A friend introduced me to a taxi driver that uses to work for him, and is a trusty person. "Seu" Roberto, more than an excellent professional was a friend, a guide, and a bodyguard. Always charging much less than the table in display at my hotel's lounge, he took us everywhere, suggesting sights, stops, restaurants, patiently waiting all the time we wanted and watching our security.
Respectful and kind, he quickly became more than a good professional, a trusty friend. We used his taxi to... everything! It was his idea taking us to Igarassu, that we would miss without his support. He also checked the tide hour, to suggest trip scheduling. Absolutely perfect.
My best tip about Recife will surely be: don't hesitate - phone Roberto. And if you tell him that it was Avelino's suggestion you'll get a prompt smile.
Recife has recently had a new airport made and it´s extremely nice.
It´s a 3 floor airport with lot´s of good cafes and lot´s of good shopping options.
There is also a very helpful tourist information on the ground floor right by the arrival hall.
Should you ever have a layover in Recife airport then don´t worry.
It´s a nice place to spend a few hours.
Leaving Recife and Brasil, we will cross the ocean and the equator on our way to Dakar Senegal. To cross the equator, you must first ask permission of King Neptune. he may demand that you be cleansed or initiated before allowing passage. You will join the "Royal and Ancient order of the Shellbacks" and then may roam the seas freely.
There are many options for travel within Recife. Public transportation is very good and cheap if you have the time to figure out the system and have a working knowlege of Portuguese. The area is fairly flat and is also good for bicycling or walking.
The busses let you off near Guararapes where many taxis are waiting to shuttle you around. Many of the hacks do not speak English, so write down where you are, so you can get back safely. I chose to walk across the bridge into Boa Vista and caught a cab later, but I heard many stories later about these taxis later. The driver will offer you his service for the whole day "off the meter" which even after negotiating a fee will be about double what you should pay. Having a whole day guide also doesn't allow for pleasant strolling around except in limited areas. My advise if you take a cab is to go on the meter to your destination. Cabs are plentiful and it is easy to get back.
Recife has a closed port, no strolling around, so transportation is provided by bus or private tour to get out of the port area. You can sign up for a ride by a shop, if you visit their espablishment, or take a bus into Santo Antonio. Our departure was delayed for the removal of an ailing passenger.
My trip to Brasil was aboard a tri-continent cruise on Holland America. It is a two day journey from Salvador de Bahia de Todos Santos and is a comfortable and entertaining way to travel. There were many Brasilians on the boat as this cruise originated in Rio de Janeiro and ended in Lisboa Portugal. I was surprised that the main language on the boat was English.
The bus takes forever (some 4 or 5 hours to cover little more than 200 KM), unless you're lucky enough to catch a direct service (which still takes a lot).
The ticket costs R$ 25 to 30, depending on where you catch it.
There are city buses going to Olinda, and if they don't go close to where you are (let's say: Praia Boa Viagem) ... you can take advantage of the "integração" system, where you just do tranfers instead of paying more than one fare.
Buses to Olinda costs R$ 2.45.
There are some lines in which the buses are smaller but more comfortable, with music, air conditioned and passengers are not allowed to travel standing up.
There is a very small difference in the price, but more than worthy.
As an example, I suggest line 42, which leaves from the airport, goes all along an avenue paralell to the beach and goes to Recife Antigo; so, this line serves many of the touristic spots of the city.
Most will fly into Recife from other locations. There are direct flights from US airports, I really don't know what it is like from other parts of the world.
We had exceptional experiences utilizing the long distance bus system which is as good as any in the world, perhaps better.
I suppose you could also jump ship if you happen to come in that way.
We do a lot of walking when traveling but it is not difficult to use the bus system in Recife. It is efficient and they run often.
You can usually negotiate a half day tour with a taxi driver, they are receptive esp. if you offer to have him take you to his favourite restaurant.
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