In this post, I’ll be listing 7 beaches in Olinda and include a little info on each one, above each set of photos (2 per beach). As for where each of these beaches is located, I’ll be putting them in order from the first you’d encounter coming from Recife to the last (furthest from Recife).
As a forewarning, Recife and Olinda beaches are known for their shark attacks, so be careful when you decide to enter the water. According to statistics, 59 attacks have occurred in the last 22 years, with more than 20 of them happening in Boa Viagem. While this isn’t a swimming safety blog, I once read that, no matter what beach you’re on in the world, if a strong current starts to pull you out to sea, swim parellel to the beach until it’s possible to swim back to shore. Ok, on to the post!
Praia del Chifre: The Del Chifre beach is the first beach of the Olinda coastline and has a nice look to it and a nice view of Recife. With clean water and good waves, Del Chifre was used a lot for surfing until it was banned in 2006, due to the risk of shark attacks. The beach is urban but semi-deserted.
Milagres: Near a small church named Santa Cruz dos Milagres is the small beach Praia dos Milagres. It’s not indicated for swimming due to strong currents.
Carmo: Privileged for its location, the Praia do Carmo is highlighted for its proximity to the Historic Sites of Olinda. It also has a lot of artificial reefs in order to contain the advance of the sea. The beach has a small but defined patch of sand and there are usually vendors nearby. From here, one can see and easily access a tiny, old Dutch fort known as the Forte do São Francisco aka. do Queijo. Also near the beach, it’s possible to see some of the preserved historical architecture. The João Pessoa Plaza and the Cine Olinda – built during the Ciclo de Recife phase, in the 1930s – make up part of the beach’s adjoining sidewalk.
Farol: The Praia do Farol, also known as the Praia do São Francisco, is basically directly after, and therefore grouped with, the Praia do Carmo (below), and it has this name due to the ‘proximity’ to the Olinda Lighthouse. There’s no sand because of the rocks that form an artificial jetty that stops the advance of the sea. On the ‘beach’ there, you can find fish sellers and choose from fresh seafood, recently come in from the sea. On the coastline, the nightlife (mainly bars) is strong and it’s a nice place due to the views and the waves that break there.
Bairro Novo: Urban, divided into mini beaches, due to the barrier reefs. Sunbathers should take care with the sudden change in depth. It’s the busiest beach in Olinda, frequented by families with small children, couples, and groups of friends…in fact, all the different social groups meet here. On the beach, it’s possible to find coconut water sellers and carts selling sugarcane juice. Residents of the area use the sidewalk for walking and bicycling and, on the sand, beach soccer, footvolley and volleyball. The area that’s most coveted on the weekends is the part that resides near the old barracks (which, if I’m not mistaken, is at the far end in the 2nd photo above). At night, couples enjoy the moonlight on the coastline, looking out towards the ocean. The Bairro Novo beach area also offers B&Bs (‘pousadas’). Bars and restaurants, especially those specializing in seafood, can also be found by tourists. Many of which place their tables facing the sea, though they are frequently sought after.
Casa Caiada: Extending 1.5 km, the Praia de Casa Caiada is considered to be the second most popular coastline of Olinda. Different from the other beaches of the city, it has various patches of sand during low tide. On weekends, informal street vendors are out and about. Golden sand and deep sea with anchored boats. Good for romantic walks. At low tide, there’s almost no waves.
Rio Doce: The last beach in Olinda, Rio Doce is small and residential. The beach has a narrow area of sand and lots of rocks, to keep back the sea’s advance. As an attraction, there’s a rustic church facing the sea, called the Capela de Rio Doce. The water is dark and the sand is good for walks – as long as the tide is low. The beach is frequented by fishermen and residents of the region.