The Complete Guide for Cruise Ship Tourists in Recife Port

The Recife New Marine terminal was opened in 2014. Since then, lots of cruise ships have arrived there with a great number of tourists from all over the world. In 2019 over 20,000 people arrived in this terminal, and the forecast for the coming years is to double this number.

Where do cruise ships dock in Recife?

Where do cruise ships dock in Recife? All the cruise ships going to Recife docks at the Recife seaport, and the passengers disembark from the ship through the Recife Maritime Terminal. The Recife seaport is in the “Recife Antigo” neighborhood, which is close to a lot of tourist spots in the Recife city.


My name is Claudio Pereira, I’m a Brazilian photographer enthusiast living in Recife city, and I’m here to help you have the best experience when visiting this beautiful city. In this post, I answered the most asked questions among the cruise tourists traveling to Recife. Take a look down below, and I hope you have an outstanding experience when traveling to this great city:


1. What is the lens fungus and how it grows?
2. What do you need to create an antifungal dry box?
3. Step-by-step to create an antifungal dry box
4. Day-to-day lens care
4.1. Run away from the camera bag
4.2. Cleaning your lens properly
4.3. Let it sunning
4.4. Check the anti-mold moisture frequently
5. Your lenses have fungus, what can you do?

1. What is the Recife City currency?

Recife, as all the other Brazilian cities use Reais as the current currency. So, you just need to exchange your money for some Reais to buy some things and services around the city.

It’s also very common to find credit card machines in the local market. If you have an international credit card with you, especially Visa and MasterCard, you won’t have any problem paying for your purchases in Recife City.

Down below is showing the current Exchange Rate from US Dollars (USD) to Reais (BRL), and from Reais (BRL) to US Dollars (USD):

Currency data courtesy

2. How to move around Recife city?

After the cruise ship docks in the seaport of Recife, you might want to explore the city. Well, to move around the Recife City, you have four options: By feet, Uber, Taxis, Bus, and Private Touristic tours. I described all these options for you down below:

On Foot

This is the cheapest option, and you can walk some minutes from where the cruise ship docks in Recife to see several of the most iconic spots in the Recife Antigo Neighborhood.

Although it’s good to remember you that It’s better to take a bus or an Uber if you want to visit a different neighborhood because they are usually far from each other and some of them have dangerous spots in between.

Sometimes, like going from the Recife Port to the Boa Viagem beach, for example, you’ll need over 1 hour walking a lot by dangerous places. Maybe it’s not the best choice, unless if you have a lot of stamina and courage, haha.

Advice: If you need over 30 minutes walking to go somewhere in a different neighborhood or if you feel uncomfortable with the place or the people, it’s a safer option to choose another means of transport.


As the bus option is more difficult to use and needs more time to move around, I would recommend you to take an Uber if you want to take it easy and enjoy the city more. It’s easy and quick to find a driver for you, and you can just put all the directions in the app to go wherever you want.

This service accepts both credit cards and money, but you need to specify how you’ll pay before calling a driver.

How much does it cost to use Uber in Recife city? Well, the prices are flexible, but I include down below the average costs to use this service for different destinations:

– From the Recife Maritime Terminal (RMT) to Alto da Sé (Olinda): R$20 (US$3.6)
– From the RMT to Boa Viagem beach: R$30 (US$5.4)
– From the RMT to Porto de Galinhas beach R$115 (US$20)

If you choose this option, you will go through less unforeseen and will enjoy the city better. And this would be my first choice for everybody who has some budget to move around and wants to explore the best of Recife city.


I don’t recommend you to take a taxi in Recife, because they are usually more expensive than Uber and provide an inferior service. Also, for foreign tourists they are sometimes rude and try to take advantage of you, taking longer routes to make you spend more. So, I don’t recommend taxis, and instead of using this service, you can easily call an Uber driver for you in the app.

Public Transportation (Bus)

This is the cheaper option to transport in Recife, and I would recommend it if you want to save money in this city. However, be careful because you’ll spend more time moving around than in the taxi and Uber options, and you don’t want to miss the cruise ship when the departure time arrives. This way, if you have a short time to know the city, maybe it is better to try other options.

If you want to take the bus in Recife, you will need to buy a card called “VEM”, and fill it with credits to move around.

You need to buy the VEM card and fill it with some credits to use the transport. The card costs R$4 (US$0.7), and the bus tickets cost R$3.45 (US$ 0.6) for Recife city buses and R$4.70 (0,85) for each ticket to the Olinda Buses.

You can buy a VEM card in a BRT Bus Station or a Bus Terminal. The closest place to buy a VEM card near to the Recife Seaport is the Istmo Bus Station ( “Estação Istmo” in Portuguese). You can buy a card and fill it with credits right there.


And remember that you must pay a ticket for each time you enter a different bus, so do your math and calculate how much you will need to spend. Look in the Google Maps/Apple Maps to see which buses you must take to plan your costs.

If you want to try public transportation in Recife, I would highly recommend you download the CittaMobi app to use it with Google Maps/Apple Maps, which are available in Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Everybody in the city uses this app to move around, and it will help you a lot to know the bus itineraries, while the Google Maps/Apple Maps will help you know where to take these buses.

Private Touristic tours

This is the easiest and safest option. If you don’t want unforeseen risks at all, maybe this is the best option for you. However, this safety has costs, and it’s the most expensive choice because of that.

You can buy a Touristic tour from the cruise ship company, which is the safer option, but it’s more expensive, or you can also buy a touristic tour made by other companies leaving the Recife Maritime Terminal to the different destinations.

As you may have noticed, if you arrive late for the cruise ship departure, you’re safe in the first option, but you’ll probably be in trouble in the second one. So, consider that when buying a tour through the city.

Also, I would highly recommend you to take a tour if you’re planning to go to Porto de Galinhas Beach because it’s usually cheaper than Uber and also safer. To all other options in Recife and Olinda, if you want to save more money and explore the best of these cities, I would rather recommend you to try it yourself and go there by Uber.

3. Recife City Itineraries for Cruise Tourists

The Itineraries below include 3 major spots: Recife city, Olinda and Porto de Galinhas Beach (Ipojuca city).

Recife and Olinda are cities with a very rich past, and if you are a history lover, you will get amazed by everything you’ll see. These cities are located inside the Pernambuco state, which was the richest spot of Brazil between the XVI and XVII centuries, and they have a valuable amount of arts, typical foods, and cultural peculiarities to share with you.

Porto de Galinhas is a beach located one hour’s drive from the Recife Maritime Terminal. It’s the most famous beach in the Pernambuco state, and a perfect touristic spot to visit if you have some time to move around.

As you can see, Recife has a lot of different things to do around its neighborhood. To make the best itinerary to enjoy its options, you need, at first, to know how much time you have to spend in the city because it can offer you other options. Also, you need to know if you want to spend more time at the beach or If you want to stay more time visiting museums and trying the local food.

I separated the Recife city Itineraries here for whatever are your wishes and considering all these options. Look down below and enjoy it!

Five hours or less Itineraries

If this is the time you have to spend in the city, It’s better to stay near to its neighborhood, and do not try Porto de Galinhas beach, because you’ll probably don’t have enough time to enjoy it properly. This way, you need to choose places in Recife or Olinda.

Itinerary 1: Marco Zero + Casa de Cultura + Boa Viagem Beach

This is an itinerary for everyone who wants to spend more time at the beach. You’ll also have enough time to visit Marco Zero, the city’s foundation mark, and Casa de Cultura, a place to buy and see unique handicrafts and souvenirs. I have this post here explaining more about these spots.

Marco Zero

Doing this itinerary, you’ll start going to Marco Zero, which is a beautiful spot to take pictures and see some historic buildings. This place is a mark of the city’s foundation, and It’s also close to the Sculptures Park, which has some Arts from Francisco Brennand, a Pernambucano Artist. You can access the park by boat tour, which will cost you around R$10 (US$1.8).

Location: 15 min on foot from where the cruise ship docks, or 3 minutes by car.
Price: For Free / R$10 (US$1.8) if you take the Boat Tour.

Casa de Cultura

This is the second place in the Itinerary. This building was a prison until 1973, although it was closed and the government moved the prisoners to the new jail. Francisco Brennand, a Pernambucan artist, had the idea to turn the place into an art center, and in 1976 he reopened it as the name Casa de Cultura (Cultural House in English).

The place is gorgeous today. It’s the home of a lot of artisanal handicrafts, and it’s the main artisan market of the state. This is a must-go place when visiting Recife, and you can buy the best souvenirs right there.

Advice: I recommend you to go there by bus or by Uber/Taxi because some streets around it are dangerous to walk!

Location: 15 min by car, 20 min by bus, and 32 min on foot. (From the seaport terminal)
Price: Free Entrance / But If you want a souvenir, you must buy it.
Opening hours:

Boa Viagem Beach

Recife has a big and beautiful shore, near the Boa Viagem beach, and it’s an outstanding place for everybody who wants to chill, walk, do some outdoor exercises and drink coconut water. It’s a great spot in the city.

Location: 40 min by bus, and 20 min by car (From the “Casa de Cultura”)
Price: For Free

Advice: Some shark species are living near the coast, and you need to be careful with that. Usually, the coral reef blocks them from reaching the foreshore, however, they may pass through this barrier when it’s high tide. It’s dangerous, and they may attack you! So, stay safe, preferably even out of the water.

Itinerary 2: Recife Antigo Neighborhood + Pernambuco State Museum + Casa de Cultura

If you are a history lover, this is the perfect itinerary for you. You’ll visit 3 different museums and learn about different aspects of Pernambuco’s culture.

Recife Antigo Neighborhood

The Recife Antigo Neighborhood is the same where the cruise ship docks, and it’s a place with some great things to do. The top places to visit there are: “Cais do Sertão” Museum, Marco Zero, Caixa Cultural, Bom Jesus Street, and Paço do Frevo Museum. You’ll need something between 1.5-2.5 hours to enjoy all these attractions, and I’ll show you all of them down below:

Cais do Sertão: This is a Museum about the history of the people from the Pernambuco’s countryside. They have a rich culture with unique art and cuisine. It’s the best place to meet this side of Pernambuco’s culture.

Price: R$10 (US$1.8)
Opening hours:

Marco Zero: as I said before, this is the foundation mark of the city. It’s a perfect place to take pictures, and you can have a boat tour of the Sculptures Park.

Price: For Free

Caixa Cultural: This is a museum owned by the Caixa Economica Bank. It’s an exceptional old building, with superb art galleries and some great artistic presentations. This is a place with modern and antique pieces of art from several Brazilian artists.

Price: For Free
Opening hours:

Bom Jesus Street: The USA magazine Architectural Digest recently selected this street as the most beautiful street in the world. It’s a perfect spot for Instagram photos, and it also houses Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, which is the first synagogue erected in the Americas.

Price: For Free

Paço do Frevo Museum: It’s a beautiful place, which teaches the Frevo’s history. Frevo is a cultural carnival dance of Pernambuco, it’s a colorful and energetic dance characterized by the artists with small umbrellas. This is a great place to visit, great to take pictures, and also super Instagrammable.

Price: R$8 (US$1.4)
Opening hours:

Pernambuco State Museum

This museum is one of the best in the City! It has paintings and sculptures from Brazilian artists like Cicero Dias, Burle Max, and Francisco Brennand, and a dedicated space for religious art. It’s also in an awesome neighborhood, and the gorgeous Jaqueira’s Park is just 10 min from there on foot.

It’s a must-go place for history and art lovers!

Price: R$10 (US$1.8)
Opening hours:

Casa de Cultura

It’s in third place here because you’ll spend less time going through this order. As I said before, this is one of the best places in the state to buy handicrafts and souvenirs.

Price: Free Entrance / But If you want a souvenir, you must buy it.
Opening hours:

Itinerary 3: Olinda

Olinda is a beautiful and outstanding place to visit in Pernambuco. Its colorful streets are amazing to explore and take pictures. If you go there, you’ll have a lot of fun, and can also see some of the best buildings built in the Baroque style in Brazil. So, let’s see the itinerary:

Igreja do Carmo (Church Of Carmo)

This is one of the most beautiful churches to visit and take pictures in Olinda. It’s also close to the Abolition’s park (Parque da Abolição). They are near to the road that you will arrive from Recife and are a brilliant spot to start your tour.

Pick your camera and start your Photoshoot, because you’ll have a lot of pleasant things to photograph in Olinda!

Price: For Free
Location: 15-20 min by car and 30-40 min by bus (From the Recife Maritime Terminal)
Opening hours: Open all week (9 am-5 pm)

Convent of San Francisco (Convento de São Francisco)

This convent was built in 1585, and it looks kinda regular outside. However, if you enter the building, you’ll see an amazing amount of tile panels, mosaics, and paints surrounded by a unique inner decoration. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in Olinda, and it’s worth it to visit there.

Price: R$2 (US$0.4)
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday (from 9am-12:30pm and from 2pm-5:30pm)

Sé Cathedral (Catedral da Sé)

This is the oldest church in Olinda, and it was built in 1540. It has a terrace where you can see a panoramic view of the city, and which is also a great spot to take pictures.

Price: For Free
Opening hours: Open all week (from 8 am-4 pm)

Alto da Sé Viewpoint

You can access this place by a lift. It isn’t for free, but it’s worth it! You’ll have the best view of the city there!

Price: R$8 (US$1.4)
Opening hours: from 8 am-6 pm (Monday to Wednesday), and 8 am-8 pm (Thursday to Sunday)

Craft Market Alto da Sé (Mercado da Sé)

Price: Free Entrance / But If you want a souvenir, you must buy it.
Opening hours: Open all week (9 am-6 pm)

Olinda’s Giant Dolls House (Casa dos bonecos Gigantes de Olinda)

The Giant Dolls are the most iconic things of the Olinda’s carnival. If you want to know about its history and see these amazing Dolls, definitely visit this place when going to Olinda!

Price: R$10 (US$1.8)
Opening hours: Open all week (8 am-6 pm)

Olinda Regional Museum

This museum shows how it was the Pernambuco’s houses in the XVII e XVIII centuries. It has an extensive collection of furniture and tableware from the past centuries, with paintings on the walls, and some rare pieces of sacred art. It’s a superb choice to go if you like vintage places.

Price: R$2 (US$0.4)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday (from 9 am-5 pm), Saturday and Sunday (from 2 pm-5 pm)

Casa do Artesão

This place was created to exhibit and sell the handicrafts of the Artisans from Pernambuco. It’s probably the cheaper place to buy souvenirs of the city because the artisans make their prices and send their art to commercialize right there.

Coincidentally, my aunt is the coordinator of this great place, and her name is Vani Mariss. Tell her you came there by recommendation of her nephew Claudio Pereira, and maybe you can have a discount haha.

Price: Free Entrance / But If you want a souvenir, you must buy it.
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday (from 9 am-5 pm), and Thursday to Sunday (1-10 pm)

Mercado da Ribeira (Ribeira’s Market)

This place was built at the end of the 17th century, and it’s probably the cheapest place to buy souvenirs in the city. You’ll buy directly with the artisans and can find some outstanding pieces of art there.

Price: Free Entrance / But If you want a souvenir, you must buy it.
Opening hours: Open all week (8 am-6 pm)

Here is a video showing some of these great touristic spots in Olinda:

6-9 hours tour

If you have more time to explore the city, I’ll show you 2 main Itinerary options: Porto de Galinhas Beach or Recife and Olinda cities together.

Now, you need to choose if you prefer to enjoy a beautiful beach or to explore Recife and Olinda on the same tour. Choosing the first option, you’ll have a great time in one of the most beautiful beaches of Brazil, Porto de Galinhas, which is 1:15h away from where the cruise ship docks in Recife.

If you rather prefer the second option, you’ll have a great time knowing the best about the history, culture, and architecture of Recife and Olinda, which are the 2 most famous cities of Pernambuco.

Itinerary 1: Porto de Galinhas Beach (Ipojuca)

This beach is the most famous of Pernambuco, because of its beauty and its breathtaking natural seawater pools. These natural pools are super worth it visiting, and you can use a snorkel to swim between the sea fishes. If you have a camera to record underwater, you must use it there!

Your tour will start by calling a taxi or an Uber driver if you are going with 2 or more people. After sharing the costs, it’ll be cheaper and faster than all other options. However, if you’re alone, I would rather recommend you to go with a Tourist tour Van or Bus because it’ll be cheaper.

You can also go there by public transportation, but maybe you won’t return in time to the cruise ship’s departure, because the buses sometimes arrive too late in Recife.

Once you get there, you’ll see that the beachside is a superb place to chill, and you can stay in a Beach chair drinking coconut water and eating local food easily. Not to mention that If you swim in the sea, it’s also safe and has warm water. There are no sharks on this beach, so you need not be afraid of that either.

At Porto de Galinhas, you can eat and buy food with the street vendors on the beach, or either choose a restaurant near the beach. There are tons of restaurants near the beach, and food won’t be a problem for you there if you have enough money.

In the end, you must call an Uber driver again to return. It’s safe to do it at least 1:30 before the cruise ship departure because you don’t want to miss it.

Total Price: Transportation + food
Total Travel Time: 2:30h (By car)

Itinerary 2: Recife + Olinda

Choosing this itinerary, you’ll have enough time to visit the Recife and Olinda main touristic spots. You’ll have the chance to know the best of these beautiful cities!

This itinerary is a mix of the previous ones, so I’ll not detail it too much.

You can visit Marco Zero + Casa de Cultura + Boa Viagem Beach + Olinda, if you still want some time at the beach in your tour, or also to go to the other choice if you prefer to see more history and beautiful places: Recife Antigo Neighborhood + Pernambuco State Museum + Casa de Cultura + Olinda.


Marco Zero + Casa de Cultura + Boa Viagem Beach + Olinda.


Recife Antigo Neighborhood + Pernambuco State Museum + Casa de Cultura + Olinda.



As you can see, Recife is a superb place to have fun, and there are options for all wishes. If you go to Recife Antigo and Olinda, you can learn more about these cities’ history and culture. Otherwise, if you like the beach, you can go to Boa Viagem or Porto e Galinhas, if you have enough time.

That’s all guys! I hope you had enjoyed the text, and I’m here to solve your questions!

I attempted to cover all the important information and places in this post. If you liked it, share with your friends to help us achieve more and more people to share these amazing tips about Recife and Brazil.

If you have another question, just put it down below in the comments section, and I’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

We also have other blog posts about Recife and Brazil down below. Be free to see it and share it!

Claudio Pereira

Claudio Pereira


He is a brazilian writing in english, a student of Medical School, and a Photographer during the free time. His passion for photography started in 2012 , and after discover it, he never stopped.

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