Twenty years ago, Porto de Galinhas (Port of Chickens) was just another fishing village at the end of a dirt road, with a palm-fringed beach and a few Recifenses’ holiday homes. Today it's one of Brazil’s booming beach destinations, with several large resort hotels strung along Praia Muro Alto and Praia do Cupe, north of the center, and dense festive crowds flocking here at holiday times. Pedestrianizing the few streets that make up the town center, where the odd restaurant opens right on to the beach, has preserved some village ambience. Beautiful beaches with light-colored sands stretch several kilometers in both directions from the town.
The town gets its name from the period between 1853 and 1888, when the slave trade, but not slavery itself, was illegal in Brazil, and ships would land here loaded with crates of chickens (galinhas) as cover for their human cargo.