Recife Guararapes/Gilberto Freyre International Airport (REC)

Recife's International Airport

Recife International airport is named Guararapes, a hill nearby where a decisive battle in 1649 between Dutch and Portuguese forces ended the Dutch occupation of the State of Pernambuco within the Portuguese colony of Brazil. Since 2001, it was also named after Gilberto Freyre, in homage to a famous local sociologist.

Recife's airport is extremely well located, just 1.5 km from Boa Viagem beach in south of city, and a very modern and customer-friendly new terminal was opened in 2004. New fingers were added more recently and further expansion by 2014 will raise its capacity from the current 7 million passengers to 11 million p.a.

In 2012, 6.43 million passengers passed through its domestic and international terminals.

An award-winning passenger terminal - look around

Its passenger terminal (see photo) is regularly voted as one of the best in Brazil, and it is worth looking around for a few minutes upon arrival, if time and luggage allows.  Certainly arrive early before departure and before going air-side, taking in the shops (for last minute gifts from the region), foodhall (often with live music) and viewing platforms.

If you are flying to elsewhere in Brazil - remember nowadays you are lucky to get a cheese sandwich and a soft drink on the plane, and you may have a 3 hour+ flight ahead.

During festive periods, you may be lucky to be greeted by local performances - dance, music, Carnival. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions of local art and crafts as well as the pleasant shopping and culinary experience.

Quick Guide







ARRIVALS (Ground floor):

  • Airside - Domestic Baggage claim has a pre-paid (cash/cards) taxi booth with fixed charge (by destination) in air-conditioned cars - give name of hotel or district
  • Customs - be aware of your customs allowances before you travel, official Brazilian government advice can be read here - as a rule of thumb, you are allowed to bring in up to US$500 (by air) or US$300 (by land or sea) duty-free goods, plus personal items compatible with the nature and length of your stay;
  • Terminal services (see Useful information page) - Bank ATM's, Bureau-de-Change, local mobile/cell-phone SIM cards, Post Office (Correios), Federal (Tourist) Police and Customs (Receita Federal), Cafes;
  • Taxis - unifomed attendents at Terminal exits and Red-White (Taxi Especial - larger executive cars 25-30% more expensive) or Blue-White (Taxi Comum - standard)
  • Transfers - pick up immediately outside Terminal in second lane.


DEPARTURES (1st Floor):

  • Terminal - Recife has only 1 terminal for international (South gates entrance) and domestic (North gates entrance), all in the same terminal building (1st floor);
  • Time - whilst it is always advisable to arrive the standard 1 hour (Domestic) and 2 hours (International), the distances and procedures are quicker than most Brazilian airports (which can be long and confusing);
  • All Airline companies, Check-ins - usually very helpful and organised plus you will see many useful Shops for last minute gifts, crafts, toiletries, reading material;
  • Inspections of hand luggage/toiletries - domestic Brazilian flights do not operate the strict limitation of liquids (as in EU & North Amercia), so you can carry on your basic requirements by hand;
  • Eat before you board - note the domestic flight times (up to 3 hours or more) and have a snack or meal at the airport, delicious regional and fast-food options, as you are lucky to get a cheese sandwich and a soft drink nowadays.