Olinda

Olinda, a pleasant city of 400,000 people, is considered the artistic and cultural counterpart to its much larger neighbor Recife. Set on a scenic tree-lined hill, it is bursting at the seams with art, music, museums, and beautiful architecture.

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Olinda Mansion
It is one of the best-preserved cities showcasing colonial Brazil
, and you won't want to forget your camera. Unlike nearby Recife, Olinda's nearby historic center has several delightful places to stay, and is much safer. Originally the capital of the state of Pernambuco, it was destroyed by the Dutch in 1631.

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While some of the buildings date from the period of reconstruction, most were built in a later time period. The city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.

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Activities and Attractions
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Head to the Praca do Carmo, dominated by the Igreja NS do Carmo. While its currently closed for renovations, its certainly worth the view outside. Walk down Rua da Sao Francisco towards the Convento de Sao Francisco, which actually contains one cathedral and two chapels.

The Igreja NS das Neves is a noted site for viewing azulejos (Portuguese-style ceramic tiles). If you want a great view overlooking the city, climb up Alto de Sa, where you'll find the Igreja da Se, food and drink vendors, and a delightful little craft market.

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The Museu de Arte Sacra de Pernambuco and the Museu de Arte Contemporanea will delight art lovers, while the Museu do Mamulengo showcases an interesting and peculiar local tradition: the minstrel Mamulengo puppet show, native to the Brazilian Northeast.

If you're interested in learning capoiera, head to Angola Mae. The style is a slower more traditional form, native to Angola. If you're looking for a guided tour, it is best to use guides with green shirts, accredited by the local guide association. They charge R$30 for a two hour tour.

Angola Mae
Rua Ilma Cunha 243
Tel: 9925 1728

Two other events worth mentioning are Olinda's Carnaval, and the Folclore Nordestino festival, in late August.

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Accommodation
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Olinda Cathedral

Remember to book well in advance for Carnaval.

Albergue de Olinda
This superb HI affiliated hostel looks out on the sea, and features a nice kitchen, and even a pool. Dorms start at R$30, while single rooms start at R$55.
Rua do Sol 233
Tel: 3429 1592
www.alberguedeolinda.com.br

Pousada dos Quatro Cantos
This converted colonial home is a great mid-range option. Prices vary depending on the size of the room and a private bath. Expect to pay between R$80 and 130 for a single.
Rua Prudente de Morais 441
Tel: 3429 0220
www.pousada4cantos.com.br

Pousada do Amparo
This delightful and classy hotel occupies two 17-century houses, with charming gardens all around. The friendly English-speaking staff is sure to make you feel at home. Singles start at R$190.
Rua do Amparo 199
Tel: 3439 1749
www.pousadadoamparo.com.br

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Where to Eat
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Estacao Cafe
A great little spot for coffee, sandwiches, and salads. You're sure to enjoy the delightfully painted table-tops.
Rua Prudente de Morais 441
Tel: 3425 7575

Maison do Bonfim
Rua da Bonfim 115
Tel: 3429 1674

Oficina do Sabor
One of the best restaurants in the Brazilian Northeast. Be prepared to take a hit on your wallet, but it's well worth it.
Rua do Amparo 335
Tel: 3429 3331

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Getting There
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You are almost certain to head through nearby Recife if you're coming to Olinda. Recife is well serviced by a major airport, offering flights from nearly all the most important Brazilian cities. From the Recife metro station, get on the 992 Pau Amarelo or 983 Rio Doce bus. From Boa Viagem you can take the 910 Rio Doce/Piedade bus.

A taxi between Recife and Olinda will cost you around R$25.
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