Brazil’s tropical playground is an area known as the northeast that encompasses nine states that between them cover an area larger than the UK, Germany, France and Italy combined.
Recife is the capital of Pernambuco. In Portuguese the word “recife” means “reef”, and it is the reefs that sit off the coast of Pernambuco that have helped make its beaches so special, the reefs breaking up the waves rolling in off the Southern Atlantic Ocean. This includes the beaches of Recife itself, including the popular Praia de Boa Viagem.
Recife and neighbouring Olinda boast a fine collection of colonial buildings and churches dating from the 16th and 17th century. Olinda, one of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial centres, is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Recife grew and was influenced by its residential mix of Portuguese settlers, Amerindians and African slaves. The city also reflects the influence of the Dutch settlers who invaded and controlled Recife and Olinda from 1630 to 1654. During this period the city was considered one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and housed Brazil’s first Jewish community and as a result the first synagogue in the Americas was built and can still be visited.
Close to Recife are some of the most popular beach resorts in Brazil. 50 miles (83 kms) to the south is Porto de Galinhas where it is possible to visit the reef and swim in natural tidal pools teaming with exotic tropical fish. The village of Porto de Galinhas has character and charm that is reflected in its many bars and restaurants.
Recife plays host to five matches during the World Cup that will be played in the city’s brand new Arena Pernambuco that has been built in one of the city’s new suburbs to help promote economic development.
In 1950 Recife was the only city in the northeast to host a World Cup match and that was a game that saw Chile beat the US 5-2 in the 10,000 seater Estadio Ilha do Retiro.
Arena Pernambuco – Schedule:
Saturday, 14 June, 22.00 (Ivory Coast x Japan)
Friday, 20 June, 13.00 (Ecuador x Honduras)
Monday, 23 June, 17.00 (Spain x Australia)
Thursday, 26 June, 13.00 (Algeria x Russia)
Saturday, 29 June, 17.00 (round of 16)