Porto de Galinhas is Pernambuco’s top beach destination

Porto de Galinas
Porto de Galinas

Porto de Galinhas is located in the municipality of Ipojuca and 50 km from Recife, Porto de Galinhas is the main tourist centre on the south coast of Pernambuco.

The fame of Porto de Galinhas is due to the diversity of natural beauties, such as the mangrove swamp and the beach of white sand, coconut trees and crystal clear waters, with an average temperature of 28ºC.

A true natural pool that shelters colourful fish and turtles amidst the paradisiacal scenery formed by coral reefs.

Named Costa dos Arrecifes due to the successive reefs that dot it, this stretch of coastline comprises the beaches of southern Pernambuco in the direction Recife – Maceió, from the city of Cabo de Santo Agostinho, where the port of Suape is located, to Tamandaré, near Alagoas, with main access via PE-060.

The best beaches are Gaibu, Calhetas, Pedra do Xaréu and Camboa, in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, by PE-028; Muro Alto, Cupe, da Vila and Maracaípe, in Porto de Galinhas, by PE-038; and Carneiros and Tamandaré, in Tamandaré, by PE-076.

You can get to know them in quick trips from Recife, since the most distant beach on the route is about 100 kilometres away.

Another possibility is to stay for a few days in Cabo de Santo Agostinho or Porto de Galinhas, both with infrastructure of inns, hotels and resorts.

See the map of the south coast of Pernambuco.

The Costa dos Arrecifes alternates between busy and quieter places and offers various types of leisure: diving in coral pools, hiking, buggy rides, surfing and water sports.

Videos about Porto de Galinhas

See also Sugar canyons around Porto de Galinhas

TOURIST POINTS OF PORTO DE GALINHAS

Pernambuco’s main beach destination, it was once an important and busy point of entry for slave ships.

After abolition, boats loaded with slaves, nicknamed “galinhas de Angola” (chickens of Angola) – from which the village derives its name – would clandestinely dock here.

Until the 1970s, this district of Ipojuca was just a quiet fishing village. Nowadays, its beaches with warm waters are one of the most sought after during the Northeastern summer and offer various tours – such as buggy rides to neighbouring beaches, raft rides to natural pools and coral reefs where you can dive, as well as walks along trails and mangroves and surfing.

At night, fun is guaranteed in the bars, small restaurants and shops grouped in Rua da Esperança and in the Natural Pools square, where there are cafés and beer parlours facing the sea.

Access to Porto de Galinhas, 60 kilometres from Recife, is easy, with well-signposted roads. From the capital of Pernambuco, take the BR-101 motorway towards the south coast.

Then, in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, take the PE-060 to lpojuca, followed by the PE-038 to Nossa Senhora do Ó and, finally, the PE-09.

1. BY BOAT BY THE MARACAÍPE RIVER

RIO MARACAÍPE
RIO MARACAÍPE

The mangrove by the Maracaípe River is a seahorse preservation area monitored by the Hippocampus project.

Rafts depart from Pontal de Maracaípe, in front of the Boca na Botija restaurant, and take 40-minute trips, when you can see the species that reproduce there before returning to the sea, as well as crabs, crabs, oysters, fish and, with luck, some rays.

The seafood-based lunch is freshly prepared in a restaurant set up on a raft.

The menu includes fried fish, salad, crab soup, coconut water and beer. There is no telephone number for bookings, but tours can be hired every day at Pontal do Maracuípe.

2. BUGGY RIDE

Pleasant half-day or full-day buggy rides explore the northern and southern beaches of Porto de Galinhas, all departing from Vila beach.

It is possible to hire a buggy and drive it yourself, but it is recommended to hire one with a driver, as it is not uncommon for the vehicle to get stuck or to have to divert the route due to bad weather.

The best-known tour is the “tip to tip”, offered by the local buggy association, which covers the stretch from Muro Alto beach to Maracaípe in two and a half hours, and can reach Serrambi.

Other routes include the beaches of Cabo de Santo Agostinho in the north and Carneiros beach in the far south.

3. NATURAL POOLS

At low tide you can take one of the many rafts that leave from Vila beach and dive into the natural pools with a snorkel and mask to enjoy the fish up close and feed them with the urchins provided by the raftsmen.

It is also possible to explore the coral pools on foot, but it is advisable to wear shoes due to the presence of urchins embedded in the reefs.

4. SANTO ALEIXO ISLAND

ILHA DE SANTO ALEIXO
ISLAND OF SANTO ALEIXO

The boat trip to the beautiful and tiny island of Santo Aleixo, near Serrambi beach, leaves from Vila beach at around 8.30am.

A raft takes you to a boat with capacity for 25 people that sails along the beaches towards Tamandaré.

During the one-hour stay on the island, you can take a pleasant walk and snorkel and dive in the natural pools formed by the reefs.

Then it’s off to Carneiros beach, in Tamandaré, where you can stop for lunch and a swim in its calm waters. The tour ends around 5pm.

5. NIGHT LIFE

Porto de Galinhas offers nightlife for different tastes – forró, electronic music, black music, MPB, pop, rock and even axé.

In the village, there are venues with a varied musical programme and, in high season, the establishments take turns promoting musical events: each one is responsible for a special night on a day of the week, when a specific rhythm is played.

It is worth visiting the traditional forró do Palhoção, which takes place at weekends.

On Maracaípe beach, shows by bands from Pernambuco and raves attract the young crowd, who dance until dawn.

Porto de Galinhas Travel and Tourism Guide in Pernambuco

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