Recife is a year-round city, with consistent temperatures in all four seasons. Monsoon rains and high humidity occur between March and September, while the driest and sunniest month is November, with average high temperatures peaking around 30C. Accordingly, the city holds festivals throughout the year, with well-attended New Year celebrations held at Praia de Boa Viagem and Old Recife. The biggest event of the year is Carnival, starting the week before Ash Wednesday. The event kicks off at the Galo da Madrugada party, and sees music, dance and food brought to every corner of the city. For week to week events, be sure to check-out the vintage Mercado de São José, where 545 stalls gather to sell a wide range of food, crafts and cordel literature.
Far from the fame of Rio and the mystique of the Amazon, sparkles a gem of Brazil’s crown that few outsiders have heard of. Known as the Venice of Brazil, Recife is a fine meeting of the old and the new where Dutch colonial architecture is neatly framed by the slender glisten of skyscrapers. Colourful streets of bleached paves thread through the old town, leading to an expansive sea front of white powder sand and warm ocean water. Recife boasts three public beaches, Boa Viagem, Pina and Brasília Teimosa, each readily accessible from the city centre and generously stocked with cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. And if that wasn’t enough, Boa Viagem is illuminated at night, making it a popular haunt for younger visitors. The city is also packed with theatres, galleries and museums, as well as its fair share of acclaimed restaurants and hotels.
For those looking further afield, no visit to Recife would be complete without making the journey to the comely town of Olinda, just north of the city limits. Having changed little since it was established in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Olinda boasts some of the best preserved examples of colonial architecture in all of Brazil.
Recife is easy to navigate via public transport, with the second largest metro network in Brazil serving 28 different stations across the city. Three lines operate daily from early morning to late evening, with both the airport and the beachfront located on the blue line. The city is also served by a wide-reaching bus line, the Sistema Estrutural Integrado (SEI). SEI offers 119 services, each integrated with the subway system at 13 points throughout the greater Recife metropolitan area.
Recife is served by Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport. Flights operate to Rio, Lisbon, Miami and Frankfurt throughout the year, with Lima served on a seasonal basis. Car hire is available at the airport, as are a number of private hire taxi firms. Bus services also run to and from Recife throughout operating hours.