Pernambuco is one of the most exhilarating destinations in the Northeast. Among the earliest centers of Portuguese colonization in Brazil, it has developed rich cultural traditions melding European, African and indigenous influences, especially in music and dance.
Recife, Pernambuco’s capital, is one of Brazil’s biggest cities; it's a very urban place with a rich entertainment scene. By contrast its much smaller and calmer neighbor, Olinda, is a charming, historical town, full of picturesque churches and talented artisans. North and south of these centers stretches a short but glorious coast with dozens of palm-fringed sandy beaches, great waves and crystal-clear reef pools.
But Pernambuco’s most glittering gem sits more than 310 miles (500km) out in the Atlantic. The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is a tropical-island getaway to dream about, a fervently protected aquatic Eden with near-empty, postcard-perfect beaches, surrounded by warm, brilliantly clear waters that is one of Brazil’s most awed destinations.