a VirtualTourist member from Des Moines
Our Rotary district has entered into an exchage with the Brazilian district around around Recife. This will take place about a year from now and members have yet to be selected. There is no doubt that they will receive the best of attention from their Rotary hosts.
I was just wondering if there might be something that they should see or do not on the normal agenda to experience the local culture, economy, etc.
I have discovered here that some of the best information comes from people that have only visited there. Having lived in a place all their lives, the locals don't always appreciate it.
I´m living in Recife although I´m oringinally from the UK. I would advise anyone visiting here to first learn some Portuguese, not many people speak English here and it´s sad when I see people from all over the world staying with a host family yet they can´t converse at all. Listen to some of the music from Brazil, this in fact helped me learn Portuguese quicker and now I can sing along and recognise many of the songs you hear at night in the bars.
The more knowledge you have of the area before arriving the more you will gain.
Recife and the surrounding areas can be dangerous it´s important that visitors take care not to draw too much attention to themselves, carry only what cash you need for the day, do not wear expensive jewellery etc, or carry expensive cameras around or mobile phones.
It is dark by 6pm and not adviseable to travel alone after this time.
So taking all the above into consideration to get the most from Pernambuco keep an open mind. Do not compare to your home life this is a different experience and be careful not to offend people by pointing out what things here maybe are not so good.
I tend to avoid the shopping centres here, try go to the market or local fair where the locals will go to buy fresh fruit and veg etc, you´ll learn nothing in a shopping centre or "mall".
Do not expect to find the same foods and drink you may be used to, there are many things I´ve learned to live without.
If you are selecting members they need to be people capable of leaving their expectations and predjudices behind, this is not a state aimed at tourists, you may find standards not as good as home things are simple and basic from the houses to the food, the roads to the customer service, and many will not understand your complaints nor care.
Visit Olinda it´s a must, go to Maracaipe Beach and Porto de Galinhas beach,
The more resourses you have before arriving the better, I really can´t stress enough the importance of knowing some Portuguese, I learned loads from the following website
Also a great site for people visiting and expats living in Brazil www.gringoes.com
and I also have had some good info from the team at
I have just come back from a stay in recife and Itamaraca, I have set up an msn site with information and photographs of the area with lots of info that I have collated before and after my visit there, i found it to be a wonderful place to visit, i hope you find this useful.