ATMs can be found all over the place in the neighborhoods close to the beach, and credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

Dangers & Annoyances

Unlike many other cities and towns in this part of Brazil, Maceió feels modern: you won't see any charming colonial architecture unless you leave the beaches and venture into downtown, which few visitors find reason to do. But Maceió has an interesting backstory. A small settlement here was officially established as a village in 1815. By 1839, Maceió was the capital of the state of Alagoas, and the city has remained an important sugar port for Northeast Brazil. Thanks, in part, to its geographic position and industry, Maceió is prosperous, especially compared to the poor communities located in the interior of Alagoas.

But the city is surrounded by favelas (slums) and, away from the beaches, it is plagued with crime. Due to the high murder rate, Maceió made headlines in 2010 as the so-called 'most violent city in Brazil.' With basic precautions you're unlikely to become the victim of crime in the city's tourist areas. In fact, most travelers are blissfully unaware of this fact when they're snorkeling around the coral reef or relaxing on the beach, but it's smart to keep the context in mind – and consider the sharp divide between the tourist experience and the extreme poverty plaguing many of the city's residents – when visiting.

Should you run into any problems while in the city make sure to contact the police and report the incident. You'll see officers on patrol all over the oceanfront tourist areas.