Practical Information for Recife
Recife Guararapes International airport is new, user-friendly with an award-winning passenger terminal where you can see (and purchase) local art and crafts. At peak times/holiday seasons, it gets quite busy but is well laid out on 3 floors (Arrivals, Departures and Services/Viewing platform) and a separate multi-storey car-park just outside.
It is close (1.5km/5 minutes car) to Boa Viagem district, where most hotels are found, and the beach. Downtown and other districts - 20-30 minutes except rush hours. Transfers to other beaches - Muro Alto/Porto de Galinhas (45-60 minutes), Carneiros/Maragogi (75-90 minutes).
All long-distance buses arrive at the "TIP" Bus Passenger Terminal on the western outskirts of the metropolitan region, about 12 km from Recife International airport and Boa Viagem beach district, where many tourist hotels are found.
The Terminal has a number of basic services and shops as well as its own Metro (overground) station into town centre and southern districts of Recife. There are plenty of taxis right outside the terminal building.
My Guide Recife recommends for most visitors to Recife to use the good value and safe taxis.
For the 2014 World Cup and growing tourism, English-language initiatives for taxi drivers and tourism-related services are happening. Airport, Shopping Centre and Hotels taxis are most likely to have drivers that speak at least basic functional English or another foreign language.
But in general, most people do not speak good English in Recife and Brazil. An obvious tip is to carry a note with the address and a telephone number of where and with whom, or the hotel, you are staying.
We further recommend that you choose a reputable taxi company or local cooperative, who have registered cars and drivers and a central reservation, telephone or internet-based, system - such as:
EasyTaxi www.easytaxi.com.br - download the App for Android, IoS and Windows phone to use the innovative geolocation system in multiple languages including Portuguese, English and Spanish
Teletaxi - tel: 81 2121 4242 (throughout Recife metropolitan region, Portuguese only)
Whilst there are widespread municipal and inter-city buses around the Recife metropolitan region, they can be very crowded in peak hours and most do not have air-conditioning.
For more comfort, look for the 'Opcional' buses which are air-conditioned and more comfortable, and a little more expensive than the common buses - there are a number of routes around Recife and most serve the Airport, Shopping Centres and Old town Recife.
The bus system is being modernised for the 2014 football World Cup with modern buses along Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes which should make it more efficient and quicker. Several integration hubs, know as SEI's, allow transfer to the metro system (see below) using one ticket.
How to get from the airport to the Arena Pernambuco stadium (days without matches)
1. Passengers should go to the Airport’s Integrated Terminal and take a 370 bus – TIP/Airport, which will take them to the TIP Integrated Terminal.
2. There, passengers may take a 410 bus – TI TIP/Parque Capibaribe, which leaves them on the access way to the Pernambuco Arena, around 300 metres on foot.
Fare: R$ 2.15 (as a result of using the integration system, passengers pay for only one ticket)
The route to the Pernambuco Arena using the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system on match days
Those using the BRT Expresso Copa Norte-Sul (express service) may purchase their tickets at the PE-15 Integrated Terminal, swapping it for the orange bracelet and travelling until Rua do Sol, in Recife City Centre. There, passengers should go the Guararapes station, where they will take the BRT Expresso Copa Leste-Oeste (express service), which will have 46 buses in operation, taking people directly to the stadium.
The tickets will also be sold at Guararapes and Derby stations, two boarding points for the Leste-Oeste line. They cost R$ 5.00 and mean that fans will be able to alight at the same spot as on their way there.
Overground Metro - see map below
Recife's metro system has two main lines, North-South and East-West, cutting across the metropolitan region of Recife:
- to Olinda and Camaragibe to the north, serving the Interstate bus terminal (TIP) and a new station, Cosme e Damião, serving the Arena Pernambuco stadium;
- and Jaboatão dos Guararapes and Cabo de Santo Agostinho in the south, serving the Recife International airport, Boa Viagem and Piedade beach districts.
It has been modernised with new airconditioned trains for the 2014 football World Cup and it quite efficient and good value. Several integration hubs, know as SEI's, allow transfer to the bus system using one ticket.
Metro route to the Pernambuco Arena on World Cup match days
Fans should choose to board trains at stations where special services for the World Cup will be put in operation, where they will find signs and volunteers to guide them. The seven stations with special World Cup services will be: Aeroporto (Airport), Tancredo Neves, Antônio Falcão, Joana Bezerra, Recife, TIP (Bus Station) and Camaragibe. The World Cup ticket (metro + red bracelet allowing passengers to take the circular bus service) will also be available for sale at these stations.
Passengers should alight the train at the Cosme and Damião station. There, they should take the circular bus services that will take them to the Pernambuco Arena. The round trip World Cup ticket, which may be used on the metro and the circular bus costs R$ 7.50. Tickets sold at the Guararapes International Airport (giving passengers access to the Airport Integrated Terminal, one of the special stations) will be sold at R$ 8.05.
- Always carry photo identification with you - it's the law. Avoid carrying an original passport, for theft reasons, so take a copy and/or have a photo id with name and age.
- Tip your waiters. Normally in Brazil 10% is automatically added to the bill/check, so you should be able to identify this easily. If you had great service or are feeling generous, give extra in cash direct to your waiter. Tips are not expected by Taxis or Transfer drivers, though gratefully received. In hotels, you can tip moderately. Local currency preferable.
- Be aware Brazilians are very tactile - be prepared for handshakes (between Men), kissing (between Women and Man/Woman - one on each cheek in Recife, though this can change in other regions), moderate physical contact (backslapping - Men, Hugging). Greetings and farewells in larger groups can seem to take ages but it is normal and expected.
- Have local currency (R$ - Reais) with small notes and coins (as change can be a problem with Taxis or Street vendors). The Brazilian Real has been pretty stable against most strong currencies for years and it is no longer customary to charge or pay in Dollars/Euros etc., unlike some South American countries.
- Buy local pre-paid SIM/PAYG card for mobile telephone and internet - see section below.
- Wear expensive or flashy jewellery nor show off your smartphone or tablet when walking in public - others less fortunate may ask you to hand it over.
- Never argue with thieves - they most certainly have less to lose than you!
- It is now prohibited to smoke indoors or outside if under an awning, so excuse yourself from the table and go outside in the open air with other smokers.
My Guide, being a leading global online travel resource, naturally wants to give travellers the best possible experience and advice before, during and after your trip. For your convenience, simply access a mobile-optimised version of My Guide Recife on your smartphone or tablet at www.mydestination.com/Recife.
Below we offer advice on the best (and cheapest) way to get access to our Portals and content partnerships when you are on the move. These facilities are constantly being improved and widened to offer our public the useful and interesting online resources they require.
Local SIM cards:
Roaming charges in Brazil can be excessively high, so to avoid nasty bills, we fully recommend you acquire a local pre-paid (PAYG) SIM card as soon as you arrive, which are available at branded stores e.g. shopping centres, large stores, street vendors/newstands or quiosques on Boa Viagem beach.
SIM Cards cost around R$10 plus pre-paid credit R$6 - 20. Most Brazilian mobile networks e.g. Claro, Oi, TIM, Vivo have fixed price tariffs for mobile-mobile (~R$0.20-0.40 per call to same operator, considerably more to other phones or internationall calls) and internet usage (daily charge around R$0.50). As plans and promotions can change regularly, even daily, these values are for guidance only.
My Guide's most recent partnership in 2013 is with Google who now have a global content partnership to show cool and interesting places to see and visit via their cool Field Trip app - download it for free and use it on your travels!
It advises you of what's nearby and provides links direct to details of the local business on the My Guide Portal and an ability to navigate there via your phone's GPS/Google Maps, if installed.
In Brazil, when calling outside the city you are in from a local phone i.e. DDD you need to dial a number which is called the "operadora." In Recife, the most commonly used are "21" (Claro/Embratel - interstate and international) and "31" (Oi).
To call outside the country i.e.IDD you also need to add a "00" to the very beginning of the number.
The dialling order for an international phone call is:
00 + 21 or 31 + country code (USA "1", UK "44" etc.) + area code (without leading "0") + number
So for you to call the US, for example, you might dial 00 + 21 + 1 + (555) 555-5555.
Most hotels and hostels will have free Wi-Fi or at least a computer or two for guests to access the internet. For the most part, the internet in Recife is very reliable and becoming quicker.
If by chance internet is charged where you’re staying, there are a few other options for you to seek out. Many cafés and restaurants will have free Wi-Fi, so if you have a smartphone, just ask a waiter for the password, and try that on your phone or even laptop if you have it on you.