Zona da Mata of Pernambuco

The cities of the Zona da Mata, such as Carpina, Nazaré da Mata, Tracunhaém and Vicência, were born around the great sugar cane mills and sugar cane factories and have as their attraction the rural maracatu and history.

“Without sugar you cannot understand the man of the Northeast”. These words by Pernambuco sociologist Gilberto Freyre reflect the influence of the sugar cane cycle in Pernambuco and today it is still possible to experience the past through visits to preserved mills in the interior of the state.

The Zona da Mata was the beginning of this era that boosted Pernambuco’s economy between the 17th and 19th centuries and transformed the region into a great cultural granary uniting the traditions of African slaves, white colonisers and native Indians.

Some old sugar mills have been preserved, are open to visitors with guides available to tourists and others have been transformed into inns where visitors have the opportunity to get in touch with history, nature, gastronomy and local handicrafts. Cities such as Vicência, Nazaré da Mata, Paudalho, Carpina have beautiful landscapes and an impressive historical collection, in addition to the diversity of itineraries, as it is possible to rest, but also find routes for the more adventurous.

The city of Vicência, 75 km from Recife, has natural beauties that call the most daring for a walk. Waterfalls, mountains and forests are the perfect setting for those seeking, in addition to the history of the city, adventure tourism.

But a trip to the region would not be complete if the tourist did not know the process of making cachaça. Several producers open their doors to visitors. The town of Lagoa do Carro houses the Cachaça Museum with a collection of 8,000 bottles from various parts of Brazil and the world.

A tradition that has been passed down from father to son for several generations, Maracatu Rural (or Maracatu de Baque Solto) has its strongest presence in the city of Nazaré da Mata, known as the “Land of Maracatu”. The city, which has numerous groups, is only 65 kilometres from Recife, and is a great option for those who like to know cultural manifestations, because in addition to Maracatu, it is rich in Cavalo-Marinho and Coco.

Those who seek religiosity in their tours should certainly visit the city of Paudalho, located 44 km from the capital of Pernambuco.

The main attraction of the city is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Luz, which houses the image of São Severino and is considered miraculous, attracting thousands of pilgrims. And, of course, you can’t miss the old mills of the municipality and the historic centre with Portuguese houses.

To get to know the Zona da Mata is to understand an era of fundamental importance for the state and for the cultural formation of a people.

All of this can be seen in the presentations of cultural manifestations, it can be felt through the local gastronomy, it was in the sugar cane mills that the Pernambuco fascination for sweets arose, and kept in memory, the region is one of the richest in handicrafts and each city stands out for a typical production of its people.

Tourism and Travel Guide of the Zona da mata of Pernambuco