- Pernambuco (NE Coast)
Recife, derived from the Portuguese word for reef, got its name from the coral reefs that line the coast. It is one of the most visited tourist cities in Brazil and the beach of Boa Viagem is among the most famous Brazilian beaches. Recife is a wonderful city in which to wander about and is often called the Venice of Brazil for its many canals, bridges and tiny one-way streets. As a major port city today, its energy and culture comes from its mix of markets, high rises and colonial churches that create a vibrant mix of old and new. The wealthy Boa Viagem district provides a good base for exploring and the waterfront area of Recife boasts both the city's finest beach and a wealth of fine restaurants. The carnival of Recife is also one of the most popular in Brazil.
Other cities near Recife are also traditional tourist destinations, like Olinda and Itamaraca, or have recently become major attractions, like Porto de Galinhas. One of its most beautiful, Porto de Galinhas is known for its warm clear waters surrounded by coral reefs, mangroves and coconut trees. It is a gorgeous and laid-back town with wide, long beaches, and hotels that cost but a fraction of other larger resorts.
Located in the north shore of Pernambuco, just 50 km from capital Recife, Itamaraca island is popular among tourists and investors alike. The beach lovers here keep the Pernambucan popular culture well alive. The Pilar, the Forte Orange, the Coroa do Avião and the famous Vila Velha are some of the places that bring tourists from all over Brazil. The Coroa do Avião is an extensive sandbank located between the Island of Itamaracá and the Canal de Santa Cruz, and used for research of migratory birds. Always popular for simply sunbathing or swimming, surfers and hang gliders can also be found here.
Nearby and known as one of Brazil’s hidden treasures, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is easily reached by a short flight from Recife. This isolated group of 21 volcanic islands supports a large variety of wildlife and is now a model environmental protection area. The island has many historic forts as well as a national marine reserve. Its clear waters are also a mecca for divers and snorkelers with its paradise of coral, fish, manta rays, and lemon sharks. There are many inns and one hotel, but the island only allows 420 visitors at any one time.
When you’re visiting the region, be sure not to miss Olinda, a restored and preserved 17th-century colonial town that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Between 1535 and 1630, Olinda was the great economic center of colonial Brazil due to the production of sugar. Situated on a steep hill overlooking the harbor, Olinda is a picturesque coastal town, boasting a number of lovely colonial churches and handsome mansions.
Pernambuco today is a region rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity while providing many tourist amenities. Together with its dynamic growth in the areas of information technology, medicine and education, this region is not to be missed as a place for the serious investor.
Recife is the major gateway to the northeast of Brazil with regular flights from its International Airport of Guararapes to all major cities in Brazil as well as Lisbon, London and Frankfurt. TAM Brazilian airlines flies to Recife via Sao Paulo from major US cities.