North East Region
Best months:
May to October

North East Region

LAST UPDATED 15/08/2008
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João Felipe C.S: Brazil Labelled Map; 1 December 2007

The Northeast region is inhabited by about 51 million people, which is 30% of Brazil's population yet, this region is also the poorest region of Brazil that suffers from long periods of dry climate. Most of the population lives in the urban area.

The biggest cities in this region are Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife, which are the regional metropolitan areas of the Nordeste. Residents in the Northeast region are usually referred to as nordestinos.


rm: Praia Sancho, Fernando de Noronha; 2005

The North East Region of Brazil sits as the eastern most point of the South American continent and hence is ideally situated to make the most of any swell from the north through east and around to the south. Large swell from the south is a rare event due to the vast distance that Antartic generated energy has to travel but it is rarely flat here. Exposure to additional energy sources including North Atlantic storm fronts and easterly windswell means it's rarely epic as far as size goes but consistent as far as surfable days go. Pernambuco is the better known spot for surfing, a good collection of beaches and small surf reefs to comfort you during the endless summer in northern Brazil.

This area has experienced more than it's fair share of shark attacks in recent times and surfing can be temporarily banned from time to time at certain beaches in an attempt to prevent further casualties. So if it looks perfect and no one is out at a specific break, worth asking a local if surfing happens to be banned here at the moment. Take your rage out on the hire car if this happens and head south.


Klaus with K: Ponte Rio-Niterói; 24 May 2006

In the Amazon region as well as on the coast west of Sao Luis, boat travel is often the only way to get around. But everywhere else you are welcome to travel by plane, train, bus, car or bicycle. When you fly by plane, make sure check whether your flight is really direct, what stops it will have and always rely on your flight number, not on the destination. Strange, but some domestic flights are considered "international", so you get a chance to purchase items at a "duty free" store in the airport. Not bad, ha.

If you travel by car, you can buy road maps rom most newstands. A map will give you information on the distances and current conditions of the roads (which can be indeed very bad). Keep the doors locked when driving, especially in the larger cities, as robberies at stop signs and red lights are quite common in some areas.

Brazil's railway system was mostly wrecked during the military regimes, but the are some lines left. And the line from São Luis to Carajás is particularly interesting because part of it passes through the Amazon rainforest.

where to stay

“The Counter”: Rooftops in Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil, 14 March 2006

Jericoacoara is a small fishing village cum beach hippie mecca in the North East Region, Ceará, Brazil. The village is filled with sand and you can almost barely see the pavement. Although the beach tends to disappoint many travellers, most travelers end up deciding to stay for longer than they had originally planned after they arrive, as the surroundings are very pleasant.

The very cheapest accommodation can probably be had in private rooms, typically R$20 a night.

  • At Home Guesthouse is a home-styled budget accommodation in a private residence with privileged location. It features large garden and breeze veranda, fully equipped self-catering kitchen. 3 exclusive en-suites (bedroom-bathroom) and comfortably furnished.
  • Pousada Juventude, about R$30 per night
  • Pousada Tirol as a few different types of rooms available for different needs. Dorms R$ 32, Single R$ 50, Double R$ 75 and Camping R$ 8.
  • Vila Bela Vista is a unique and friendly bed and breakfast with 13 comfortable rooms: great matresses, air-con, hot water, pool, decks and more. Rooms from R$ 98.

what to pack

Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops; 25 May 2007

You’ll need short sleeved t-shirts, shorts and long trousers (pants) and probably a light jacket or pullover for the more blustery days and evenings and sun cream for days out on the water. In winter bring long trousers (pants), warm pullovers, warm waterproof coats, scarves, hat and gloves!!
Try to choose classics, and items that you can mix and match. Have at least one set of nicer clothing for more formal occasions. Cotton is the best.

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen, a hat  and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more.

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.  


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