Recife, Brazil – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Best to get this out of the way first: Recife is one of the more dangerous large cities in Brazil. Back in 2017 Recife was considered more dangerous than other cities in the Nordeste region. In 2022, things have calmed down a bit. Now Recife is just about the same as the other Nordeste cities. If you’ve been to Rio, you’ll be fine. You need to have street smarts here, but more on that in the safety section.

Recife is the largest city in the northeast region of Brazil, and is the most important commercial centre in the region. Many bridges, rivers and small islands are responsible for it being dubbed “The Venice of Brazil”. There are good museums, historical parts, nice parties, cool cafes (and good wifi and hubs to work).

Recife is also known as the launchpad for trips to Fernando de Noronha. Most flights, even those leaving through Sao Paulo, stop in Recife. This is because Recife and Fernando de Noronha are both part of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. 

POPULATION: 1,600,000 

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You can get an oceanfront apartment here for a really good price. $600 is the minimum price to rent a place in a decent neighbourhood. Recife is a very economical destination an you should be able to find something decent at a good price.




The best bars and clubs are in the Boa Viagem and Soledade neighbourhoods. It depends what types of bars and clubs you like. There are nice bars around Casa Forte, Espinheiro and Poço da Panela neighborhoods as well. 

Tons of bars. Have you noticed that this seems to be a theme in Brazil? The people love to party! I will focus on Boa Viagem because it is where most tourists will stay.

Bars that My Latin Life recommends:

Iguana Cafe: I’m sure you didn’t come all the way to Brazil to hang out at a Mexican-themed bar, but this one is worth a look. And the people who come here are beautiful and not stuck up.



If you want to hike, see a different landscape and check out some cave paintings you can go to Parque Nacional do Vale do Catimbau

Fly to Fernando de Noronha. The flights can be expensive, but it’s worth it.



If you want to make the most of your time in Brazil, you will need to speak some Spanish. You may find that English levels are quite low in Recifce. Rocket Portuguese is the best resource for learning Portuguese quickly and easily.



The beaches in the city are okay, but the best ones are outside the city. The best beaches in Recife are:

  • Praia dos Carneiros
  • Praia de Maracaípe
  • Pontal de Maracaípe (more local, good for surfing too)
  • Porto de Galinhas (kinda overrated, but close to Maracaípe)
  • Praia de Calhetas
  • Praia do Paiva
  • Praia de Gravatá
  • Praia de Japaratinga
  • São José da Coroa Grande



Recife is dangerous. Gang violence and petty crime are too common here. On streets, busses and taxis, robberies occur. Don’t wear jewellery. Don’t show off your cellphone. Don’t walk long distances for leisure. These are rules that apply for any big city in Brazil.



The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $754 USD/month to live in Recife, Brazil



It doesn’t quite cut it. The city is too dangerous and, unlike the equally dangerous city of Salvador, doesn’t offer enough to counteract that unfortunate fact. Rental properties here are also inexplicably expensive. If you are headed from Salvador to Fortaleza or Natal, you might as well pop in for a visit, but I wouldn’t suggest going too far out of your way to experience Recife.


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