North Coast of Pernambuco

The north coast of Pernambuco is full of cities that offer a variety of tourist attractions, with Goiana, Igarassu and Itamaracá Island standing out. Each of these cities has unique characteristics, combining beautiful beaches, rich history and vibrant culture.

The North Coast of Pernambuco is almost completely urbanised from Recife to the Paraíba border, which includes the tourist towns of Goiana, Igarassu and Itamaracá Island.

The north coast of Pernambuco is more densely populated than the south coast, almost completely urbanised from the Metropolitan Region of Recife to the Paraíba border.

It has some of the most important historical sites in the region, such as the municipalities of Olinda, Itamaracá and Goiana, which began to be populated in 1508. Buildings from colonial Brazil, such as Fort Orange, are much visited by tourists passing through the region.

In addition to the beaches, it is also known for having the Veneza Water Park, one of the largest water parks in Brazil, located on Marinha Farinha beach, a neighbourhood in the city of Paulista, in the metropolitan region of Recife.

The main beaches on the North Coast are in the municipalities of:

  • Paulista (Maria Farinha, Conceição, Pau Amarelo and Janga beaches)
  • Goiana (Pontas de Pedra, Carne de Vaca, Catuama, Barra de Catuama and Atapuz)
  • Itamaracá (Itamaracá and Gavoa beaches)
  • Olinda (Rio Doce and Casa Caiada beaches)

Tourist spots and attractions on the north coast of Pernambuco

1. Goiana

  • Historic Centre of Goiana: The historic centre has colonial churches, such as the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Homens Pretos and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Soledade, as well as old mansions dating back to the 18th century.
  • Sugar Mills: Visit traditional sugar mills to learn about the history of sugar and cachaça production. The Uruaé sugar mill is one of the best known and offers guided tours.
  • Goiana Sacred Art Museum: It houses a collection of religious art, including sculptures, paintings and liturgical objects dating back to the colonial period.
Events and Culture
  • Goiana Carnival: Known for its maracatu and caboclinhos traditions, the Goiana Carnival is a unique cultural experience.
  • Festas Juninas: June festivals are celebrated with quadrilhas, forró and typical food.

2. Igarassu

  • Igreja dos Santos Cosme e Damião: Considered the oldest functioning church in Brazil, dating back to 1535. It is an important historical and religious heritage site.
  • Convento de Santo Antônio: A Franciscan convent with a beautiful church and a sacred art museum displaying ancient religious pieces.
  • Historical Site of Igarassu: Stroll around the historical site to appreciate the colonial architecture and visit other churches and museums.
Nature and Leisure
  • Mangue Seco Beach: A quiet and little explored beach, ideal for those seeking peace and quiet and contact with nature.
  • Mangrove Ecological Reserve: A great place for hiking and observing the local fauna and flora.

3. Itamaracá Island

  • Praia do Forte Orange: One of the most popular beaches on the island, with calm waters and a historic setting provided by Fort Orange.
  • Forte Orange: A fort built by the Dutch in the 17th century, which today houses a museum and offers beautiful views of the sea.
  • Manatee Project: A manatee conservation and rehabilitation centre where visitors can learn about this endangered species and see the animals up close.
  • Coroa do Avião Island: A small island accessible by boat, famous for its crystal clear waters and rich marine life, ideal for diving and snorkelling.

4. Paulista

  • Maria Farinha Beach: Known for its calm, clear waters, it is ideal for families and water sports.
  • Veneza Water Park: One of the largest water parks in Brazil, offering a variety of attractions for all ages.

5. Abreu e Lima

  • Jaguaribe Beach: A less explored beach, perfect for those seeking tranquillity and contact with nature.

6. Culture and Events

  • Itamaracá Carnival: With frevo, maracatu and ciranda blocks, the Itamaracá Carnival is vibrant and colourful.
  • Ciranda de Lia de Itamaracá: Lia is a famous cirandeira, and her performances are a must for those who want to get to know the traditional music and dance of the region.

Tips for Visitors

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit is during the dry season, from September to March, when the weather is more pleasant for outdoor activities.
  • Transport: Renting a car can be convenient for exploring the towns and beaches with more freedom. There are also public transport options and taxi services.
  • Accommodation: The region offers a variety of accommodation options, from simple inns to more luxurious resorts.
  • Gastronomy: Be sure to try the local cuisine, which includes dishes based on seafood such as fish and prawns, as well as typical Pernambuco delicacies such as tapioca and bolo de rolo.

These cities on the north coast of Pernambuco offer an enchanting combination of stunning beaches, rich history and vibrant culture, providing a memorable experience for all visitors.