- Encounters with locals
- Extreme Sports
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
Practically my whole family comes from Recife, so I'm therefore not really very objective about the city, but I'll try to be.
What I like most in Recife is the Ricardo Brennan Institute (consisting of a park, sculptures and a crazy medieval castle filled with bric-a-brac), Boa Viagem Beach (don't put more than a foot in the water in case you get eaten by sharks) and the city's old center.
The old center is run down, some might even say decayed, but I went there with my grandmother as a child and therefore have an attachment to it.
Old Recife is also good for its little bohemian bars. The synagogue in the old center is the oldest on the entire American continent!
If you're staying in Recife, some of the places that are essential to see on a trip to Brazil are to be found in the region: Olinda, Porto de Galinhas and Fernando de Noronha.
I stopped off in Recife during mytravels in Brazil and arrived right in the middle of carnival. Great, another different one, smaller but very good!
Despite the salsa infused evenings, I did succeed in visiting the city center. I saw the synagogue which was built in 1630, the first in America, and two entirely white churches. I wandered round the market which offers a profusion of fruit and vegetables. I drank a "suco" (fruit juice) and discovered acerola, a little, slightly acidic fruit which contains 140 times more vitamins than oranges.
Of course, I found many similarities with Venice, because Recife is surrounded by three rivers with numerous bridges across them.
I made sure of going to Olinda, which is a truly beautiful city and when I came back I jumped into the pool at the pousada to cool off because I was so hot and sweaty.
Mixing Dutch (the city layout), Portuguese (the Baroque architecture) and African (the rhythm of maracatu ) influences, Recife is quite a surprising city. It doesn't seem that impressive at first sight, but it ends up casting its spell over you. It has a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere, which is something you wouldn't expect from a city with a population of 1.5 million.
I strongly recommend taking a walk around Recife Antigo and the neighborhoods of Santo Antônio and Sao José. Their main attractions are, respectively, the Capela Dourada and the market. The latter is housed in an iron market hall designed by a Frenchman and fish, fruit and vegetables, spices and local craft items (straw baskets, lace place mats, etc.) are sold there.
The city has a particularly active cultural life, so don't forget to find out what concerts are taking place during your visit; you'll be impressed by the high quality of the shows. It usually doesn't cost much to see a performance; some are even free in fact.