This post shows you Porto de Galinhas, Brazil that has amazing coral reefs just offshore and the best beaches of Brazil.
Porto de Galinhas is an isolated tourist resort that is internationally pretty unknown. But the Brazilians have many years in a row voted it the best beach in Brazil.
What makes Porto da Galinhas in Pernambuco, Brazil that special? Is it the huge expanse of soft, white sand or the relaxed village atmosphere? Or is it the beautiful coral reef with clearwater rock pools where you get close to colorful tropical fish?
On my trip to Recife (the capital of Pernambuco) I went on a day tour to Porto de Galinhas. Porto de Galinhas is less than 100 km south from Recife and it made a two hour drive through sugar cane fields.
What can you see on a day trip to Porto de Galinhas, Brazil? Of course I started with the famous beach. But first we need to put Porto de Galinhas on the map:
Porto de Galinhas, Brazil on the Map
If you’re not very familiar with Brazil zoom out the map to better understand the location.
Porto de Galinhas Beach
Porto de Galinhas has a very long beach, 18 km (12 miles) of sandy beach almost all the way fringed with palms. The sand is white and incredibly soft. Just sit down and relax!
The ocean water is always conveniently warm, between 25 and 27 degrees Celcius and the air temperature varies from 27 to 30 Celcius, all year round. Because Porto de Galinhas is in the tropics, and very close to the Equator.
You can’t say it was crowded when I was visiting Porto de Galinhas but during Brazilian holiday seasons it is a different thing. Brazilians like this isolated resort, that’s why they vote for it.
Porto de Galinhas Village Beach
The main beach is in the village of Porto de Galinhas. This beach is different, it has beach chairs, restaurants and shops, and reef tours start from here.
So this is the main beach. To get to the other beaches you need some kind of transportation so why not take a dune buggy? You can take one with or without a driver depending on how confident you are in driving on sand dunes.
As the beaches are extremely soft and there are practically no roads the best way to move around is a dune buggy.
We took a tour to Ponta de Maracaipe in the south. Ponta de Maracaipe is a large white sandy area where the Rio Maracaipe runs into the ocean. Here you can examine diverse sorts of wildlife like sea horses living in mangrove roots in the wetland.
Maracaipe is a windy area and has surfing competitions in the summer.
Another perfect dune buggy destination is in the north. Muro Alto north of Porto de Galinhas has a big natural pool created by the reef. Muro Alto is aonlyu a few kilometers from Porto.
Since Muro Alto has calm waters it became my favorite beach in Porto de Galinhas. In the picture I am arriving at Muro Alto with my Brazilian group, ready for a dip in the calm waters.
One more beach. This beach was on the way back to Porto de Galinhas.
Porto de Galinhas Coral Reef
People don’t visit Porto de Galinhas, Brazil just for the beach, they want to see the beautiful clearwater rock pools in the coral reef that are located just a short way offshore.
To get to the reef you need to take a colorful jangada raft. There are lots of jangadas waiting for travelers and they bring you to the reef in a very short time.
Once you get on the reef you can walk on it, the reef almost touches the surface. Remember to bring your shoes, the reef is sharp.
Alternatively you can swim and snorkel and examine the pretty tropical fish that’s all around.
In my group most people just wanted to stand in one of the rock pools. Once you get in you’ll be surrounded by curious tropical fish. And if you have a little bit of fish food with you they will all come to you.
After we had seen enough of the reef and the fish the rafts took us back. The reef trip was a real spectacle and great fun!
Port of Chickens
Porto de Galinhas means Port of Chickens in Portuguese. Why?
Brazil imported slaves from Africa for centuries until there restrictions became in the 19th century. Slave traders moved from big to small harbors, one of them Porto de Galinhas. As it no more was allowed to talk about slaves people instead talked about “new chickens” arriving meaning a ship of slaves sailed in the harbor.
This questionable acitivity gave Porto de Galinhas its name. Still today you can see chickens all over the village, small and big, not living but wooden and ceramic.
As a village, Porto de Galinhas is a quiet and isolated tourist destination and there are only a couple of streets. Yet there are good dining options and a good selection of small shops and art galleries.
And if you don’t like looking for sea horses in the swamp you can find them in the seahorse exhibition in the village.
Porto de Galinhas has no high buildings. There are only small hotels, simple pousadas and rental bungalows.
Our original plan was to rent a pousada here, between palms and close to the beach. We planned to relax a few days in the hammock on our veranda and having a swim with tropical fish now and then.
We were forced to change that plan since my husband had to work. But luckily I was not forced to give up my plan to visit Porto de Galinhas Brazil, the Port of Chickens.