• Date Cruise Ship PAX
    Dec 01 2023 Costa Fascinosa
    Dec 02 2023 Azamara Quest 781

    The Port of Recife














    If you want to arrive by airplane, Recife has a luxurious international airport. Guararapes – Gilberto Freyre Iternational Airport was elected as the airport with the friendliest crew in Brazil, and one of the best of South America.

    The Airport has a walkway linking directly to both the subway and a integrated bus terminal. There are also licensed airport taxis (they are white and red with AEROPORTO written) in front of the disembarkation area. They work with taximeter, so you pay for the travel distance, it's not a fixed price to the destination you want to go. It's also close to the famous Boa Viagem beach.

    The airport is extremely well adapted for disabled people, from check-in to embark and disembark, everything was designed to let people on wheelchair have no difficulties and be able to do everything without necessity of help. But if it’s necessary, the staff is ready for whatever is needed.

    Domestic flights companies: Avianca Brasil, Azul, GOL and TAM;

    International flights companies: American Airlines, Condor Airlines, Copa Airlines, GOL, TACV, TAM and TAP Portugal.


    Residents of Recife are well-known by their good hospitality. When the ship arrives, the passengers are greeted with Frevo dancers, a local dance with colorful clothes and a mini-umbrella. Tourists find Frevo a very contagious rhythm and they stop to take a picture with the dancers. The local foods are really appreciated by foreigners, like the famous Tapioca. 

    Facts & Figures

    Foundation: 1537

    State: Pernambuco

    Population: 1,61mi (2015)

    Language: Portuguese

    Climate: Tropical As'

    Average Temperature: 25.5ºC ( 77.9ºF )

    Average Relative Humidity: 80%

    Currency: Real (R$)

    Country Code: +55

    Eletricity: 220V

    Timezone: UTC-3

    Drinking Age: 18 years

    Somking: By law you can’t smoke in public collective or private spaces, like restaurants and bars. The only places allowed are at home or in outdoor areas. 


    Near to the cruise terminal, in the Old Recife, there is a mall, called Paço Alfândega, and a large two-story well stocked bookstore (Livraria Cultura) where you can not only buy books, but sit anywhere and read them. There are many comfortable places where you can sit and relax. There’s also a coffee shop at the mezzanine. A little bit far from there (you’ll need to get a taxi) is RioMar Shopping, a giant luxury shopping with a stunning view of the city and rivers.

    Other options, but far from the port are Plaza Shopping, Shopping Tacaruna and Shopping Recife, the second largest in the city.

    But since most accessible shoppings for cruisers are Paço Alfândega and RioMar Shopping, let’s focus on them:

    RioMar Shopping









    Paço Alfândega is a small shopping with some clothes, arts, perfumes and other kinds of stores. The building where it works has a well preserved historic architecture. There you can find a food court, if going back to the ship to have lunch isn’t in your plans; but remember that at the port area there are various restaurants with awesome sea views and a more touristic atmosphere. The main attraction is Livraria Cultura (Culture Bookstore), a extremely comfortable place with books, magazines, discos and a Café.

    RioMar Shopping is a gigantic high-end luxury mall, the third largest in Brazil, where you will find 405 stores including the largest Prada in the South America, Burberry, Valentino, Gucci, Versace Collection, Emporio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Coach and Diesel. Other department stores like Zara, of electronics such as iTown and Samsung, bowling, cinema, theatre, gym, supermarket and food court are also available.

    The Port of Recife

    Recife's Cruise Terminal

    After a big renovation, Recife has a brand new cruise terminal and areas to better receive passengers who arrive by cruise ship. The port is located exactly at the tourist part of the city, Recife Antigo (The Old Recife), an island where constructions from the European colonization are preserved with new use to it. The capacity of the port is to receive simultaneously three cruise ships and there are buses available when a ship dock far from the terminal to do passengers transit.

    When passengers leave the terminal, they are close to the Marco Zero (Ground Zero) of the city, where various attractions are available and many people from the city like to go. If your cruise stops in Recife on a Sunday, the area will be full of bikes, since the city hall puts cones on avenues totaling more than 36 km (22,3 miles) for cyclists, the Ciclofaixa, and Recife Antigo is one of the main stops of the route. Sunday is a day to relax and have coconut water while having fun and practicing a health exercise.

    It’s interesting to mention that Recife has lots of bridges, since the “Brazilian Venice”, as it is known, is crossed by several rivers with some islands and, as mentioned before, Recife Antigo is a historic-preserved island where the port and touristic area is; passing one bridge there will be more close destinations but going a little far, the metropolis really appears, with lots of skyscrapers and heavy traffic at rush hour.

    In the area where ship docks the passage of yachts and boats is frequent, a nice scenario to look while in one of the various restaurants available there.

    Things to Do

    Who arrives in Recife by cruise ship will be exactly at the touristic part of the city, Recife Antigo (The Old Recife). This historical part contrasts with the modern skyscrapers of the city, since the constructions are from the European colonization. The buildings and old sugar sheds were restored and preserved with the original architecture to give place to restaurants, museums, commercial centers, art galleries and other touristics areas. Boa Viagem Beach is another popular destination.

    Here I will focus on the passengers who won’t buy a tour and choose to explore the area without a car:

    For those who prefer to explore the city by itself, the area near the zero ground (Marco Zero) is ready for it. When the ship arrives in Recife, chances are that it will dock far from the cruise terminal, specially the bigger ones, so buses provided by the port are constantly making the transfer from the ship to the terminal and vice-versa.

    After leaving the cruise terminal, turn left and walk on the sidewalk to find the Cais do Sertão, a beautiful museum built inside a restored sugar shed, with many interactive arts and representations of the backwoods located in the interior of the brazilian’s northeast.

    Address: Avenida Alfredo Lisboa, no number, Bairro do Recife

    Opens on Tuesdays from 9AM to 9PM; from Wednesdays to Fridays from 9AM to 5PM; Saturdays, from 1PM to 7PM; and Sundays from 11AM to 7PM.

    Entrance: R$ 8,00 (full price) and R$4,00 (half price). On Tuesdays the entrance is free.

    Continuing to walk and looking to the opposite side of the street, you will see the Torre Malakoff (Malakoff Tower), a place where you can find some arts exhibition and even see the moon and stars at the astronomical observatory, located on the top floor.

    Torre Malakoff

    Address: Praça do Arsenal da Marinha, no number, Recife Antigo

    Opens from Tuesday to friday, from 10AM to 6PM; on saturdays from 3PM to 6PM; and on sundays, from 3PM to 7PM.
    Free entrance

    Parallel to the seaside avenue, leaving the Malakoff Tower and turning left, there’s the oldest Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel, the oldest judaic synagogue in the Americas. The place is a history class by itself; inside there’s a memorable cultural experience from the 1500’s.

    Sinagoga Kahal Zur

    Address: Rua do Bom Jesus, 197/203, Recife Antigo

    Opens from Tuesday to Friday from 9AM to 5PM and on Sundays from 1PM to 6PM

    Entrance: R$ 6,00 (full price) and R$3,00 (half price).

    At the street below the Synagogue, the museum Paço do Frevo is dedicated to present the local dance Frevo, that all passengers will have the opportunity to see some dancers at the cruise terminal. The colorful clothes and mini-umbrella with upbeat songs are really appreciated by the tourists.

    Paço do Frevo

    The museum opens from Tuesdays to Fridays from 9AM to 7PM and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2PM to 6PM.

    Entrance: R$ 8,00 (full price) and R$4,00 (half price).

    Note: There are several restaurants and bars in the area 

    Going back to the main avenue where the cruise terminal is, you will find the Centro de Artesanato de Pernambuco, a huge area to buy local handicraft items. When there are ships docked, the place is a sales success. Worth the visit. The Center is in front of the ground zero, the main touristic area there.

    Centro de Artesanato de Pernambuco

    Address: Avenida Alfredo Lisboa, no number, in front of the ground zero, Bairro do Recife

     At the opposite side of the Ground Zero, you will find restaurants and bars in a really nice area that was an old sugar shed, just like the handicraft items centre. In the front of the Zero Groung, you can find the Caixa Cultural, another nice place to visit and have a cultural experience.

    Near Destinations

    Lots of cruisers who arrive and have a full day at the city like to go to Olinda and Porto de Galinhas Beach. Those destinations (especially Porto) require a bus excursion.


    Recife is a tropical city with high temperatures at the summer and it is just a little bit less hot at winter. January is the month with higher average temperatures, 26,9ºC (80,4ºF) and July is the colder, only by 3 degrees Celsius (24,1ºC or 75,3ºF). The rainfall is Mediterranean-like, with raining season on winter. The annual relative humidity is high too.