Backpacking in Brazil: Recife Beach, Pernambuco

Backpacking in Brazil: Recife Beach, Pernambuco


Ah, the joys of relaxing when we travel! And although I am not a big fan of the heat and the sun when I jaunt around the globe, I do like a decent beach, nice cool water, cold beers and a place to relax. I’d been to a few beaches in South America (most notably at Punta Del Este in Uruguay), but it was time for the Brazilian beach experience. And so my first ever visit to a beach in Brazil was in Recife!


I was staying with Katia in Recife, I had met her in a hostel in Paris back in 2007. After a decent first night out there down her local pub on beer and cocktails, I was up rise and shine and her son Rodrigo had a day off and decided to take me round the city in his car. On the way we picked up two of his mates, Renato and Antonio and the first stop (after a drive through the city centre was the main beach in Recife!). The road called Avenida Boa Viagem runs along adjacent to the beach. It was a hot day, a typical tropical climate and in all honesty EXACTLY what you would expect from a Brazilian Beach. Note the above sign for no surfing – at least just in this part of the beach of course.



Arrival on Recife Beach in the heat, wearing my Glentoran shirt and next to a worrying sign that there are sharks here.

I didn’t believe it when I saw the sign translated into English as the second language rather than Spanish. These waters have a greater than average risk of shark attack.

A green and white deckchair just for me? Well it did have NI written on it!! One of my reasons for doing this blog report now is to cheer myself up and remember how good Brazil was. Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, with Recife being one of the host cities. Sadly Northern Ireland have blown our chances of reaching the World Cup (again) by drawing horrendously 1-1 at home to Luxembourg. Back in early 2011 when I saw the NI on Recife beach I actually had a premonition and belief that I would return to that beach in 2014 as an NI fan. It seems it is not to be…

Basically you sit down in deck chairs and seats and get your own table or esky (freezer box/fridge). I’m not sure if there is a charge for all of that, but basically you pay at the end. I found that unusual, as Brazil has a lot of poor areas, but people are respectful of it, and they do pay up at the end. As we of course did. But it was 10 am, I had a cold beer in hand and I was relaxing on a beach in north eastern Brazil! Bliss you could say!

Rodrigo in behind, our table (including the red holders to keep your beer cold) and our fridge full of beer!

View from my beer. Brazil is chilled out and relaxed.

Ice in the bucket keeps the beer cold. We drank a fair bit – the trick is to open one tin at a time between 4 and sharing in to avoid any of the beer going warm – which is does in this heat. The beer was Skol, which was a surprise as you can buy that one in the UK. I did however try about 10 other Brazilian beers while in the country. The beers on the beach were 8 Reals each. That’s about 4 US Dollars, so not really that cheap – but they bring them to you!

The view looking back to the promenade. It was reminiscent of Spain, but a lot less commercial. And seriously – not many foreign tourists. Recife is not really a backpacker scene – a lot of the tourists head for Rio De Janiero. I wanted to avoid it as much as I could!

They bring you a food menu too, and the food is cooked at the local spot and delivered right to your table. However, I’d had breakfast with Rodrigo and we had already lined up a decent lunchtime spot for grub so we just relaxed with the beers.

It was time for a dip.My first in Brazilian Atlantic waters. Fresh, cold, calm and with a bit of seaweed. Amazingly cool. All you dream about when you hear of Brazilian beaches.

Relaxing by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Recife beach.

The Northern Ireland flag at Recife beach. I thought at the time we’d be back for the 2014 World Cup.

The locals enjoying the waters on a hot day!

Recife beach looking south along the promenade.

Atlantic Ocean seaweed at Recife Beach.

The cool waters.

With the lads having a beer! Renato and Antonio. Spot the very white, very slim Northern Irishman!

Brazil flag flies by the beach, plus a parasol advert for Schin beer.

Recife beach promenade.

Avenida Boa Viagem – the one that runs alongside adjacent to the beach.

Surprisingly quiet on the promenade. Recife is a massive city. On busy days this place must get nuts. It was actually winter time when I was there, but was still about 28 degrees!

By Recife beach.


Rodrigo’s carwas top notch. It even had a video playing of the song from the stereo system. I’ve been travelling way too long. Whatever happened to the cassette tape?

Typical traffic in Recife – a mix of motorbikes, buses and cars.

Rodrigo’s car. After the beach visit we headed for lunch. It was very close to the beach actually!

We ate at alphaiate – presumably a Brazilian/Italian style restaurant.

They had Antarctica beer. Which I hadn’t tried yet, but it would soon become my regular in Sao Paulo at Rei Das Batidas pub.

They also had an Irish Beer – the Caracu is modelled on Guinness apparently. And I had seen most of the other beers before but not Caracu so I asked for it. Sadly it was sold out so I settled for Bohemia. Then I ordered the octopus curry. Just had to try Brazilian seafood!

I think the meal was called “Camarao a moda do Vanderlei” and it was 23 Reals (so just over 11 US Dollars). This octopus curry was VERY tasty! But it was too much for me to finish!!

And that was that! After lunch we headed back to the inland parts of the city to the football stadium and the city centre, so my trip to Recife beach was over. I loved it! Brazilian beaches are amazing!

With thanks to – Rodrigo Alves (and Renato and Antonio)

Transport Used – Rodrigo’s Car

Beers Tried – Skol, Bohemia

Food Tried – Octopus Curry

Population of Recife – 4.1 million

Languages Spoken – Portuguese

Nationalities Met – Brazilian

Strange Currencies – Brazilian Reals

ONE THING TO NOTE – If English is your main language, please note that “Recife” is pronounced “H – ecife” using an “H” sound, as is everything in Portuguese beginning with “R”. Hence Cristiano Ronaldo is really Cristiano Honaldo

Key Song – 

THE BEACH BOYS – WOULDN’T IT BE NICE:

THE BEACH BOYS – I GET AROUND:

My Videos –

DRIVING NEAR RECIFE SEAFRONT:

ATLANTIC WAVES AT RECIFE BEACH:

RELAXING WITH A BEER ON RECIFE BEACH:

NORTHERN IRELAND DRAW WITH LUXEMBOURG LAST NIGHT, ALMOST BLOWING OUR CHANCES OF QUALIFYING FOR THE 2014 WORLD CUP:

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