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Recife, Olinda & Maceio

The Northeast

Recife and Olinda are pillars of northeastern Brazil's colonial history. Recife was established as a sugar cane port in the 16th century. Olinda, located just a few miles to the north, was founded in 1535 as a capitania—hereditary fiefdom—of the Portuguese crown. In 1631, Dutch invaders burned Olinda and occupied Recife, controlling the region's valuable sugar plantations for the next 20 years.

Old Recife has kept much of its colonial charm, even as the country's fifth-largest metropolis has sprouted up around it. Olinda was declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site in 1982, sparking ongoing restoration of its churches, cobbled streets and monastery.

Itamaracá Island, circled by sunken warships and eleven enticing beaches, lies about 30 miles north of Recife. To the south, the area known as Porto de Galinhas draws sun seekers, snorkelers and kite surfers to the beaches of Maracaipe, Muro Alto and Tamandaré.

Maceió, located on the Atlantic coast 122 miles south of Recife, began as a sugar mill and plantation complex in the early 19th century. Maceió may well be the best beach city in the Northeast. Its most popular beaches—Maragogi, Gunga, and Pajuçara—are known for clear water, palm trees and gentle surf.

Olinda, Recife, and Maceió are year-round destinations; the tropical climate hovers between 74° and 95°. Warm rains are more common from April to July. Recife and Olinda are accessible through Guararapes International Airport, while Maceió is reached though Zumbi dos Palmares International Airport. Flights from Sao Paulo reach either destination in under three hours.

Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Brazil and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."


Henry David Thoreau