The northeast of Brazil, once wealthy with vast sugar plantations, has a cultural identity all of its own to complement its wonderful beaches.
Near Natal is Pipa, whose gorgeous top-ten beach is visited by turtles and the bay by porpoises. Close to Recife is Olinda, a preserved cobbled town of traditional baroque Portuguese churches and houses, a centre of culture and the arts with an effervescent display at Carnival. Sweeping beaches at Porto de Galinhas and Maragogi can be reached from here while the marine wonderland of Fernando de Noronha is a diving and snorkelling magnet with Unesco status.
Further south, Bahia's seemingly infinite tropical coast has something to suit everyone: typically Brazilian beach towns such as Praia do Forte and Morro de São Paulo have attractive palm-lined beaches within easy reach of Salvador. Upmarket Trancoso has fine boutique hotels and a gorgeous village square. Meanwhile, Boipeba island, the Marau peninsula and the remote village of Caraiva remain off the beaten track and perfect for those seeking unspoilt Brazil.
When's the best time to visit the beaches of northeast Brazil?
It’s hot with plenty of sunshine all rear round, but most rain falls between Mar and Jul, so the Brazilian summer is relatively dry. Beaches can be busy in the local holiday months of late Dec to Feb.
What's the official language of the beaches of northeast Brazil?
Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue.
What's the time difference between the beaches of NE Brazil and UK?
GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct to the end of Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.
What places combine well with beaches of NE Brazil?
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil’s most exotic city (1.5 hours by air from Natal, 1hour 20mins from Recife); Lençóis in the Chapada Diamantina, via Salvador and a 6 hour drive.
How do I get to beaches of NE Brazil?
Flight time to Recife 12 hours, to Natal via Lisbon is 13 hours 40mins.
What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events at beaches of NE Brazil?
Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable: 28 Feb – 4 Mar 2014. Olinda’s carnival is world famous and one of the most exotic and colourful.
Football World Cup: 12 Jun - 13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil are hosting games, Natal and Recife among them.
How do I get local currency at beaches of NE Brazil?
Brazilian Real. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs of Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC in Recife and Natal using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.