The Brazilian Northeast coast from Natal to Recife

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references

Journey along the Northeast coast to discover deserted and uncontaminated beaches, natural parks, history and culture.
This itinerary comes out of the conventional tourism schemes and goes to the discovery of the northernmost territory more? authentic. Starting point ? the city? of Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the section concerned goes from the city? of Touros, located 85 km north of Natal, in Recife, capital of Pernambuco, following the route of the BR 101, the coastal communication artery of Brazil, the states touched are Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, total km .470 on asphalt in good condition (the various deviations and extensions are not taken into account).
These three states are a perfect synthesis of all that you can? visit and learn about the history and culture of the Northeast, not only sea and beaches, although wonderful, but also cities? historical, natural parks of great interest and the indigenous reserve Potiguara, the most? ancient and populous, but also the most? accessible of Brazil. The ideal means of transport? surely the car, which in Natal you can? rent at very good prices, the development of the trip recommended and chosen by us,? the round trip formula dividing the destinations on the two routes so as not to face a single stretch of almost 500 km. and to save a possible drop off of the rental car.

Official exchange rate at the time 1 Euro - 3,9 R $
Warning: if you can avoid changing at the airport exchange office, it has very bad exchange rates. On the first floor of the airport (departures area) there are ATMs that accept foreign cards.

1 day

Arrival at 19.30 in Natal with TAP Portugal flight from Bologna (total duration at 9,30 with a stopover in Lisbon of 3 hours)
At the exit of the Natal airport, authorized taxis (with the inscription Taxi Aeroporto Sao Gon? Alo de Amarante) wait in line for the passengers, an employee takes care of the payment, receives the passengers and sort them on the various means, the journey from Sao Gon? alo airport to Natal takes about an hour and costs R $ 100.
We spend the first night, as scheduled, in Natal in the locality? Ponta Negra, the best equipped beach in the city? from the point of view of the accommodation facilities, the pousada we chose on is called Azzurra, very simple but clean and with some rooms overlooking the sea, cost R $ 150,00 with breakfast.

2 day

After breakfast we set off to rent a car for our trip. we find an excellent car rental in Pontanegra, it's called Pavel and is located on the coastal road that goes towards the center of Natal. We snatch, by bargaining, a good contract for a fairly new goal at R $ 70 a day for 18 days with unlimited mileage, we take the car, after having completed the formalities? bureaucratic, we go back to the pousada, load the luggage and leave, destination Pititinga where a friend manages a small B&B on the sea.
Pititinga? a tiny fishing village about sixty km. north of Natal,? an enchanting place that lends itself to a couple of days of relaxation and a couple of interesting excursions. Pititinga is part of the Costa dos Corais environmental protection area, also called the Caribe of Brazil. A few miles off the coast is a very beautiful coral reef with coral reefs, transparent water and considerable marine life.
The first excursion on site will be? right at the coral reef, we are lucky why? when we get to Pititinga the tide? low, an essential condition for reaching coral reefs. So we go immediately to Perobas, locality? from which small boats leave for the excursion. After 40 minutes of navigation among the waves we arrive at the coral reefs, the water suddenly becomes shallow and crystalline so that we can get off the boat and walk on the sand among the coral reefs. Each boat provides passengers with a kit of mask and snorkel to be able to snorkel and observe the marine flora and fauna. No doubt ? a fascinating and unique excursion that we recommend to everyone.

Warning: Can you make excursions to the coral reefs even from the locality? of Maracaja ?, pi? famous of Perobas and for this more? crowded, so if in Perobas the boats are small coastal boats and the tourists in very limited numbers in Maracaja? the excursions are made with catamarans for more? of 100 seats and then you will find yourself swimming with a lot of people that render? a bit stressful experience.

3 day

The day ? dedicated to visiting the Tao Paradise, which how does the name imply? a little paradise on earth that few are lucky enough to know.
Tao Paradise was born in 2014 from the mind of Davide, an Italian who moved to Brazil for years. In his exploration of lost places, Davide discovered a torrent of crystalline water so pure that it could be drunk, bought land on the river and created a tropical garden in which some structures made of ecological material are perfectly inserted where customers can shelter from the sun and their pleasure to enter the waters of the river to take a revitalizing bath or simply walk along the path traced by the river itself among the sounds of the surrounding nature. At 13 o'clock all customers are invited to the central structure, used as a dining room, to taste the gastronomic delicacies prepared by Davide and his team of cooks. It is a transcendental experience that introduces us to the flavors of local cuisine and ingredients combined with the knowledge and class of Italian cuisine.

To book at the Tao? it is necessary to get in touch with Davide at the site:
David will send you? also indications on how to reach the Tao, which is not very simple, but what to give? a touch of emotion in more? to your day. Cost of Day Use 150 R $ including a welcome drink, lunch and use of the structure. Operating hours 10.30 - 16.00.

4 day

The two days in Pititinga were exciting and we can certainly declare ourselves satisfied with the first impact with the Brazilian Northeast. How? in our intentions, it must be an exploration of places outside the conventional circuits, which few people are lucky enough to visit.
When we wake up we are charged and more? than ever hungry and curious to see more? and so? we immediately set off for the next stop: Baia da Tri? ao, in the state of Paraiba, home to the last Indigenous reserve, that of the trib? Potiguara, and of the mangrove and manatee forest conservation reserve. In our plans we have allocated three days to this stage why? there are several things to see and do and we decided to skip the entire south coast of Rio Grande do Norte and then stop at some of its beaches on the way back. To get to Baia da Trai? A or from Pititinga you can? take the BR 101 to Mamanguape (196 km.),? surely the path pi? short, but runs about thirty km. inside on a monotonous and uninteresting motorway, then we decide to allow ourselves a small detour by taking the RN 063 which runs parallel to the coast from Natal-Ponta Negra to Nisia Floresta passing through Pirang? do sul where is the cajueiro pi? big in the world. The cajueiro? the plant of the caj ?, the fruit from whose stalk? made the cashew and that of Pirang? ? a single plant that gave birth to a small forest of 8500 square meters; ? a very popular place, but it is certainly worthwhile to break the journey and stop to see the impressive intertwining of branches and aerial roots generated by a single twig planted by a fisherman in 1888. The itinerary then continues along the coast passing beautiful beaches with dunes and cliffs. Stop for lunch at Marina's Camar restaurant? Eg. Housed in an old disused railway station (the Parary station), you can eat at tables set on the platform overlooking the old platforms. The men? ? varied and includes typical regional dishes mainly based on prawns (as the name Camarao suggests in Portuguese means prawn), the decor and the vast collection of cacha? a (the liqueur produced from sugar cane) are also interesting. In the late afternoon we arrive in Baia da Trai? Ao to stay at the pousada Lua Cheia (pousada B&B overlooking the sea, it has clean and well maintained naturalistic themed rooms with all comforts, simple and informal. Price around 160 R $ with breakfast The owners of the pousada, who also have the authorization to visit the reserve, are Italians and immediately introduce us to the discovery of the local beauties by explaining us the customs and habits of the Indians who here, obviously, have partially adapted to "civilization?" modern, but which nevertheless still retain many of the original cultural aspects of the natives.
Do the Potiguara consider themselves a tribe? warrior and the chronicles confirm it why? were one of the native peoples to resist for more? time to Portuguese colonization. The reserve, which completely surrounds the town of Baia da Trai? Ao nestled in a splendid bay on the Atlantic, has 32 villages spread over forty hectares of indigenous land where there are also pristine beaches, natural springs and two areas of environmental preservation. of mangrove forest, one of which also hosts the "Peixe Boi" project for the protection of the sea manatee. We go to sleep with the knowledge that tomorrow will begin? a new adventure in another fantastic and almost unexplored place.

5 day

Our first day in Baia da Trai? Ao involves an easy hike on the beach to the fishing village of Coqueirinho.

Trekking to Coqueirinho beach
When you access the sea from the Ponta das Trinceiras, where the Pousada Lua Cheia is located, you find yourself in front of a strip of white sand covered with coconut palms that stretches out towards the ocean, the view? fantastic and is lost in a southerly direction for kilometers following the sinuous profile of the beach washed by the waves, on the horizon stand out the dark silhouettes of the palm trees of Coqueirinho 8 kilometers away. The walk is organized following the times of the tide, which in this region varies from 0 to 2.6 meters. The tide this morning? 0.1, among the pi? low of the year, and allows us to admire the Prainha beach in its maximum extension. We start walking southwards taking as a reference point a pair of palm trees that stand alone among the sand dunes called Romeo and Juliet, after a few hundred meters we leave the built-up area of ​​the city? to find us in a natural environment of incredible beauty made up of white sand dunes and coconut palms, looking east you can? clearly see the Ilha da Croa, a small beach formed between the barrier of recife (see the post geological monuments of Paraiba) as if it were an atoll in the middle of the sea.
After about 4 kilometers we reach and pass a tip and in front of us opens the wonderful bay of Coqueirinho, a half-moon shaped cove that extends for 3 kilometers, completely deserted, the sea here? calm and the low tide leaves uncovered a shoal that connects the beach to the barrier of recife which is here a few hundred meters away, we go all the way and we reach the small village of Coqueirinho inhabited by a few Potiguara indians who are dedicated to collecting clams. The village ? composed of two rows of houses on either side of a sandy road, the only way to connect with the city, at the end of the road there is the small church of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes where every year the statue of the patron saint is brought, kept in Baia da Trai? Ao, the procession? an important event that brings together all the inhabitants of the region who flock to the colorful fishing boats that parade from Baia to Coqueirinho where a mass is celebrated and a propitiatory rite with offers of flowers and food to the sea and to Yemanj ?, l? Orish? protector of the sea and navigators of Afro-Brazilian syncretism. From the church, our walk continues to the mouth of the Rio Sinib? where we meet some local inhabitants intent on collecting the clams which from here are then accumulated in the houses and then boiled and shelled. After a refreshing bath in the river, a stop in a small restaurant on the sea awaits us. Where? was organized a succulent lunch based on oysters, prawns and arat ?, a small crab with tasty meat that populates the recife, there is no ?? best way to crown a day of walking, of course accompanying it all with a good cerveja Skol.
The evening ? an aperitif based on Caipirinha, croutons and bruschetta on the seafront terrace of the pousada is a must, while chatting with the owners.

6 day

Today ? on the day of the reserve and the Indians, the route prepared by the Lua Cheia staff includes a day aboard the vintage Kombi of the pousada heading north, north-west.
The excursion to the northern sector of the Potiguara reserve? a journey to discover the history and culture of native Brazilians at the same time? the opportunity to visit some places of great environmental value that are part of the reserve and integral elements of the coastal ecosystem of this region of Brazil. Baia da Trai? Ao? a microcosm that contains biodiversity? unique and what remains of an ancient culture, rare testimony of a people in danger of extinction.
We leave immediately after breakfast in the direction of Praia (beach in Italian) do Forte, a cliff beach well known among local surfers.
The Praia do Forte cliff? the northern entrance to the indigenous reserve, the territory of the municipality of Baia da Trai? ao ends here and the Potiguara land begins. Baia da Trai? Ao? the only Brazilian municipality that is located within an indigenous reserve that? even the pi? ancient and the pi? populous of Brazil. Does the Portuguese fort no longer exist? why? it was not a defensive structure, but it was more? a strategic point of control of maritime traffic, from its dominant position on the ocean it was possible to observe the movements of the various fleets that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries crossed these waters, English, French, Spanish and then again the corsairs protagonists of adventurous and fantastic stories . Today, three cannons remain as evidence of the past, still bearing the seal of the royal house of Portugal. An association of Potiguara women operates on the site which takes care of the maintenance and cleaning and sometimes organizes a Tor? (Tup ritual dance?) inside a Goose (house in Tup language?), next to the building, the Potiguara women have organized a medicinal garden where they grow the medicinal plants that are the basis of the healing art of the Paj? , the shamans who still work in the community today? indigenous.
From the top of the fort you can enjoy a panoramic view of great beauty that embraces the bay where Baia da Trai? Ao is located and the cliff beaches north of the city.
The scenery offered by the cliffs of Baia da Trai? Ao? something unique, this 12 km stretch. ? considered part of the geo-monumental heritage of Paraiba, both for its perfect conservation and for the color of the sandstone that embraces a wide range of shades, from white, to yellow, orange and red. A path runs along the entire stretch of the cliff up to the Barra di Camaratuba developing part on top of the rocks and part on the beach below. An access in the locality? Alto do Tamb? -Giz Branco allows you to have a complete overview of the cliffs of great landscape impact.
Next stop Barra di Camaratuba, a beautiful beach suitable for surfing where we took a bath at the mouth of the river and had lunch in the Camaratuba restaurant based on fish and fried macaixera (cassava), excellent food and more expensive price. how reasonable.
Continuing the tour we pass through the village of Sao Francisco, the reserve village considered the most? pure, in terms of indigenous race. Here the great meeting of the inhabitants of the 32 villages that form the Terra Potiguara takes place every year in April, who for the occasion celebrate a great religious ritual by dancing the Tor ?, a typical dance of the Tup? and here lives Fatima, the only Paj? woman of the community, recognized by all as a great shaman and curandeira, Fatima welcomes us in her modest home and prepares a typical Potiguara lunch based on fish, shrimp, clams, tapioca, beans and other delicacies,? a rustic lunch made in the yard of the house where a multitude of girls and some pets run around, but? a unique experience for those who want to touch the lifestyle of these wonderful people. Fatima and her family accompany the lunch by playing and singing the songs of the indigenous ritual and telling local stories and legends. Upon request, the son of Fatima creates body paintings with Genipapu, the pulp of a fruit from which a black dye is produced that remains imprinted for about ten days.
In the afternoon we reach the source of the Rio Gozo, a place of unspoiled nature,? a spring pool where the water gushes from the subsoil to form a small stream with clear and frozen waters, to get to the source you cross a very short stretch of Atlantic forest passing through the houses of the small community? local of Indios, custodians of the place; ? an enchanted place full of charm where? nice to stop and listen to the sounds of life that surrounds us and? everywhere and breathe the pure air filtered by the forest vegetation.
do not miss a swim in the river just downstream from the source in the middle of the forest in a swimming pool of fresh and crystal clear water.
Almost at sunset we return to the pousada and after a relaxing shower we are ready for dinner, tonight we eat by the sea, in Catia's restaurant, a nice lady who, together with her husband Juquinha, prepares excellent dishes based on prawns and shellfish, August? also lobster season and how can you not take advantage of it ??!

7 day

Last day in Baia da Trai? Ao, our hosts and guides organized the tour in the manatee reserve.
This excursion? carried out during the day and starts from Baia da Trai? ao to arrive at the Potiguara village of Camurupim where you embark for a visit to the environmental preservation areas of the mangrove forest and the manatee. The boats that will transport us are small coastal boats and with minimum draft engines, the only ones that have the official permission of the Ministry of the Environment to travel this stretch of river. Each boat carries a maximum of 8 passengers and has quite comfortable life jackets and seating benches. Along the way there are several stops at points of historical and naturalistic interest. Once you reach the mouth of the Rio Mamanguape you will go? in search of the Manatee (here called Peixe Boi), the mammal lives in a regime of complete freedom? and perfectly inserted in its natural habitat, in case of sighting it is therefore necessary to follow some fundamental rules to safeguard its survival such as not touching it and not giving it food. It must be emphasized that precisely because of its condition it is not? guaranteed his sighting.
The village of Camurupim? one of the 32 that make up the reserve of the Indios Potiguara and? located on the Sinib River? in a natural setting of great beauty and ecological value. The community local? dedicated to the collection of clams that are found in large quantities? at the mouth of the river The clams are cleaned by the women of the village to be sold at the market of Baia da Trai? ao and the shells decorate the entrances of the houses, the bars on the river and even sections of the road leading to the village. The small river port where you embark for the excursion? an enchanting place where time seems to have stopped, in the small restaurants overlooking the river you can taste typical dishes of the region based on fish, prawns and of course clams.
The first impact with the reserve? already? exhilarating and passes through the Rio Sinib mangrove forest ?. Although apparently the tangle of roots and trees of the mangrove forest can? look all the same here coexists a large number of different mangrove species that differ in appearance and color. Mangroves are highly specialized in being able to bear and indeed use for their own benefit the brackish water of coastal lagoons, or the salty water of the sea. The excess salt is then eliminated by glands placed on the leaves that exude salt water.
Once you have reached the mouth of the Sinib? the scenery changes completely and the tangle of vegetation gives way to large spaces and immediately a huge sand bank emerges. The place is called by the Indians "Meeting of the waters", why? here the salty water of the sea and the fresh water of the river mix, at low tide a shoal is created where the inhabitants of Camurupim and the nearby village of Coqueirinho collect tons of clams every day, sinking their hands into the sand, each time withdrawing them with dozens of molluscs. The harvest is then transported to the village in small rowing canoes.
The boat continues towards the open sea in the direction of a rocky barrier placed a few hundred meters from the shore. The rocky barrier that runs parallel to the coast just in front of the village of Coqueirinho is actually it extends for thousands of km. and arrives, almost without interruption, up to the state of Bahia. It is an ancient coral reef today partially emerged and therefore extinct. During low tide? It is possible to climb this rocky tongue, a few tens of meters wide and walk on the conglomerate that composes it, made of thousands of rounded stones due to the erosive effect of the waves. From this point you can spot sea turtles (mainly the turtle de Pente) swimming in the open sea in the waves. The climb on the rocks involves the overcoming of a fairly simple wall of about two meters. Once on the rocks we recommend that you strictly follow the guide's instructions on how and where to walk.
Are we getting closer and closer? to the ecological snatuarium of the manatee, located at the mouth of the Rio Mamanguape, but first the boat stops at the beach of Barra de Mamanguape, from which 30 Km. of deserted beaches follow one another in Lucena, the last offshoot of the metropolitan area of ​​Joao Pessoa, capital of Paraiba. You get to the beach from the Turtle Paradise and in the distance already? you can see the high-impact panorama of this stretch of coast formed by beaches of dunes and cliffs. The boat stops on the shoreline in front of a large natural swimming pool with calm and transparent water that invites you to a refreshing bath in the most solitude. complete accompanied by only the sounds of the surrounding nature. Barra de Mamanguape? a spawning beach for the turtles that populate this stretch of sea by the hundreds and? protected by IBAMA, the Brazilian environment ministry. From here starts a long strip of white sand that separates the Rio Mamanguape from the sea.
Broken down we finally reach the mouth of the Mamanguape and after a few minutes of research and observation we see it, the manatee? a few tens of meters away, our guides begin to clap their hands on the surface of the sea to attract his attention and incredibly he approaches without fear, passes twice under the boat then with a snort emerges with his head and stares at us for a few seconds, the show lasts longer? ten minutes and leaves us astonished and full of emotion as we never imagined, the manatee? a docile and curious animal today protected but until a few years ago hunted for its meat so as to put it at risk of extinction. The Peixe Boi project is recovering various specimens throughout Brazil by placing them in the habitat of this park which, apparently,? one of the most? suitable for the survival and reproduction of large mammals.
Spectacular day that leaves us almost speechless for the beauty of the places and the spirit that animates the inhabitants of the place, but also our guides who here seem to have found an ideal balance between man and nature.
In the evening we are their guests for dinner, sar? baked fish with a side of potatoes and gratinated podori and a nice bottle of wine from good Italians, White of course.

8 day

Today we have to leave Baia da Trai? Ao and we do it with a veil of sadness even if with hearts and eyes full of happiness. and heavenly visions, but? time to go, to go to new adventures and new places. The stage today? rich in history in a city? ancient rich in monuments and declared a World Heritage Site, Olinda the beautiful, with its alleys and pastel-colored houses, with its churches superb expression of Portuguese Baroque, the Repentistas, street singers who with a glance compose a song by telling your life and, guess what, the most? sometimes they come close to reality.

In 1534, Duarte Coelho Pereira, at the sight of the newly discovered promontory, exclaimed: what a splendid setting for a city, after two years, Olinda rose in place of the small village called Marim, which in 1537 became the first capital of Nova Luzit? nia (today's Pernambuco).
The exports of timber and the rich cultivation of sugar cane began which made the Portuguese colonizers prosper, who disputed with the Portuguese court the luxury and ostentation by embellishing the city. with churches and stately buildings.
In 1630 the Dutch managed to wrest these lands from the residents and settled there until 1654. Olinda was destroyed during the battles and set on fire, the capital was then moved to Recife pending renovations. The Dutch were eventually driven out by the farmers who did not take kindly to the Protestant invaders and who rebuilt most of the city.
Meanwhile, Recife was getting more and more? important and for Olinda a long and inexorable decline began with the early 1700s.
Usually full of tourist guides, some made available by the tourist office for free (guias mirins), young apprentices, recognizable by the yellow jersey. You will find professional guides in Pra? A do Carmo near the bus stop.
Coming to town? on Sunday you will not need to hire them why? you will find the city? deserted and you will be able to walk in tranquility, the other days will practically force you, with their insistence, to take them in order not to be harassed during the whole journey.
The historical part? it can be visited in one day, but Olinda deserves a stop of at least two days, you have to sleep there at least one night to walk calmly through the illuminated streets and enjoy the colonial atmosphere.
The two vocations of the Brazilians apparently in conflict, the religious one and that of the carnival madness, coexist in Olinda in an evident way widely represented by the dozen churches and the many schools of samba, ax? and carnival clubs that are scattered around the city.

For a visit to the city? it starts from Pra? a do Carmo where you immediately meet the Igreja Nossa Senhora do Carmo from 1580, at the top of a hill the side staircase leads to the entrance. It was the first church of the Carmelite order built in Brazil and has a beautiful colonial facade with columns; the altar has three niches with baroque images. Then continue along Rua S? O Francisco up to the Convent S? O Francisco of 1585, the complex in addition to the convent? composed of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Neves and the Chapels of S? o Roque and Sant? Anna. Magnificent the Sacristy and the cloister with Portuguese azulejos. The Franciscan convent? the pi? ancient of Brazil. The altar was painted with a mixture of ox blood, whale oil and banana peel. The church was burned by the Dutch in 1631 and rebuilt in the 7th century (opening hours from Mon to Sat from 11.30 to ).
From here the uphill path begins, turning left into Rua Bispo Coutinho on the hill c ?? the Semin? rio de Olinda of 1575 and the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Gra? a of 1552 which being positioned at the most? high offer a splendid view over the city. The complex that was built inspired by the church of S? O Roque in Lisbon? the best testimony of Jesuit architecture in the country (opening hours from 14.30pm to 16pm). Continuing then in Rua Bispo Coutinho you go up all? Alto da S? where is immediately in front of the panorama pi? Bello d? Olinda el? Igreja de S? or Salvador do Mundo (Igreja da S?), the first parish of Brazil. At the beginning it was only a small plaster chapel built by Duarte Coelho, the regent of the Capitania, who chose the position because? strategic in the sighting of enemies. Was an all-wood construction erected until 1548 when do you start? the construction of the Matriz Church in masonry with three naves and the various chapels on the sides. During the Dutch invasion it became a Protestant temple, subsequently set on fire by the same invaders it was rebuilt in 1676 and elevated to the status of Cathedral by the Bishopric of Olinda. Entering you will find at the end on the right a passage that leads to a side terrace from which you will see another beautiful panorama. Will there be possible to catch your breath in the square, where you will find improvised restaurants in which? It is possible to taste tapioca and toasted cheese and where you will also find a bar and a handicraft market. Here you will have the opportunity? to listen to the repentistas or the typical songwriters of the Northeast and in particular of Pernambuco.
Continuing on this road you will come across the Museo de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco, located in an ancient building already in the area. Chamber of the Senate then Archiepiscopal Palace of 1676, also rebuilt after the Dutch invasion, contains a large collection of religious art including a Northeast nativity scene with Jesus? Child sleeping on a hammock and with black Joseph and Mary and some of the most beautiful works by Mestre Vitalino and Severino Veieira (opening hours from 8 to 12.45). After about 100 meters, turning right c ?? l? Igraja Nossa Senhora da Concei ?? o from 1569, abandoned in the Dutch period, was then rebuilt and used as a shelter for abandoned women. The main attraction? the Baroque image of the Nossa Senhora da Concei ?? o, painting in gold resting on a pedestal with sculptures of angels, on top a large silver crown. From the terrace of the convent there is a beautiful view of the Del Rei Botanical Garden, the second most important botanical garden in Brazil. Returning to Rua Bispo Coutinho taking Ladeira da Miseric? Rdia you will find the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Luz and Santa Casa da Miseric? Rdia from 1540, also burned by the Dutch and rebuilt in 1654. Inside there is a nice pulpit, nearby a school of Missionaries (opening hours from 11.45 to 12.30 and from 18 to 18.30). Turning right on Rua Saldanha Marino you will arrive at the beautiful Igreja Nossa Senhora do Amparo from 1550, the church dedicated to musicians. Inside there is the restoration workshop of Olinda's works of art, and some Portuguese azulejos with Baroque images of great importance have recently been discovered, behind a wooden panel. Looking around, this area offers beautiful buildings with very characteristic windows, doors and above all eaves. The famous bicas (fountains) of Olinda (S? O Pedro, Ros? Rio and Quatro Cantos), are almost all found in the area of ​​the Quatro Cantos, built in the first half? of the XIV century they were used to collect the water of the scarce springs in that period a really rare commodity, unfortunately they are now in decay.
From Rua Saldanha Marino you go back to Rua do Amparo, avoid continuing beyond the Casa dos Bonecos why? from? the favela begins. At number 59 is the Museu do Mamulengo, il mamelungo? the ancient puppet theater and the collection gathers 300 of them. It also has a beautiful video room and a photographic exhibition (now closed for restoration; usually opening hours from Tuesday to Friday from 9 to 18; Sat 10/18; Sun 11/19; closed Mon).
Both on Rua do Amparo and in Pra? A Jo? O Alfredo, two beautiful Moorish-style buildings deserve attention, both examples are from the th century and have a closed canopy with a precious wooden trellis worked with inlays.
Reached Rua 13 de Maio you can? visit the Museu de Arte Contempor? nea, the construction of 1764, was a former prison of the Diocese for men and women accused of crimes against the Catholic religion. Now ? venue for exhibitions and displays for Brazilian artists. There are interesting works by Rodrigues and Portinari (hours from 9 to 17). After Rua 13 de Maio you find yourself at a crossroads with Rua Bernardo Veira de Melo and Rua S? O Bento. Turning left you arrive at the Mercado da Ribeira, an ancient slave market, built at the end of the 9th century, restored and used as a craft market with various art galleries and carvers' workshops (opening hours from Monday to Saturday from 18 to 13). Also from Rua 1807 de Maio starts Rua Boa Hora with the Igreja da Boa Hora of 1582, not of particular interest. Returning to Rua S? O Bento you will come across the imposing Mosteiro de S? O Bento from 14, in Rococ? ? the second Benedictine monastery built in Brazil with a beautiful cedar wood altar covered in gold and a finely carved pulpit, the whole? 14 meters high and weighs 7 tons, recently restored with a work that lasted 9 months, it was also exhibited at the Guggenhein Museum in New York. Will you find something curious, at the end of the nave, outside? A Christ was positioned with his back turned to the entrance and his face turned to the altar, the really unusual thing has as an explanation the fact that the statue was placed in that way for the slaves who were forbidden to enter the church (hours from 11 at 14 and from 17 to 17,30); every day at you can? attend mass with Gregorian chants. A little further on is the Pal? Cio dos Governadores, built in the seventeenth century it was the ancient Palace of the Constituent Assembly, today it houses the headquarters of the Executive Poder, interesting the original lighting with ancient street lamps.
In Pra? A Varadouro is the Mercado Eufr? Sio Barbosa located in an old sweets factory founded in 1865 and transformed in 1979 into a market with an adjoining theater. Inside there are craft shops even if not of particular interest (opening hours from Monday to Saturday from 9 to 19; Sun 15/19).
Outside the historic center there is the Igreja do Monte, dating back to 1586, with the Benedictine convent attached. Inside the convent there is a small shop selling biscuits and liqueurs, produced by the monks, also the Igreja do Rosario, next to the source (Bica do Rosario), one of the first churches in Brazil to allow access to black slaves and the Igreja de S? o Jo? o from 1580, the latter was the only church not to be set on fire by the Dutch and was the first Benedictine church in Brazil, where the Carnival parades begin.
The modern area extends behind the old city, going north, it is not really worth a visit, but at least it must be recognized that it does not disfigure the beautiful landscape in any way.

Eira, Beira, Tribeira small BOX
Looking at the roofs of some houses in Olinda you will notice a peculiarity: some have three rows of ornamental tiles which indicated that the owner of the house was a very rich man, that is, he owned land (eira), money (beira) and power (tribeira). So much so that, a popular saying, to specify the absolute misery of a person, said that it was? Sem eira nem beira ?.

The repentistas (from repente i.e. sudden / immediate) of the Brazilian Northeast are truly incredible. You will find them on the streets of Olinda or on the beaches of Pernambuco and Sergipe. Almost all semi-illiterates sing usually accompanied by guitars or violins on a very simple, almost monotonous musical base, improvising stories of famous men or simply looking at the face and clothing of the tourists who find themselves on their way. The tourist becomes, in their stories, almost always, doctor or doctor and the imagination and fantasy they demonstrate, inventing the rhymes, leaves you incredulous. They are often engaged in parties or weddings, even the International Festival of Trovadores and Repentistas takes place, where dozens of these storytellers meet who engage in musical challenges lasting hours that sometimes become whole nights, real duels. If you don't want the serenade just a nod, but at least once try to listen to them, if you understand ap? the Brazilian you will have a great time.

Viewpoints and photography
Every corner, alley and square of the city? may be the reason for the attention of a photography enthusiast, but the most? spectacular is certainly found in the high area around the Igreja da S ?. From this point you can enjoy beautiful views of the main monuments of the city that contrast with the intense blue of the sea and the green of the surrounding vegetation, from the terrace located on the left side of the Igreja da S? you have an excellent view of the Convento de S? o Francisco and from the road that always leads to this church? You can see the colorful buildings of Olinda and in the background the skyscrapers of Recife. From the hill at the top of Rua Bispo Coutinho on the Seminary patio there is also an excellent view. Looking south you can see: the port, Recife, the beach of Ponta D? El Chifre and a piece of the Beberiche river all surrounded by greenery. In ladeira da Miseric? Rdia you have another beautiful glimpse of the city? with the white houses and the Quatro Cantos followed by the beach, the river and Recife; to the east the Atlantic Ocean and the city? high between the green of the palm groves and fruit trees.

9 day

We begin our return journey to Natal, right after having a hearty breakfast (by the way our pousada Alto Astral is a simple pousada with colorful rooms, nothing special, but it is a good option in olinda, where good accommodation they are very expensive and the cheap ones are hovels. If you can choose one of the two rooms on the top floor that have a shared terrace overlooking a beautiful view of the historic center, price around 180 R $ with breakfast depending on the season. vary considerably), load the car and leave, destination the Interior and the Sertao, the semi-arid area located about a hundred km. from the coast and rich in culture and history and natural beauty. We resume the BR101 towards north-Natal and arrived in Joao Pessoa we cut inwards towards Campina Grande (BR230) After about eighty km. we cross the PB79,? the road that leads to Areia, but we allow ourselves an extension of a few tens of km. to visit the archaeological site of Pedra do Ing ?, a stone with mysterious engravings that makes the community discuss? archaeologists for years. La Pedra do Inga? an archaeological monument consisting of a rock 50 meters long and 3 meters high with engravings whose meanings are still unknown. Several figures are carved in this series, suggesting the representation of animals, fruits, humans and constellations such as Orion. The term "itacoatiara", with which? known the stone, derives from the Tupi language: ITA ("stone") and k? atiara ("scratched" or "to paint"). According to tradition, when the Indians of the region were questioned by the first European settlers about this? which meant the marks on the rock, they used that term to refer to them.
The archaeological site of Ing? Jo? o Pessoa is 109 km away and Campina Grande is 38 km away. On site there is a small museum (not always open) with numerous fossils and stone tools found in the area, the stone? lying on the bed of a river completely isolated from other finds or traces of ancient civilizations, no one can explain the presence of such an elaborate and complex inscription in a region where no other form of communication was known than the oral one.
Various theories have been made on the meaning and origin of the six glyphs, from a supposed Phoenician origin, due to an apparent and supposed similarity with the writing of the ancient Mediterranean people and to the discovery of other rock inscriptions that suggest a relationship with the Phoenicians , up to the theory of a similarity with the demotic of ancient Egypt, to end with the classic theory of extraterrestrials. Certainly none to date? managed to decipher the symbols or find a real correspondence with other such finds, even dating with carbon 14? turned out to be unreliable why? the stone is located in the bed of the Bacamarte river which during the rainy season completely covers the site which is covered with silt and makes it impossible to apply carbon. In addition to the main panel, there are other minor panels scattered throughout the site and engraved with different techniques and symbols.
There is a hypothesis that d? to the petroglyphs Ing? an exceptional importance from the archaeoastronomic point of view. In 1976, the Spanish engineer Francisco Pavia Alemany began a mathematical study of the archaeological monument, the first results were published in 1986 by the Brazilian Institute of Archeology (F. Alemany Pavia 1986).
The study identifies Inga as the most? extraordinary known solar calendar The Safor Astronomical Association published in 2005 a summary of this work in its official bulletin
Pi? later, F. Pavia continued with Inga's study, finding the presence of many "stars" that can be grouped to form "constellations".
In 2006, the arqueoastr? Nomo and Egyptologist Jos? Lull has published a book entitled "Archaeoastronomy OF TRABAJOS, Ejemplos Africa, America, Europe and Oceania," compendium of thirteen articles written by arqueoastr? Prestigious names. Among these elements? including "El archaeoastronomico together by Inga", where Inga is considered an archeo-astronomical monument unprecedented in the world.
After the visit we take the PB079, the next stop? the city? of Alagoa Grande for a visit to the Santa Ignez theater, an interesting example of an Italian-style theater dating back to 1905, the golden age of sugar cane cultivation. The inside of the theater? a small wooden jewel with two rows of balconies. During the visit the caretaker advises us to go and eat at Engenho Volupia located a few km. from the city center, the engenho? a distillery that produces one of the best cacha? as in Brazil and lately? was opened inside a restaurant that cooks specialties? of the region as the bode assado, (kid in the oven) the owners open the doors of the distillery for a guided tour where the process of making the liqueur is explained and? It is possible to taste fermented cacha? a with various types of tropical fruit. All very interesting, also excellent food and tasting.
We go back by car towards Areia located in the Brejo Paraibano region where we will spend the night in the Pousada Vila Real, the best choice in Areia, cost between 180 and 220 R $, the pousada has a pretty good restaurant inside.

10 day

Day dedicated to visiting Areia and its surroundings.
Areia? the city? of the engenhos, the distilleries that produce cacha? a, but also raw cane sugar and Rapadura obtained from the molasses of the boiling process of the cane juice.

the Cacha? a and the Caipirinha
? the liqueur produced by the distillation of the cane, much more? sweet rum from which it differs for the production process. Not ? a liqueur easy to drink pure and finds its pi? famous and successful use in the Caipirinha cocktail
Sugar cane? always one of the most? important in Brazil, the slaves who worked on the plantations were given, at the end of the exhausting working day, a frugal meal and the waste from the production of sugar, an undrinkable but very nutritious molasses with great therapeutic powers. To improve the flavor, the slaves added honey, lime and garlic to the molasses, resulting in a drink that was not pleasant but very restorative. Does the term Caipira in Brazilian mean everything? that ? linked to the rural life of the peasants more? poor it was so? that the drink took the name of caipirinha underlining its origin.
Recipe ? very simple:
5 cl Cacha? A
1/2 lime (4 wedges)
2 teaspoons of white cane sugar

La Rapadura
? a food preparation obtained from the juice of sugar cane subjected to boiling at high temperatures and evaporation; a viscous molasses is obtained which is then poured into small molds (generally rectangular) in which it is left to dry. The result is solid lumps of sucrose and fructose, also containing calcium, iron, phosphorus and ascorbic acid. In other words, it is unrefined cane sugar (which therefore preserves all the original substances), of the type brown sugar (or brown sugar).
Typical food of Latin American countries, where it is used both directly as food and as a sweetener, panela also has properties? therapeutic (skin treatments, against infections or colds).
In Brazil and particularly in Paraiba,? It is possible to visit the engenhos, which are the factories, usually family-run, to witness the production process and do tasting.
The rapadura can? be enriched with additional ingredients such as coconut, anarcado or peanuts. ? also ideal for diabetics and for whom? on a diet. In fact, it has a 30% lower glycemic index than pure glucose,? still a caloric food, but? pi? ?light? refined sugar (we are talking about 350-360 kcal per 100 g).

The first stop of the day? just an engenho, that of the cacha? in Triunfo, known throughout the Northeast. The guided tour of the plant takes place between the buildings and a tropical garden with thousands of plants and flowers. After having witnessed the production cycle of the cacha? A? possible to make some tastings of various types of liqueur. On the road of the Triunfo there is a small shop of homemade desserts Dulces Caseiros, if you are interested the article deserves a stop both for the production of excellent quality? and for the furniture and the composition of the garden. The next step? the community of Pau de Ferro located a few km. from Areia inside the homonymous park where one of the few areas of Atlantic forest that survived deforestation is protected. The community ? composed of a small group of houses on the edge of the protected forest and the population si? united in a cooperative that manages the restaurant V? Maria, typical rustic restaurant with specialties? places such as galinha caipira and bode asado, all presented in the form of self service, you eat on wooden boards made from Jaqueira trunks (the Jack fruit tree), excellent food and interesting environment, ridiculous cost (between 15 and R $ 20).
The cooperative of the community? organizes guided tours of a stretch of forest, we take advantage and go with Carlos in the thick of the vegetation, the path? simple and short, but very interesting why? Carlos shows us the various species of flora in the park with great competence.
In the afternoon we return to Areia to visit the monuments of the city. Here too c '? an Italian-style theater, more? ancient and more? larger than that of Alagoa Grande,? the Minerva Theater (1859). In the main street lined with beautiful colorful houses from the early 900s is the Sobrado de Jos? Rufino, an old mansion from the early 1888th century where? It is possible to visit the rooms with the original furnishings and in the rear part of the building the Senzala or the shelter where slaves were literally massed during the night, which suggests the living conditions that passed and remembers that slavery? was abolished in Brazil only in with the Lei Aurea promulgated by Queen Isabella which caused? also the end of the imperial dynasty and the insurrection against the monarchy, mainly fomented by the landowners who based their wealth precisely on the use of slaves.
Last stop of the day, the botanical garden of the university? of Areia, specialized in agronomy. Inside the campus? It is possible to visit the botanical garden, a large area of ​​virgin forest and tropical plant cultivation, next to the garden there is the old manor house (the university stands on the land of an ancient fazenda) transformed into a museum with furnishings and testimonies of the time and the museum of rapadura with machinery and tools for processing the cane, all original dating back to the nineteenth century.
Did the two days in the Brejo Paraibano introduce us to a Brazil different from the one found in the brochures of the agencies? a rural Brazil rich in traditions and culture, but also in contradictions and abuses, all things a traveler should know to better interpret a country and its people.
We also recommend this excursion for the landscape value of great interest and visual impact.

11 day

Today we are leaving for the Sertao and precisely for the Pedra da Boca State Park. To get there, follow the PB087 and PB073 for about 85 km. heading north on a fairly good road, the park is on the border between Paraiba and Rio Grande do Norte.
The park entrance? dominated by the majesty? della Pedra, a gigantic rocky monolith furrowed by deep fissures dug by the erosion of atmospheric agents, on the main wall of the rock opens the large cave in the shape of a mouth that the next day will be? the goal of our adventurous walk. For the moment we have to take care of our accommodation which brings us to Pousada Ful? da Pedra (best choice on site, rustic but impressive setting, certainly the ideal place to sleep in the park. Price around R $ 150 with breakfast), a series of rustic chalets built on a hill overlooking the pedra overlooking a fantastic panorama . From this point? It is possible to observe the entire complex of rock formations that form the park, each with particular shapes and characteristics. Upon arrival at the pousada, we are greeted by Carlos, the owner, a giant of a man with a past as a vaqueros who invites us to witness the taming of a horse he has just bought. carlos explains to us that the doma that will go? to carry out? particular why? it is done with the whispering technique, it is a non-violent taming made of gestures and sounds that lead the horse to be totally obedient without suffering trauma. We spend an hour witnessing the fascinating work done on the horse at times moving, then one of the employees of the pousada joins us to accompany us to the top of a rock a few kilometers from which we will witness the sunset over the extraordinary scenery of the park. The short trek that will take us? at the top of the rock it is divided between the low vegetation of the Caatinga made of cacti and bromeliads in bloom, we skirt a granite wall, go up a slope and finally arrive at the summit, from here there is a degree view of the surrounding nature, the sun is almost disappearing on the horizon and all the mountains that surround us are tinged with pink in a play of shadows and lights that brings out the texture of the rocks carved by the erosion of water and wind, we sit down to watch the show without saying a word until when the sun disappears swallowed dslla earth and the sky is tinged with an intense blue. Yes ? it was time to go back to the pousada where Maria and Adriana prepared a dinner based on meat and vegetables accompanied by a good bottle of red wine.

12 day

In the morning you wake up early, after a hearty breakfast, you face the climb to Pedra da Boca, our guide? Tico, a nice gentleman in his fifties, a great connoisseur of these places, of the flora and fauna that populate them and along the way he tells us stories of his youth, they are stories of those who lived a hard and tiring life, working hard and stingy land of this region or bringing cows to pasture on their own horse than here? like a brother. Time passes quickly listening to Tico's tales that partially relieve the fatigue and soon we arrive at the last stretch of ascent that is overcome by climbing a wall at 45? with the help of a rope, having overcome this last obstacle, one arrives inside the Boca. From here you can realize the size of the cave that opens for 80 meters in a crescent to form a natural amphitheater of incredible charm with a breathtaking view of the valley below. ? the umpteenth positive note of this tour that leaves us with a bit of saudade as we embark on our return journey now in its final phase.

13 day

From Pedra da Boca the RN269 runs east in fair conditions until it connects to the BR101 at Canguaretama (70 km.) From which we head towards the sea and the locality. by Barra de Cunha? where we will spend the last two days relaxing on the beach. Cunha? ? a small resort of the sea at the mouth of the homonymous river,? a very nice and relaxing place with beautiful beaches and a short distance from Pipa, who would like to take a leap even in the more? famous of this stretch of coast potr? do it from Cunha? loading the car on a balsa and crossing the river, on the other side is the village of Sibauma from where the RN003 leads to Pipa which is only 10 km away.

14 day

Last day on the beach to sunbathe as much as possible and last fresh fish eaten on the beach and then, unfortunately, return to Italy, scheduled flight at 23.00 pm from Natal airport where, as agreed with Pavel, we will also leave the car.

Audio Video The Brazilian Northeast coast from Natal to Recife
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