Brazil is one of those special places where you can feel the distinct culture the minute you step off the plane. The climate is warm, the beach is everywhere, and the people are friendly, open, and fun!
A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane and headed to Brazil. I had always wanted to visit Brazil, but didn't have plans to do so until my friend, Barbara, who I had met studying abroad in Milan, Italy, invited me to stay with her and her family and attend her wedding!
I couldn't say no to this invitation, so I booked my flight and made plans to be off of work for a couple weeks!
First of all, Recife is gorgeous. It's a large city right on the water. It gets it's name from the word "arrecifes" which means "reefs" in Portuguese. There are large reefs surrounding the beaches. They keep the water nice and clear, and also make snorkeling a blast-- so many different colored fishes!
Where to Explore
- Boa Viagem beach - This is the beach that surrounds the city of Recife. I came to sit out for a whole day here. There are vendors passing by with tropical juices, seafood, and local delicacies. All you have to do is relax under your umbrella and watch the waves!
- Museu de Frevo, Museu de Luis Gonzaga (Forrò), and the Museo do Recife/Forte das Cinco Pontas - Incredible museums dedicated to the art, dance, culture, and history of Pernambuco and in particular, Recife. The Frevo museum was my favorite-- It was so interactive, and I even got to take a Frevo dance class!
- Marco Zero - This point is located in Recife Antigo ("the old city center) and it's the center of Recife. The distances to all the cities in the world are measured from this spot!
- Ilha do Retiro soccer stadium - Soccer is huge in Brazil, and always a good time! I saw the team, Sport, play, but from what I heard about the teams, I think I would become a Santa Cruz fan-- they're the rebellious underdogs of the three teams from Recife :)
- Porta das Galinhas beaches- This beach is surrounded my an amazing reef with the coolest snorkeling!
- Maracaibe beach- This beach is near Porta das Galinhas, but quieter, less touristy, and so peaceful! Make sure to eat some crab here.
- Olinda - The old town of Olinda is a fun site to see. It has a beautiful view of Recife, and the houses are all different bright colors. I ate some Tapioca and Açaí sorvete here!
- Beauty Bar Recife - My friends own this blow out and make-up bar, and we all went there before the wedding to get ready. They did a half french fishtail braid in my hair and I loved it! If you want a fun makeover that's truly Brasileira, check them out here!
When You're Hungry
My favorite thing to do when I'm in a new country is to try the cuisine! I was picked up at the airport by my friend and greeted with Guaraná soda and coxinhas. I don't typically drink soda, but I tried this fruity drink and I loved the idea of using tropical fruits to make local sodas. The coxinha was amazing: it's a fried dumpling with shredded chicken, cheese, and potato. Yummy!
Her family prepared different amazing food for us to eat everyday: feijoada (a bean stew with meat and veggies), couve salad (the leaves of the cauliflour- they grow best in warm climates like Mozambique and Brazil), bolo de rolo (a cake made with guava puree)... We ate a ton of seafood, including clams that we "fished" out of the Bay ourselves, fresh fruits and caipi-frutas drinks, and meat (especially the last night when we went to a churrascaria!). Another one of my Brazilian friends, named Gabi, owns her own chocolate shop, too, called Dona Maroca. Their Brownie Bar is AMAZING. She gave me some to bring home, and I ate them the first day back-- oh well for trying to save the chocolate for a rainy day!
Things to Bring
Be sure to bring sunscreen with a high SPF. My faves are the Juice Beauty or Bare Republic by Coola all natural sunscreens. You will also be so happy to bring a hat or two.
What else? Bring your bathing suit, some sundresses, rompers, flip flops, and colorful flowy tops. I didn't end up wearing too much of my black, monocromatic wardrobe, but rather borrowed colorful items from my Brazilian friends!
I also brought my yoga mat, essential oils, and a journal to maintain my self care when away. Oh! And bring a refillable water bottle (I love my BKR one) so that you can stay hydrated while exploring!
Até logo! <3