Recife is located on the Northeast Brazil coast. The name Recife means “reef” in Portuguese, in allusion to the coral reefs that are present by the city’s shores. The many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges found in Recife city center characterize its geography and gives it the nickname of “Brazilian Venice.” But the city planning followed Dutch ideas at the time.
Olinda is a historic city in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, located on the country’s northeastern Atlantic Ocean coast, just north of Recife and south of Paulista. It has a population of 397.268 people and is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil. The city’s name can be interpreted as an exclamation regarding the beauty of its setting (“Ó, linda!” is Portuguese for “Oh, beautiful!”). Olinda features a number of major touristic attractions, such as a historic downtown area (World Heritage Site), churches, and the Carnival of Olinda, a popular street party, very similar to traditional Portuguese carnivals, with the addition of African influenced dances. Unlike in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, in Olinda, admission to Carnival is free. All the festivities are celebrated on the streets, and there are no bleachers or roping. There are hundreds of small musical groups (sometimes featuring a single performer) in many genres.