Porto de Galinhas is a small beach town, very popular as a weekend getaway for people from nearby Recife. The area is stunningly beautiful with amazing reefs. Hotels range from cozy "pousadas" to five-star resorts. Do not miss nearby Maracaípe.
The closest airport is in Recife/Guararapes, some 60 km north of Porto de Galinhas. The bus company Cruzeiro (☏ 0800 81 2662 (domestic) or ☏) operates buses (ônibus) from Recife center to Porto de Galinhas from 04:45 until 22:30. These busses stop at Recife Airport.
From Recife, local buses and taxis make the trip to Porto, as locals call it. The bus company Cruzeiro (☏ 0800 81 2662 (domestic) or ☏) operates buses (ônibus) from Recife center to Porto de Galinhas from 04:45 until 22:30. Journey by bus takes around 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes and stops at the airport and several other locations in Recife. The bus costs R$6.70. It doesn't have air-conditioning. If the bus is full you will have to stand for the trip. The bus terminal in Porto de Galinhas is next to the gas station o posto at the end of the Rua de Esperança, the main street of Porto de Galinhas. Other bus lines are available. The line 195, operated by Cruzeiro as well, has busses equipped with air conditioning, better seats and a semi-express route. It costs R$10,40 and leaves each hour from Cais de Santa Rita in Recife. At the other end of the Rua de Esperança is the praçinha (little plaza), the city center on the beach and near the tide pools.
The town is small and easily navigable on foot. Uber also works, as of December 2019, and a typical 10-minute trip costs about R$ 6.
Buggys are available for rent with or without driver, which presents a great alternative to traditional car rental.
Bustling beach town in summer, lots of dining places, local "churrascarias" (barbecue) and good seafood. Lots of beach activities in the area. Amongst them, visits to the "piscinas naturais" in a jangada, a local raft tour to the nearby reefs, where sea water makes natural ponds, and lots of different fish can be seen.
If lucky enough you might attend a sea turtle birth at full moon in midsummer, plan for a full moon stay.
Note that the beautiful reefs are only available at very low tide, for about two hours a day. Ask for information at travel agency or tourism information center for the recommended days and hours to visit reefs.
- Hippocampus Project (Projeto Hippocampus), Rua da Esperança, 700, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 09:00 - 12:50 and 14:30 - 16:50. Dedicated to research the biology, cultivation and preservation of Brazilian seahorses. R$ 4.
- Visit the "Piscinas naturais" - gaps in the reef where small fish can be found. R$30 for 45 minutes, with tickets available at the booth near Giroskka Bar in Praça central. Snorkel gear is provided. The snorkeling is fun for beginners, but nothing to write home about if you've snorkeled in Hawaii, the Riviera Maya, or the like. Only one type of fish.
- Buggy tours (Assoc. Prop. e Condutores de Bugue), ☏ .
- Take a trip on a little boat in the lagoon and swim with the fish (take some kind of footwear as the rocks are sharp!).
- Walk to nearby Maracaípe and watch the surfers.
- Find a spot on the beach, order shrimp and beer, sit back and relax.
- In the beach point Pontal do Maracaípe local kitesurfers can be seen. For the more adventurous, classes on this sport are available as well.
- Visit beautiful Praia dos Carneiros. White sandy, crystal clear water beach south of Porto de Galinhas, very near Tamandaré. Can be reached by boat trip.
- Catamarã Cavalo Marinho, ☏ , . Hire a boat and get to Ilha de Santo Aleixo. Caribbean-style Island front of Toquinho beach (south of Porto de Galinhas). Ideal for snorkelling and swimming. The excursion takes up to 6 hours.
- Scuba diving (Mergulhão Scuba), at various hotels. Explore the natural reef by scuba diving while you're there. These guys will come pick you up at your hotel (which ever one in a 6 miles radius) and take you to explore the natural ponds. A great experience.
- Project Hippocampus, Pontal de Maracaípe.
The shops in the pedestrian zone in the center of town offer local crafts, clothing, and beach equipment.
Don't leave Porto de Galinhas before trying traditional tapioca.
- Barcaxeira (on the corner of Pracinha). The name is a mixture of "bar" and "macaxeira" (sweet cassava). Its speciality is macaxeira gratinada, baked mashed cassava with meat and cheese. R$20.
- Beijupirá. Expensive but delicious. The speciality of the restaurant is beijupirá (filet of cobia). They serve lobster and shrimp dishes as well. Menus are available in English, German, Italian and Finnish. R$50.
- Carne-de-Sol da Cunha - Excellent meat for a good price. One dish serves two people.
- Peixe na Telha, Rua das Piscinas Naturais (100 meters from the Pracinha). Seafood at the seaside. "Telha" is a curved clay tile used to roof houses. The speciality of Peixe na Telha is a fish baked in this clay tile. The restaurant is accessible from the road or from the beach. It provides a free shower for people coming for dinner directly from the beach. For R$ 5 to 15 they guard valuables during the meal. The restaurant is directly in front of the natural tide pools. R$20 to 30.
- Tio Dadá - In the town center, 50 meters from the natural pools.
Many bars and restaurants serve the weekend party crowd. It isn't hard to find a place for a drink along the beach, on either of the two main roads, or from a number of stands set up at night where the two main roads connect near the beach. Sometimes it is possible to see and even participate in an impromptu drum circle at this intersection on weekend evenings.
On the very shore of the beach, you can find carts that sell pina colada out of the actual pineapple, for R$ 20.
Hotels range from cozy "pousadas" to top-quality five-star resorts (Nanai and Summerville). Especially at weekends the city center will be very loud. The streets around the Pracinha are full of party-goers and the bands play on the streets in front of the pousadas. Especially Pousada Benedita and Pousada Marakatu are only a few meters away from the street parties. Room prices in one of the posadas at the city center start at R$50. Avoid being led to a hotel by touts, as you will get an inflated price.
- Hotel Pontal de Ocaporã, Sitio costa tropicana - Lote 182, ☏ . The first hotel of Porto de Galinhas. Literally on the beach, which is also one of the region's safest ones for swimming. Great for kids, with a whole staff just for them.
- Pousada Sky Beach Flat, s/n Rua Merepe III Quadra 5C, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00. Single and double-bed studios with A/C, balcony, fridge and microwave oven. Large pool and excellent breakfast. Some construction noise during the day (Dec 2019). Decent free Wi-Fi that may get disconnected during peak hours if many guests are using it. Only one member of the staff of 3 speaks any English.
- Pousada Beira Mar (in the town center right on the beach). Good service by the two Swiss owners.
- [dead link] Pousada da Benedita, Rua da Esperança 85 (centre, 60 m from the main beach), ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Cheap and clean little hotel. Doubles R$ 80-150.
- Pousada Doce Cabana (in a quiet residential area about 15 minutes walk from the city center). This pousada has a pool with a swim-in sauna and provides full breakfast and free Internet service to guests. They have English speaking staff and English speaking drivers on call for excursions.
- [formerly dead link] Pousada da Preguiça.
- Pousada Sonhos do Porto. Very cozy and amiable staff. Very nice service and hosting. Can host parties of up to 8 people per apartment.
- Pousada Tabajuba. Ideal for honeymooners. This cozy little pousada is just the best when you want to spend a lovely honeymoon. When there, be sure to try the massage therapy.
- Pousada Tabapitanga, Pontal da praia do Cupe. Great for couples with or without kids. Has a restaurant. Be sure to order the lobster.
- Pousada Villa delle Rose, Rua Manuel Uchôa (20 steps from the beach). This pousada provides a friendly, quiet atmosphere. The rooms are sparsely furnished, but have a minibar. The proprietor, Rose, speaks English.
- Che Lagarto Porto de Galinhas, Praça 11, 19 (4 blocks from the beach), ☏ . Not very clean or quiet.
- Pousada Recanto do Lobo. Ideal for families.
- Casa Amarela, Praça 18.
Within walking distance on the beach to the south is the smaller town of Maracaípe. If you want to get away from the noise it is a quiet place. Further south, lies the "Recanto do Cavalo Marinho", a protected area for seahorse breeding. A local "jangada" can take you as well.
Beaches further south are also beautiful, but harder to access. Tamandaré can be accessed going south on the PE-60 road. There are signs on-route with directions to Carneiros. Toquinho and Serrambi are some of the other options.