Churches, Monasteries & Shopping in Recife and Olinda
- Recife: Get your camera ready, because when you stop at Praca da Republica (Republic Square) and see the Governor's Palace, Santa Isabel Theatre, and the Palace of Justice, you'll want to take lots of pics as you meander along with this panoramic city tour.
- Shopping in prison: Before it became a shopping center, the Casa da Cultura (House of Culture) was a colonial-era prison. Old cells have been transformed into craft shops, bookstores, and cafes. The patio even serves as a concert hall.
- Olinda: Visit the Sao Bento Monastery and the Sé Church, where you'll see a mix of Baroque and colonial Renaissance architectural styles, along with historical artifacts.
About this Recife tour
It's a tale of two cities, Brazilian style.
On the one hand, you have the Dutch-founded Recife, a gleaming, modern metropolis filled with glass high-rises, a thoroughly urban sensibility, and all the fast-paced entertainment and cuisine that goes with these attributes. Recife is definitely for those who like life in the big city and all its cosmopolitan flair, conveniences, and energy.
But Recife wasn't born with its steely, sophisticated style – there is history and charm at the heart of the city, along with green spaces that, like the offshore reefs the city is named after, quell the city a bit. There's even a shopping center that was once a prison … and some of the local crafts you'll find there are a real steal.
Within sight of Recife is Olinda – a city with Portuguese roots and a decidedly low-rise ambience. Its picturesque charm lies in the colonial architecture, colorful old houses, and tree-lined streets. It's part artist colony – complete with workshops and galleries – and part well preserved, living museum with old churches, monasteries, and red-tile roofs. That's why UNESCO long ago declared it a World Heritage Site.
After you've explored the two cities you'll know both sides of the story, and perhaps a few new ones for you to reminisce.
Don't mess with loan sharks
For a long time, sugar plantations of Olinda brought prosperity to the area, but that all ended in the mid 17th century when competition from the West Indies came into play. The sugar barons began to borrow money from traders in Recife, and their high interest rates, combined with being given a separate charter by the Portuguese crown, led to a bloody battle between the two sides. The guys with the money won.
Please proceed pier side to meet your guide. Please look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
Bring a beach bag with lots of sun protection. Use it as a shopping bag for any souvenir purchases. Don't forget to bring local currency.
Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, or steep terrain. Vehicles are not wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Shopping, Private Tour, Cultural, Shopping
Sedan or Van
English, German, Portuguese, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
Travelers must be willing and able to walk nearly 1.5 miles on cobblestone terrain.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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