, is great. Boa Viagem beach is the strip along which many tourists stay. Tall buildings, lots of restaurants and nightlife, a pretty beach to sit out on, crowded on weekends with locals, where you take a risk swimming (sharks) during the day, and is dangerous (beach side, not building side, 2 legged sharks) at night.
Most tourists visit the Recife Vieja neighborhood to see the historic architecture and go to some of the bars in them that are more recent. My favorite place in Recife is the unique sculpture park and ceramic studio of the quirky Brennand (Olaria Brennand). There is also a restaurant on the reef, with a great view back over to the old city. I also like Bar Biruta, on the beach in Brasilia Teimosa, just at the far end of the Boa Viagem beach as it meets the reef road. There is a passingly decent art museum (also a Brennand relative) and castle with armor exhibit. The food in Recife is a big draw for me--great sushi, cheap; caldo (soup of several varieties and amazing flavor), regional fish (arguila), etc.

You can go north 45 minutes to the beach in Itamaraca, a lovely white beach, an island, an old Dutch fort, and a manatee rescue project.

You can go south an hour to Porto de Galinhas, a very pretty long stretch of beach, with a reef to visit, and a lively, touristy little town. Just before, there is a small cove at Calhetas that is also beautiful, and much calmer. There are also other beautiful beaches in the area.

A question would be how you are planning to get around. (I have always traveled with friends by car, so don't know the public transit system.)

If you have any more questions, please post.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 11:32 am
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Leave time to visit Instituto Ricardo Brennand, a medieval castle and museum. It It is a fascinating place, out of character in Brazil and well worth an afternoon.

Be sure to check the updated operating schedule for the day you plan to visit, due to numerous Brazilian holidays and private functions.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
A question would be how you are planning to get around. (I have always traveled with friends by car, so don't know the public transit system.)

If you have any more questions, please post.
I liked Recife much more than I expected to, it's a friendly place with a rich culture and would be well worth a day IMHO. Uber works well in Recife, in my experience, and is very cheap by the standards of other countries. I wouldn't be too keen on driving as a visitor (nor indeed walking after dark). Not sure if it would be as easy to get one for day trips out of Olinda though.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by dlflyer2 View Post
Leave time to visit Instituto Ricardo Brennand, a medieval castle and museum. It It is a fascinating place, out of character in Brazil and well worth an afternoon.

Be sure to check the updated operating schedule for the day you plan to visit, due to numerous Brazilian holidays and private functions.
With 4 days total, this would be waaaaay down my list--The art is not first rate, and the small armor collection is only (faintly) interesting because it's Brazil, not, say, Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

Cousin Francisco's workshop and interesting sculpture garden is much more interesting and unique.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 7:15 pm
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Rent a car on arrival and visit some of the areas just south of Recife. Driving is pretty easy although Brazilians can be a bit aggressive. While further south than Porto de Galinhas, Maragogi or Japaratinga are nice but still within 2-3 hours of the airport.

Personally, I'd opt for Natal (ponta negra) or Maceio over Recife.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 9:06 pm
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OP has stated he has 4 nights. Those destinations are not practical in that time periods unless perhaps he skips the Recife area entirely.

Also, driving around Recife can be extremely dangerous, even for locals. Carjacking is apparently common, according to savvy local residents.
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Old May 14, 17, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
Olinda is about 30 minutes from Recife. There are pousadas there, but the beaches are polluted and not swimmable. The historic part of town is interesting, but relatively small. Hint: Start at the top of the hill and walk down. In the evening, some restaurants put tables out on the breakwaters; very pleasant.

There is a lot to do in Recife, and the food, particularly, is great. Boa Viagem beach is the strip along which many tourists stay. Tall buildings, lots of restaurants and nightlife, a pretty beach to sit out on, crowded on weekends with locals, where you take a risk swimming (sharks) during the day, and is dangerous (beach side, not building side, 2 legged sharks) at night.
Most tourists visit the Recife Vieja neighborhood to see the historic architecture and go to some of the bars in them that are more recent. My favorite place in Recife is the unique sculpture park and ceramic studio of the quirky Brennand (Olaria Brennand). There is also a restaurant on the reef, with a great view back over to the old city. I also like Bar Biruta, on the beach in Brasilia Teimosa, just at the far end of the Boa Viagem beach as it meets the reef road. There is a passingly decent art museum (also a Brennand relative) and castle with armor exhibit. The food in Recife is a big draw for me--great sushi, cheap; caldo (soup of several varieties and amazing flavor), regional fish (arguila), etc.

You can go north 45 minutes to the beach in Itamaraca, a lovely white beach, an island, an old Dutch fort, and a manatee rescue project.

You can go south an hour to Porto de Galinhas, a very pretty long stretch of beach, with a reef to visit, and a lively, touristy little town. Just before, there is a small cove at Calhetas that is also beautiful, and much calmer. There are also other beautiful beaches in the area.

A question would be how you are planning to get around. (I have always traveled with friends by car, so don't know the public transit system.)

If you have any more questions, please post.
Thanks for the very detailed response. It sounds like it could be a good idea being based in Recife and doing day trips to the beaches north, south and Olinda.

Are there no reliable taxi services/ car hire with a driver for a day sort of things that could make getting around easy? Not sure about self driving in busy/ urban areas.
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Old May 15, 17, 9:38 am
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Brazilians take the bus. Itamaraca and Porto de Galinhas are reachable by bus. Taxi for destinations in town (Olaria de Brennand for example). Local public bus or taxi to Olinda.
Anyone with a car and enough English to communicate is going to be calling himself a private tour guide and charging accordingly. In my experience, if there are drivers, they take a group of individual Brazilians; you would probably need to ask your lodging if they know of such a service.
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Old May 15, 17, 6:18 pm
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When we went to Recife, we hailed a cab (official) to some such place and the guy seemed nice, polite and friendly. In my experience it's not hard to spot an educated driver who is not likely to be a crook. So, we asked about a fixed rate for the whole of the next day to visit various places and he was more than happy to do that. I think any taxi driver would rather start his shift knowing he's working the whole day for an agreed fee.
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Old May 20, 17, 6:08 am
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I stayed at the Sheraton Reserva da Paiva in January. It's out of the city (I prefer it like this), and the beach is good. The price in points has decreased since I was there (7000 SPG points per night now). It's on a toll road and you need to take that into account.
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Old May 21, 17, 6:42 am
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Decided to split the stay between 2 days in the city (Radisson on Boa Viagem) to visit Olinda and the city-beach, and 2 days in Porto de Galinhas (Kembali hotel).
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