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Olinda & A Praia de Patacho

Olinda, full of pride. Symbol of a region with a rich cultural heritage. It is located next to the imposing capital of Pernambuco, Recife, and contrasts with its southern coast, an authentic Caribbean picture-postcard landscape.

It is the striking contrast of this part of the Northeast of Brazil between two great capitals, Recife and Salvador de Bahia that we propose to introduce you to.

It is a combination of destinations rarely offered to travelers. The Brazilians and the people living along this coast have long known its exceptional qualities! Or have they? When you are born into a natural paradise, are you really aware of your privilege? Probably not. That is how this series of beaches has remained widely unknown to this day. Let’s take a closer look !

Geography and climate

We are 100 kilometers south of Brazil’s easternmost point, Ponta do Seixas, north of a long coastline which enjoys a humid Atlantic tropical climate stretching to Rio, more than 2000 km away. In this region where the trade winds blow, the average yearly temperature does not fall below 24° Celsius… It is hard to beat! The capital of Pernambuco is aptly named (recife means reef). It is to the presence of many coral reefs that we owe the blessings of the most crystal-clear water on these coasts.

In short: a mild tropical climate, a water which you can is guess warm and pretty and offers a monochrome of the most exotic blues and fine sandy beaches to top it off. What does this postcard-picture view lack? Obviously, an evocative vegetation: mangrove trees, coconut trees and other palm trees… The Mata Atlântica is not far away from this cinematographic scenery. This biome is important in the country because it prevails over a large part of eastern Brazil. The ecosystems it comprises are varied.

Olinda - Brésil

Patacho - Brésil

A few words about Olinda and Patacho


Brazil, Olinda - Rua coloridaThe best way to get to know Olinda is to walk down its steep cobbled streets, its hills; to see its beautiful colorful houses, its churches, its landscapes and at the same time enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the city.

The name of the city supposedly comes from a sentence pronounced by its founder Duarte Coelho who, surprised to discover such a pleasant place, would have said: “Oh! Such a beautiful location to found a city” in Portuguese “Oh! Linda…”. Since 1982, Olinda is registered as a Natural and Cultural Heritage Site. In its historical center there are 27 churches and chapels as well as many buildings that are the pride of its population.

To discover Olinda on foot despite the challenge is to give yourself the opportunity to feel this city’s atmosphere. The discovery can begin with the Carmo Square at the very bottom of the city where the church of the same name is located on a small hill. It is baroque and colonial and remained closed for a long time. Today its doors and golden treasures are open to the public. Then take the Amparo street. It is very lively with its many museums, workshops and restaurants. You will discover the “House of the Gigantic Puppets” which gathers immense artistic creations and emblematic faces of the great parade during the famous Carnival of Olinda.

This small artists’ town is very active. Several of its houses are inhabited by artists dedicated to different fields: music, painting, wood engraving. Many houses are open and the visitor who ventures there can find himself in a workshop, a museum or simply a nice little café.

In Rota Romántica via Patacho Beach, so little known and yet…

Brazil, Carneiros, church on the beachThe Caribbean ? In front of Central America, you say? No no no, the beaches you are showing me are in Brazil!” This imaginary dialogue could easily be that of a Brazilian native of this region.

Porto de Galinhas ~ Praia de Carneiros ~ Praia do Patacho ~ São Miguel dos Milagres ~ Maceió ~ Barra de São Miguel ~ Foz do Rio São Francisco ~ Penedo ~ Piranhas ~ Aracaju ~ Imbassaí ~ Salvador de Bahia…

These exotic sounding names weave a “necklace” of real natural pearls, some of which are unsuspected. Visiting these successive paradise beaches, which offer so many different aspects of the same region, going on excursions into the interior of the Rio São Francisco towards Piranhas; that is one of our great favorites in the vast Nordeste.

Beaches of such quality so far away from the Caribbean may be the obvious advantages of this place, yet it is the scarcity of travelers and the opportunity to discover, meet, feel and tread a territory in contact with Brazilians that makes this destination so different. To wander in this region is to discover another authentic Brazil and understand the eternal dilemma Brazilians face. While driven by the search for new resources it is difficult to abandon such natural sites to settle in cities.

Our expert opinion

Without hesitation we invite you to this itinerary which is ideal for a honeymoon but just as suitable for a family stay with children as we are sure it will leave its mark on you.

Crossing to Salvador de Bahia requires a minimum of ten days but it can be shortened according to your desires and to your schedule.

These stopovers are not tiring and can be planned at the end of a 2 to 3-week stay, especially if the beginning of the trip has had a higher pace. When you arrive in Salvador de Bahia you can either decide to take a more leisurely break on the island of Boibepa or set off again to discover a trekking and hiking area in Chapada Diamantina.

Why you should take the time to visit this region

In Olinda

  • Discover a special local dance, the Frevo de Olinda.
  • Have a break… Enjoy a refreshing coconut water (or a caïpirinha for the most seasoned travelers) at the top of one of Olinda’s 7 hills.
  • Enjoy one of the most appreciated and original Carnivals in Brazil
  • Get the strange feeling of making a timeless visit to a most original city. Olinda has plenty of historical monuments in the middle of an abundant tropical vegetation.

On the Rota Romántica

  • You will probably be the only one amongst your friends who have traveled to Brazil to have discovered this gem !
  • Relax in the gigantic natural hot water pools
  • Go snorkeling for all ages on a coral reef within sailing range
  • Walk on beaches like Patacho which is often classified among the most beautiful in Brazil
  • On the beach dos Carneiros, stop in front of the unusual sight of a church in the water surrounded by coconut trees
  • Complete your culinary discoveries thanks to the strong influence of Recife, which is considered the third gastronomic capital of Brazil

Information and anecdotes

Bora bora !

A restaurant was named “Bora Bora” in reference to the beaches of French Polynesia. What is funny is that Bora Bora sounds like the expression “vamos embora”, which is traditionally pronounced “M’bora, M’bora” and means “let’s go”, a little like “Yallah” in Arabic.
So the message is clear: Let’s go!

To go further…

Read the description of Olinda that Jean-Paul Delfino gives us in our “Travel diaries” section: terra-nordeste.com/en/olinda-seen-by-jean-paul-delfino/