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Old 05-06-2008, 03:10 AM
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
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Anyone been to or know those cities? Which did you prefer? Why? Your impressions of them?

Old 06-25-2008, 01:08 PM
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Default recife

I live in Recife. The Northeast is very poor. The beaches are very nice here. The people love foreigners because they have money. And they will take it if you aren't careful. But overall if you visit here and are careful you should have a good time here.
Old 09-22-2009, 08:51 AM
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
Reputation: 9219
People ever both you in the street...if you have blond hair and obvious foreigner? Or fairly relaxed?
Old 09-22-2009, 09:37 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ
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I've traveled around most of Brazil by bus, including the northeast coast. This was mostly in the 1980s when things were a lot different than they are now in Brazil. It's much easier to travel around Brazil now, and some discount airlines that make it almost cheaper than traveling by bus over the long distances. Bus travel is more of an adventure, and gives you a chance to see the country up close.

I went by bus north from Bahia to Recife and then Joao de Pessoa on the coast of Paraiba. I liked J de P and stayed there for about a week. Then it was up to Natal and Fortaleza on the coast of Ceara. Even though you are close to the equator, if you are close to the Atlantic ocean there is a pretty constant ocean breeze to keep the temperature comfortable in the mornings and evenings. Mid day sun is strong and hot, so I stayed someplace in the shade and took it easy.

Seems that there are quite a few Europeans that are buying condos in NE Brazil in places like Joao de Pessoa and the Ceara coast. Because that part of Brazil is so far east, it's not that far of a plane trip to get there from Europe. I think there are a few direct flights per week to Miami from cities in NE Brazil too.

Keep in mind that things like "obvious foreigner" in Brazil is not always that obvious. There are people of all races and colors in Brazil. I think you mean to say "obvious tourist", because if you are an obvious tourist in some places in Brazil, it's pretty likely that somebody will approach you and want to sell something or ask you for some coins. I was never bothered or hassled in a threatening way in Brazil, and I traveled solo. Overall it's one of the better places on the planet to explore solo, traveling on one of the best networks of buses that you can imagine.
Old 09-03-2010, 10:19 AM
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
Reputation: 9219
I have heard a lot of good things about Joao de Pessoa...what did you like most about that particular city?

RECIFE question - I read that the crime is pretty high there? Sounds like in Brazil, it might be the 4th highest? Sao Paulo, Rio de Jainero, Salvador and Recife always seem to get mentioned. Does Recife feel a bit edgy at times? I've also heard that Olinda, the colonial area near Recife, is very beautiful and more popular - safer, for tourists/foreigners, etc.

SAO LUIS - would love to hear anyone who has been there. Read it has some very beautiful architecture and good positive feel in general.
Old 12-08-2010, 12:09 PM
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
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All I have to say to you guys is: the Northeast of Brazil is GREAT!

One of the most beautiful places in the world, both the beaches and the hinterland.

The beaches of the Northeast are spectacular. The ocean waters are warm all the year, no cold water in any month of the year! The coastline has a constant and pleasant breeze (very appreciated by windsurfers and kitesurfers).

The beaches going south from Natal - until the south of Bahia - are mainly full of coconut trees, and the the beaches going north from Natal - until Sao Luis - are mainly full of amazing sand dunes. In the state of Maranhao, not far from Sao Luis, there is a place called Lençois Maranhenses, that is without any doubt the most incredible place of the world, a giant "desert with water", hundreds of kilometers of sand dunes mixed with fresh water lakes!

The capital cities of the states are very nice: Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, Natal, Joao Pessoa, Maceio, Aracaju, Sao Luis. My favorites are Fortaleza, Natal and Joao Pessoa.

Crime is an issue in Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza and Maceio. But those are cities infinitely less violent than Rio de Janeiro. There are no gangs of drug dealers controlling parts of the cities. Nothing of those things you see about Rio de Janeiro on TV. Just the regular crime you get in all big city. I don't think those cities are more violent than Harlem or Brooklyn in NYC.

Natal and Joao Pessoa have very little crime. Crime is almost a "non-issue" in those cities.

The hinterland of the Northeast is also great. The state of Ceara has great places like Quixada and its monoliths (considered one of the best places in the world for the practice of paragliding and hang-gliding), and the mountains of Guaramiranga and Ibiapaba. The state of Bahia has the amazing mountains of Chapada Diamantina.

The economy of the Northeast is booming in recent years. It's growing at a faster rate than the overall Brazilian economy. Manufacturing , agriculture, tourism, real state, all the economic activities are thriving.

Well, I can only repeat myself: the Northeast of Brazil is GREAT!
Old 12-08-2010, 09:14 PM
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
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MalaMan, glad you are from the Northeast and can share with us about your country and region of BRazil!

Interesting about the sand dunes between Sao Luis and Natal, and the coconut trees from Natal down to South Bahia. WIth the sand dunes, sounds like a lot of fun! Does that also mean not so much shade? Full-on exposure to the sun the entire time? Just curious. Also, what is between Sao Luis and Belem - does it get more murky or Amazon-like in some way?

NATAL - I've heard quite a few rumor it has become a sex tourist destination for Europeans, and Italians in particular? True? I heard Fortaleza has that element too, but that Fortaleza is significantly larger, so it's able to transcend that a bit. Whereas in Natal, it being smaller, it is more full-on in-your-face? Any truth to that?

MACEIO - That is interesting you classified it with high crime within the ranks of Salvador, Recife, and Fortaleza. I always thought Maceio was quite a bit smaller, and much less uneffected?

Anyways, hope that doesn't sound like I'm negative towards the Northeast. On the contrary, I'm very interested in the area, just trying to decipher some more of the reality there.

Also what is your impression of SAO LUIS and of RECIFE?
Old 12-09-2010, 07:02 AM
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
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Hello Tiger Beer! I'm glad to see your interest about the Northeast of Brazil, the region where I was born, I was raised, and where I live, and that I love so much!

Let me try to answer some of your questions.

First, about the "sand dunes coast" between Natal and Sao Luis. Yes, it has tons of fun! Sandboarding (the tropical equivalent of Snowboarding), buggy rides, camel rides (yes, camels, but it's only in the region next to Natal), or just walking in the dunes with barefoot, feeling the sand between the toes of your feet (of course you should do this early in the morning, before the sand is too hot to walk barefoot!)

About the shade... Well, this regions has far less coconut trees than the coastline south of Natal, but it has some coconut trees as well. One should not worry about being exposed to the sun all day, because there are plenty of "shacks" (I can't find a better word in English, maybe "hut"), some of them covered with straw, others with tiles, in almost all the beaches, even the more deserted. Most of the "shacks" are restaurants. Anyway, it is highly recommended to use sunscreen (a product very easy to find and buy along all the region).

Well, let me see. What the region between Sao Luis and Belem looks like, Ok... I don't know that region very well, but it doesn't have many touristic beaches. That is the beginning of the Amazonic region, and there is some forest. I think the water gets a little murky there...

About sex tourism and prostitution. Well, we can't deny reality. This is a problem not only in Natal and Fortaleza, but Recife, Maceio and Salvador as well. But you should not think that all European tourists who come to the Northeast of Brazil are seeking prostitution. Only a minority comes with this intention, the majority comes for legitimate regular tourism.

About Maceio - this city has astonishing urban beaches, It is smaller than Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza, but bigger than Natal. It has some problem with crime, although less than the other three larger cities.

About Sao Luis - a beautiful city in an island, with a colonial past, and many preserved colonial buildings. It is called "Brazilian Jamaica", because it is the "national capital of reggae music" (although Fortaleza has a lot of reggae too, but less than Sao Luis).

About Recife - Great city, there are many preserved colonial buildings in the neighboring town of Olinda, and I highly recommend everyone to know Recife's carnival in February, a true popular street carnival, with people dancing in the streets, and the main rythm is not samba, it's the "frevo".

Well, I can say something about Fortaleza too, the city where I live. A big city (3.5 million people in the metropolitan area) with modern buildings, some nice urban beaches with good restaurants, and a very cool nightlife. And the beaches outside Fortaleza, are spectacular. Drive less than 2 hours from Fortaleza and you can get to some real paradises like Cumbuco, Paracuru, Lagoinha, Praia do Presídio, Caponga, Morro Branco and others... Cumbuco is an international center for kitesurfing and has some luxury resort hotels of international class.

So, I hope I've been able to clarify some of your doubts. Any more doubt you have it's just ask!
Old 12-10-2010, 02:16 AM
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
Reputation: 9219
Thanks MalaMan! Gotta love Brazil! And Brazilians! Best people I have ever met in my life, and a great country. Basically, I can never learn enough about Brazil.

Shacks - yes, I accept that word! Love those little shacks as well...or 'huts'. Mostly restaurants? THey sound big? They also have those little ones that just serve basic drinks or even beer - like a mini-bar at the beach? Good to hear those are all over the place!! Love those types of places. Do they sometimes play music as well? They are common mostly throughout city beaches? Or not so common? To what extent? Sounds cool!

MACEIO - astonishing urban beaches - that sounds GREAT. I love that. If you were to list the northeast cities from all the cities between Salvador to Belem..which would you rank as the top 3-4 cities with the best city beaches?

SAO LUIS - this place, I have heard is very beautiful with the colonial architecture. It also seems a little bit on the water though, isn't it? Is it just lacking city beaches altogether? I never hear of beaches and Sao Luis in the same sentence.

Also, which cities are most DENSE and WALKABLE? Or are ALL of them quite dense and walkable. It certainly seems like Olinda and Sao Luis fit that category. Are some cities much more car-oriented than others? Are they all quite walkable when you get near the beaches?

Also, the music seems to vary significantly from city to city? In each Northeast city, which type of music seems to be most popular? Sao Luis with Reggae...Recife with Frevo...and the others?
Old 12-10-2010, 08:51 AM
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
2,544 posts, read 4,438,466 times
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Hi Tiger Beer, I'm here again! Don't worry, I won't let your questions without an answer!

Let me start with... Hmmm... The shacks! Well, the "beach shacks" ("barracas de praia" in Portuguese) are quite common in the Northeast, specially in the State of Ceará (the State where Fortaleza is the capital city). Not only in Ceará, in other states too, but in Ceará the beach shacks are everywhere! For example: the most famous urban beach of Fortaleza is called "Praia do Futuro". Praia do Futuro has dozens of big beach shacks (mostly straw-covered), which are all great restaurants, specialized in seafood (crabs are delicious). They serve as bar too, if you don't want to eat, you can just sit at a table and drink beer or something else (whisky, rum, vodka, Brazilian cachaça, etc). And they often have live music presentations! But it's not only in the big cities that you find the beach shacks. Almost all beaches in the State of Ceara have at least one beach shack serving as bar or restaurant, even in the most isolated beaches.

Next question... Maceió. Maceió has AMAZING urban beaches. And the best thing are the "natural pools" in the middle of the ocean! Those are coral reef formations, some hundreds of meters from the shoreline, over underwater sandbars (shoals), where the depth of the sea is of no more than 1 meter or so. You need to get a small boat in order to reach the natural pools. The water is crystalline, transparent, and, of course, warm! You can walk for hundreds of meters with water by your waist. It's a great place for diving!

You asked for a ranking of the Northeast capitals with the best urban beaches. It's difficult to do, because all of them have great urban beaches, but I can assure the 3 best are, in order: 1 - Maceio, 2 - Natal, 3 - Joao Pessoa. I'm taking in consideration here just the strictly urban beaches, inside the cities.

Sao Luis! You ask me if Sao Luis has good beaches. Well, the last time I was in Sao Luis I confess I was a 12-year-old boy, that was more than 15 years ago. Sao Luis is set in an island. I remember a beach, in the neighboring city of Sao Jose de Ribamar, in the same island, that I loved very much! The beach was very shallow for hundreds of meters! I remember walking more and more to inside the sea, and the depth still being small! The beach was very calm, with no waves, and I entered hundreds of meters into the ocean, with water by my belly! Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of that beach!

About density. Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador are dense cities, with many highrises. Fortaleza, in particular, is the most dense capital city of Brazil, in terms of population density (population divided by city area). The density of highrise buildings in Fortaleza is very high too, mostly residential condos. The other capital cities have also many highrises, specially Natal, but all the others have a considerable number of them (Sao Luis, Maceio, Aracaju, Joao Pessoa).

The cities are, generally speaking, car-oriented. There are few pedestrian-only streets, for example. Traffic is a problem in Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza, specially in the rush hours on workweek days. Nothing comparable to the enourmous traffic jams of Sao Paulo, but it can be a little annoying sometimes.

Music! Without a doubt, the most widespread music rythm in the Northeast is the one called "Forró" (search for it on YouTube and you will see how it sounds). Well, maybe in Salvador forró is not as popular as "axé music", but it is popular too. "Axé music" is a rythm from Bahia. Very popular in Salvador, and all over Brazil. Brazilian singer Ivete Sangalo is an example of axé artist.

But, as I was saying, in the rest of the Northeast, outside Bahia, forró is king. Here in Fortaleza there are dozens and dozens of clubs with live forró presentations at the weekends. Many of the forró clubs are just walled open spaces, with no roof, since Fortaleza is a city with very little rain for the largest part of the year (rains are common only from March to May).

But the Northeast is not only forró and axé. There are some traditional rythms like maracatu and frevo, that are not commonly heard during all the year, but become very popular in the Carnival. Frevo is a frenetic rythm with trumpets, and the frevo blocks in Recife during the Carnival are very famous. Recife receives hundreds of thousands of tourists from other Brazilian states during Carnival, including many people from here (Fortaleza), who go to Recife to enjoy the frevo bands and the street party.

Reggae music is quite popular in Sao Luis, where I think it overcomes forró. The same way Fortaleza has dozens of forró clubs, Sao Luis has dozens of reggae clubs. In Fortaleza reggae is popular too, not so much as in Sao Luis, but it's popular. There are a couple reggae clubs in Fortaleza...

And, of course, all kind of international music can be heard in the Northeast of Brazil. All the big cities have nightclubs that play exclusively electronic music (house, techno, eurodance, etc). And in the big cities you can easily find rock concerts, and jazz and blues. By the way, here in Ceará we have a curious festival: the Guaramiranga Jazz & Blues Festival, that occurs in the highlands of Guaramiranga during... the Carnival!!! Yes, lots of people go to the mountains of Guaramiranga to listen jazz and blues during the Carnival days!

Ufff... I think I have answered all the questions... If you have more, just ask!
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