Porto de Galinhas
Itinerary in Pernambucano paradise
Located on the southern coast of the state of Pernambuco, Ipojuca is home to Porto de Galinhas, which has been voted the best beach in the country for several times.
Paradisiacal scenarios, where the sea turns into pools of crystal clear and warm waters, Porto de Galinhas beach is also the fifth most sought after destination in Brazil for leisure tourism.
History of Porto de Galinhas:
“History tells us that before being named Porto de Galinhas, this place was called Puerto Rico. In 1850, ships bringing contraband slaves from Africa began to dock in the area. These came in the holds of ships covered by crates with guinea hens. Which was the court’s favorite food. Then a password was created to warn when more slaves arrived. There’s a new chicken in the port! This is where the name Porto de Galinhas comes from. “
Source: sign located on the main street in downtown Porto
Some relevant information:
- Distance from Recife (capital of Pernambuco): 60 km (approximately 40 minutes by car)
- Main access roads: BR-101 and PE-060, PE-128, Rota do Atlântico with access to PE-009 (Nossa Senhora do Ó)
- Climate: 26º degrees (annual average)
- Tourist Information Center: Rua Beijupira N ° 1 – Telephone: +55 81 35521461
To enjoy this paradise it is necessary at least 4 to 5 days, and it is essential to know that all tourism in this region is aimed at beaches and water sports.
This little piece of the world gives you total relaxation and is a beautiful immersion with the coastal nature.
The attractions for travelers are: relaxing in the calm waters of the beaches, snorkeling in the natural pools, enjoying scuba diving (whether you are a beginner or advanced), taking buggy rides along the region’s beaches, practicing water sports (surfing, kitesurfing, canoeing or standard up padre), go shopping in the main town of Porto, enjoy local cuisine (mainly fish and seafood) or simply have a few days of “king” at one of the various resorts in the region.
Unfortunately on this trip I can only stay 4 days, 3 of which are full, so I will show you my itinerary is some more tips to do if you have more days.
First day: Arrival and Beach in Porto de Galinhas
Our arrival was on a Thursday morning, very early, at 9am.
We arrived in Recife on a Latam flight and as soon as we got down in the city we went to the car rental company window to collect our vehicle.
Rental value for 3 days: 300 reais with daily insurance
Make a quote through the Rentacars website
Toll amount for the highway that connects Recife to Porto: R $ 6.60 (December / 2016)
The route between Recife and Porto de Galinhas was fast and smooth. We used Waze and in 40 to 50 minutes we were already inside the hotel to change clothes and run to enjoy the day.
As our check in could only be done at 2:30 pm we left our bags in the car, changed clothes in the hotel bathroom and left for Porto de Galinhas beach.
The day was filled with lots of sand, salt water and relaxation.
We were “dead with farofa” from the night trip, but very happy and willing to spend the day making the most of that paradise!
On this day our itinerary included: sea, beer, sun, fish, manioc (cassava for cariocas and cassava for paulistas) and that deserved bronze.
After almost 6 hours of beach, we returned to the hotel and decided to take advantage of the pool for a little more relaxation and total leisure.
We ended the day with a nice shower and dinner on the Porto promenade (main street for shopping and food).
The tips for this beach day in Porto de Galinhas are:
- Choose the point on the beach you want to stay and wait for the thousands of “locations” that will approach you offering chairs and umbrellas;
- The service of chairs and umbrellas is not charged, only consummation, so do not worry, sit down, consume something and relax;
- If you arrive early you will notice that the tide will be low (that is, the strip of sand will be “big”), but do not be fooled into staying very close to the sea, because every day around noon the tide rises ( the strip of sand small) and you will have to move to another location;
- Hold your pocket for the thousands of food options that exist on the beach. The options are varied and for all tastes: corn, açaí, hot dogs, cocktails, rennet cheese, shrimp, oysters, and much more.
Second day: Carneiros Beach and Natural Pools
Located about 40 km (40 to 50 minutes by car) from Porto de Galinhas, Praia de Carneiros is a part of the coast of Pernambuco.
If Porto de Galinhas is located in the municipality of Ipojuca, Carneiros is in Tamandaré.
On this beach you will find perfect nature, with a beautiful stretch of sand, crystal clear and calm waters and natural pools to enjoy water sports, in addition to being able to count on a beautiful structure of leisure and service.
Our day’s itinerary started with a nice reinforced coffee from the hotel and our departure at 8:30 am to Carneiros.
We went to Tamandaré with the help of Waze and soon we were already in a beautiful indication of friends, Bora Bora (site of the place). This “club” by the sea has a complete and cozy structure. There you will find everything 2 steps away from the water, chairs, loungers, puffs, lockers, restaurant / bar, rest lounge, showers, bathrooms, children’s park and great service.
Parking fee: 30 reais (per car)
In this place we stayed all day (about 6 hours), enjoying the best that this beach had to offer us!
Our option was to enjoy the “club”, the beach and its surroundings, but there is an option for a catamaran ride from Carneiro that is also very popular with tourists.
Catamaran Tour: The tour starts on the Rio Formoso and the first stop is for the clay bath on Guadalupe beach, after this stop the catamaran goes to the centenary São Benedito Church, after that point the second stop is on a sand bank huge right next to the clay walls, between the beaches of Guadalupe and Carneiros, and the third and last stop of the tour is in the natural pools.
After that perfect beachy day, we went back to the hotel and left for another activity of the day: the raft ride to the natural pools of Porto de Galinhas.
Disputed among tourists, the walk in the natural pools formed by the coral reefs during low tide allows the sensation of being in a real aquarium full of colorful fish.
The tip to perform this activity is to find out about the tide times. As I mentioned above, these pools can only be accessed at low tide, and this is not happening all day.
There are specific times and therefore information at that time is essential!
To find out, look for the reception of your hotel, the ticket office where you sell the raft tickets (see more below) or check on some totems scattered around the main boardwalk (in these totems there is a calendar for the current month with daily information about the times high and low tide).
The ticket booth for the raft ride is very close to Restaurante Barcaxeira , a very famous place in Porto.
Rua da Esperança, 458, Porto de Galinhas Village, Porto de Galinhas – PE
Price of the tour: 25 reais per person (fixed price)
I got on the raft around 5pm and the tour ended after 40 to 50 minutes.
The route includes snorkeling, walking through the corals and a relaxing end in a natural pool full of fish!
After getting to know the most famous activity in Porto, I returned to the hotel for a well-deserved rest and to recover with a beautiful post-beach bath.
In the evening, it was time to visit the Barcaxeira Restaurant , a highly recommended place, with a very neat decoration and very tasty local food.
The day ended right after dinner!
Third day: More Beach and Tour “Ponta a Ponta”
For the last full day we reserve the morning for more beach, we return to Porto de Galinhas, sun and total relaxation.
We stayed from 9 am to 12 pm enjoying a little more of the beauty of the main beach and after this time we returned to the hotel to continue with our tour hired for the afternoon tour.
We chose the afternoon, as we were told that at this time we could end the tour with a beautiful sunset. And that’s what we did!
We left the hotel by buggy at 1pm and headed towards the first stop: Praia do Cupe.
There the buggy leaves us for about 1 hour so that we can enjoy the beach and the structure of a restaurant by the sea.
After Cupe we went to Praia de Muro Alto. This beach has a very different nature. There you will find a huge natural pool formed by the sea.
We stayed there for about 2 hours, enjoying the sea and the end of the day.
We left around 16h towards Maracaípe Beach.
This beach is unlike any we have ever visited. There you will find a more “open” sea and more waves. It is mainly used for surfing, but it is also accessed by swimmers in general. The public he attends is younger and cooler, unlike Porto, where there are more families.
We went by buggy to see the “vibe” of the place and then we went to the “tip” of this beach, the Pontal de Maracaípe.
On this beach there is a promenade that is part of an environmental preservation project, HippoCampus , where you take a raft ride through the mangrove to observe sea horses of different shades.
We chose not to, as we had already done something similar in Natal.
As we made the option of walking on the beach to Pontal, the buggy left us and we were walking (about 10 minutes) on the sand.
This place is beautiful!
There you can see the junction of the sea and the river and can enjoy two very delicious moments: natural pools and the wonderful sunset.
We closed the tour with this scenario.
We return to the hotel, have a nice shower and go out to dinner.
Tonight we booked for a nice pizza, and went to Pizzaria Paulista , also a great place to enjoy this Italian delicacy.
We finished the day right after dinner.
For the fourth day, as we didn’t have much time due to the check out and the return flight time, we decided to enjoy the hotel’s pool in the morning, and just after noon (after check out) we went to lunch in the center.
After lunch we headed towards the capital, Recife, and decided to take a short car tour (since we had time before the flight) through Praia de Boa Viagem and the hills of Olinda.
Boa Viagem beach is about 10 minutes from Recife airport and accessing it was very easy.
Then we continue along the seaside avenue (Avenida Boa Viagem) until we cross the Governador Agamenon Magalhães bridge towards Olinda.
We arrived at the center after 20 minutes and stopped at Alto da Sé for some photos.
Alto da Sé is part of the historic site of Olinda, a city located in the metropolitan region of Recife. There, it is possible to enjoy Pernambuco handicrafts at the Handicraft Market.
In this place, too, it has a beautiful view of the Recife Pier.
So we closed our long weekend itinerary.
The beaches of Porto de Galinhas:
- Camboa beach: next to Muro Alto beach and close to the port of Suape, this charming beach with coconut trees and natural pools is located where the sea waters mix with the river, from there you can look at Cabo de Santo Augustine;
- Muro Alto Beach : calm waters without waves, Muro Alto beach is a large natural pool formed by reefs that do not let the big and strong waves of the sea cross this wall that nature created. It is an ideal beach for the practice of sports such as jetski and water skiing, as well as for taking a bath safely enjoying transparent, warm and shallow waters;
- Cupe Beach : Beach with a great variety of hotels, coconut trees and emerald green waters, in its extension it presents an area with natural pools formed by the coral reefs, in addition to sea with strong waves where you can surf, having been host to several competitions;
- Porto de Galinhas Beach: it is the central beach with the highest concentration of tourists and the most beautiful natural pools. At low tide, you can reach them by walking through the waters of the sea, swimming or on the famous Jangadas that take you from the coast to the reefs where you will be able to dive with fish of charming colors and meet the reef that naturally drew a map of Brazil, is a real postcard. The beach has a wide variety of tents and services. Porto de Galinhas is one of the most sought after destinations in Brazil;
- Maracaípe Beach: an important surf spot in Brazil, being one of the locations of the Brazilian Circuit, its strong waves and deep waters accompanied by the wind make Maracaípe an ideal place for surfing and kitesurfing. On Maracaípe beach is the Vila de Todos os Santos, which has bars and restaurants that are the best option to enjoy the summer nights;
- Pontal de Maracaípe : at the mouth of the Maracaípe River, it is a beach where the sea and the river meet, forming a beautiful landscape composed of sand banks, corals and exuberant vegetation. In Pontal you can take raft trips that took you through the mangrove to get to know the local flora and fauna, you can even observe the seahorses, who live in the waters of the Maracaípe River, a species preserved by the HippoCampus Project;
- Enseadinha : beach of coconut trees, reefs, calm sea and lush vegetation. It is located in the Maracaípe river bar;
- Serrambi Beach: beach located on the other side of the Maracaípe River, it has places with reefs that form natural swimming pools that are great for swimming. Serrambi is an ideal beach for diving since in its depths you can see very old shipwrecks. It is also a beach suitable for surfing. It has some bars and services and several rental houses;
- Cacimbas Beach: beach with coconut trees and many coral reefs. Very close to the beach, a large rock formation built over time the most charming swimming pool in the sea, with a large number of caves. Another sample that nature is the best architect;
- Toquinho beach: located to the south, next to Cacimbas beach and the Sirinhaém river bar, this is where the river and the sea mix. At Toquinho beach, nature shows all its splendor, has strong waves in addition to natural pools and the charming view of Santo Aleixo Island.
Some activities to do in Porto de Galinhas are:
- Buggy rides , covering the entire region, visiting the beaches and enjoying a trip with a view to paradise;
- Dive snorkeling with the colorful fish and the wide marine biodiversity;
- Surf, practiced in Maracaípe or Cupe, two beaches with excellent conditions to practice this sport for both amateurs and experienced ones. For the good and strong waves, Maracaípe and Cupe were host of professional competitions;
- Kitesurfing, if you want to take kite lessons, at Maracaípe beach there are instructors and great winds. Kitesurfing is practiced with a board and a kite, it is an almost new extreme sport that every day has more fans. It is like flying over water;
- Raft trips to the natural pools formed by coral reefs and mangrove tours;
- Jet ski, Water ski, on the beach of Muro Alto. Kayaking in Porto;
- Do hiking and horseback riding;
- Walks through Vila dos Pescadores, in the center of Porto de Galinhas, enjoying the restaurants, bars, handicrafts and shops, ideal for buying souvenirs from the trip;
- Enjoy the night in Vila de Todos os Santos, in Maracaípe, in bars and nightclubs with parties, concerts, live music, and a great mood;
- Know the local flora and fauna, such as the seahorse , endangered species, crabs, sea cucumbers, turtles and the charming mangrove vegetation;
- To know the local gastronomy, to try the famous tapiocas of the Brazilian Northeast.
Some tours to do in Porto de Galinhas are:
- Galés (Natural Pools, Maragogi, Alagoas): a charming ride on a catamaran or boat from the central beach of Maragogi, Alagoas, covering 6 km by the sea, until reaching Galés, a set of incredible natural pools, full of colorful fish and corals, there the water is emerald green and very crystalline, with one of the best visibility conditions in the world. To take this tour you must take into account the tide table, since it must be done at low tide. It is a tour for the whole family, suitable for all ages, you can enjoy a baptism of diving, snorkeling, and even if you do not know how to swim you can also enjoy this tour as in Galés they have lifeguards to accompany you. Right after this tour of the natural pools, a delicious lunch will be waiting for you at Maragogi’s restaurant, with the freshest and most delicious seafood,
- Olinda: n the state of Pernambuco this colonial style city is located, it is one of the oldest in Brazil. In 2005, Olinda was chosen as the First Cultural Capital of Brazil, and its historic center was declared by UNESCO in 1982 as a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A great attraction is the Carnival in Olinda, since it is very picturesque and still preserves the traditional dances of Africa and Portugal, it is a wonderful Carnival visited by tourists from all over the world. Living the days of revelry in Olinda is a unique experience that you will never forget;
- Santo Aleixo Island: located on the south coast of the state of Pernambuco. Santo Aleixo Island is another interesting tour to do in Porto de Galinhas. Of volcanic origin, the island is composed mostly of rocks and a lot of vegetation, at low tide charming natural pools are formed. It is an ideal place for diving enthusiasts. There are boats that go from Toquinho beach to the island;
- Carneiros: 5 km from the city of Tamandaré, by boat, you will find this wild and paradisiacal beach, considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Its almost virgin beauty does not cease to impress its visitors, the calm sea, its coconut groves, the picturesque church of São Benedito, and the whole landscape make up the most beautiful postcard image. Generally, boat trips will take you to enjoy this beach, the sand banks and to catch some delicious and revitalizing mud baths;
- Recife City Tour: Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco. The old Recife, due to the charm of its buildings, skyscrapers, bridges, islands and rivers, in addition to beautiful beaches, is called “Brazilian Venice” and considered the historic heart of the city. It is one of the main tourist and cultural regions, and one of the most developed cities in Brazil. Recife has many outstanding parties during the year, such as New Year’s parties and Carnival, known worldwide along with Olinda as the largest carnival in the world.
HippoCampus Project (sea horse)
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