In English

Where to stay in Recife and Olinda, Brazil: tips from a local

Wondering where to stay in Recife or Olinda, in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco? I was born and raised there, and all my foreign friends who come to visit ask me that, so I decided to write this article with my best tips.

Here you’ll find recommendations on the best locations and suggestions of hotels, hostels, and inns in both cities.

Where to stay in Recife

Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, offers visitors many more attractions than its main urban beach, Boa Viagem. However, this is where almost all the city’s hotels are located.

It would, then, be the most obvious choice, especially if you like walking or cycling by the beach in the morning or if you want to stay in a bigger, fancier hotel.

But if you’re looking for a more centric location, or want to be somewhere more charming, I’ll suggest some alternatives.

where to stay in recife and olinda

Where to stay in Boa Viagem

If you’re wondering where to stay in Recife near the beach, look for places in Boa Viagem. But since this is quite a big neighborhood, I would advise you to stay closer to the region known as Pina, which is closer to the city center.

This way you will be closer to most good restaurants in Boa Viagem and also to other interesting parts of the city, like Recife Antigo (the charming old town). It will also be easier to get to Olinda, to the Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhoods (which I love) and to famous attractions such as Oficina de Francisco Brennand and Instituto Ricardo Brennand.

I would only advise you to stay in the other end of the neighborhood, near Setúbal and Piedade, if your priority is being near the airport or closer to Porto de Galinhas and other famous beaches in the Southern coast of Pernambuco.

boa viagem beach in recife

Among the hotels with good reviews in Pina and surroundings, you will find the Beach Class Executive flats, which have an average rate of 9.2 on It’s also worth taking a look at Transamerica Prestige, HY Apartments and Hotels, Grand Beach Flat and Marante Plaza. There’s also the Ibis Recife Boa Viagem, which is not right on the beach, but still close. If you’re looking for a hostel in this area, check out Cosmopolitan Hostel.

Nearby, in the area known as “Segundo Jardim” (which literally translates to “Second Garden”) of Boa Viagem, you will find a lot of trendy restaurants and bars. If eating well and enjoying the nightlife are among your priorities, try to stay near that region.

Some good choices of accommodation there are the Radisson Recife and the Fit Hostel, which I was told that has a great atmosphere. A few blocks later you will find Jangadeiro, Grand Mercure, and Euro Suíte Recife.

A few blocks away from the beach, but still very well located, there’s the Bugan Recife Boa Viagem Hotel by Atlantica, which has great reviews, with an average score of 9.1 on

Further away from Pina is Praça de Boa Viagem (Boa Viagem Square), where a traditional crafts fair takes place. I haven’t been there in years, but honestly I’ve never found what’s sold at the stalls to be very special. If you’re looking to buy souvenirs, it’s best to visit the Centro de Artesanato (Crafts Center) in Recife Antigo, or the São José Market and the Casa da Cultura in the city center.

Going even further from the Center and closer to the airport, another tourist attraction is Dona Lindu Park. Designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, it is an interesting spot if you are very interested in architecture or if there is an event going on – shows and cultural presentations are held both outdoors and at the Luiz Mendonça Theater, which is located there.

In the surroundings of Praça de Boa Viagem and Dona Lindu Park, some well-regarded hotel options are Park Hotel, Atlante Plaza, Roomo Praia de Boa Viagem and Mar Hotel Conventions.

The Ramón Hostel Bar, a mix of bar and hostel run by friendly Argentines, is also nearby. I haven’t been to the hostel itself, but I used to go to the bar, and it was quite nice.

See all the hotels, inns, and hostels in the Boa Viagem neighborhood.

Where to stay in downtown Recife

Recife’s city center is more commercial, as is the case in most Brazilian cities. Except for Recife Antigo (which currently doesn’t have accommodation in operation), the neighborhoods there are not the most pleasant for tourists and tend to be somewhat deserted at night and on Sundays. Therefore, they might not be the safest choices.

Still, I wouldn’t rule out staying in the city center, especially in the Boa Vista neighborhood, if you choose a good location. This is a convenient neighborhood if you’re planning to use public transportation, since there’s a big offer of bus lines passing through there.

You’ll also be very close to Recife Antigo (the most touristic and beautiful neighborhood in the city) and sort of midway between Boa Viagem, Olinda and the Zona Norte (North Zone).

There are some simple hotels and inns in the Boa Vista neighborhood; Pousada Lorde Inglês and Malakoff Residence have good reviews from previous guests. A more affordable choice is the hostel Zili Pernambuco, which has shared and private rooms and is rated with 9.1 on Booking.

where to stay in recife - old town

Where to stay in Recife in the “North Zone”

If you’re looking for tips on where to stay in Recife in a more residential and pleasant area, I would recommend the Zona Norte (North Zone). In most neighborhoods in this area the streets are more tree-lined and charming than in Boa Viagem and there are many cool bars, restaurants and cafes.

By staying in neighborhoods such as Espinheiro and Graças you will be well located, with easy access to the city center, Recife Antigo, Boa Viagem and Olinda. There aren’t hotel chains there that I’m aware of, but you can rent a flat.

Still in the North Zone, other pleasant neighborhoods are Parnamirim, Casa Forte and surrounding areas. There, you will find some tourist attractions I quite like, such as the Museu do Homem do Nordeste and the Casa Museu Gilberto Freyre, and the charming neighborhood of Poço da Panela.

poço da panela

However, this area isn’t very convenient for tourists who are only in town for a few days because it is further away from the tourist neighborhoods, and on peak hours you’ll likely get stuck in traffic jams.

There are a some highly rated flats for short-term rent in these neighborhoods, which you can find by opening the “show on map” option on Booking.

Where to stay in Olinda

Most visitors who come to Recife stay in the capital city itself and go spend one day or evening in Olinda, a neighboring city only 7km away from downtown Recife, walking around its charming historical neighborhood called Cidade Alta. However, staying in Olinda is also a good choice, especially on weekends.

Cidade Alta is a bohemian area, with several nice, traditional bars and some very good restaurants, so you can leave your accommodation on foot and explore the area. And if you’re going there in the months leading up to Carnival (from December to February or March), even better, since musical rehearsals and street parties take the streets of this neighborhoods in most weekends.

You’ll also find many charming inns there (much different from the more “standard” hotels in Boa Viagem). By staying there you’ll feel as if you were far away from urban centers.

where to stay in olinda

Among the best hotels and inns in Olinda’s Cidade Alta, a highlight is Hotel Sete Colinas. It balances a charming colonial decor with modern rooms and has a large, tree-lined common area with a swimming pool and small playground, making it a great choice for families and couples.

Another great option is Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, which is in a mansion with more classic rooms and also has a swimming pool. Another recommendation with a pool is Hotel Pousada São Francisco, which doesn’t have the same colonial charm as the previous ones but is quite nice and more affordable.

In the same price range, another suggestion is the Pousada Convento da Conceição, which provides an interesting experience.

Built in the 16th century, the building is one of the oldest nun gatherings in Brazil. In 1631, it was looted and burned by the Dutch. In 1676, it was rebuilt and began to function as a religious shelter for abandoned women. In 1972, the Novitiate moved and currently the space functions as a guesthouse.

The rooms are quite simple but seem nice. To get there, you must climb a good hill. But on the bright side, you’ll be very close to Alto da Sé, one of the best parts of the neighborhood. There you’ll find the stalls of the state’s most famous tapioqueiras (women who make tapioca, a very typical Brazilian delicacy), besides from several bars and restaurants, the Sé Cathedral and a viewpoint overlooking Recife, which is beautiful at sunset.

convento da conceição in olinda

Other accommodation options in Olinda which offer good value for money are Pousada Alto Astral, which has a pool, and Pousada Alquimia, which is simpler, but well located.

If you’re looking for a hostel, a great choice is Hostel da 13, which has beds with curtains for more privacy and a nice swimming pool; it’s rated with 9,3 on Booking. The small Canto dos Artistas has a great location, closer to the main street where you can take buses, and is also worth considering.

Where to stay in Recife or Olinda for free

If you want to have a more immersive experience in Recife and Olinda and save a lot of money on your trip, consider applying for a volunteering (work exchange) opportunity through Worldpackers. Through this platform you exchange a few hours of work for free accommodation and other benefits, such as meals and tours.

In addition to not spending on accommodation, you have the chance to learn new things, enjoy the destination more calmly and meet interesting people from different parts of Brazil and the world.

There are volunteer vacancies available in Recife, Olinda, and other parts of Pernambuco. You’ll find different types of tasks to choose from, like helping at a hostel reception or joining an agroecology project.

You can volunteer in as many places as you want during one year for a one-time fee of 49 USD. When registering, click here or use the coupon JANELASABERTAS and get a 10 USD discount. To find out more, check out our complete guide on how to do a work exchange.

olinda and recife

Did you like these tips on where to stay in Recife and Olinda? If you have any questions, ask me in the comments section!

Posts Relacionados

0 Comentários

Deixe o seu comentário