Porto de Galinhas, Brazil’s Best Kept Secret

Barely 60 kilometers from Recife, the federal capital of Pernambuco, lies Porto de Galinhas. Despite its proximity to the international airport, the town seems far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. Miles of beaches nestle along the coconut tree filled coastline.

The beaches of Porto de Galinhas are one of those destinations that make you feel like you’re in a Caribbean movie: crystal-clear blue waves break against white sand. The area is most famous for its waters, where you can relax at an average temperature of 28 degrees.

Porto de Galinhas

Colorful fish gather in the natural pools at low tide. While Porto de Galinhas is no longer the quiet and idyllic fishing village it once was, off-peak days can still be spent here enjoying wonderful beach days in beautiful natural surroundings.

What To Do in Porto de Galinhas

Due to its versatile location between reefs under environmental protection, beaches and extensive landscape, Porto de Galinhas is also suitable for any sporting activity. Especially divers will find themselves in an El Dorado, because the excellent water quality allows them to explore underwater life. For example, in the Galeao area (descent up to 35 meters) you can see a shipwreck from the 1700s, and in the Trinta area (30 meters) one can see sharks and giant turtles. Those who want to surf, sail or hike are also in the right place. Trekking further inland, you can discover the region’s past as a sugar exporting hub, a historic church or the view from the Mirante do Outeiro lookout point.

Best Beach in Brazil

Since this is a very well developed vacation area, the traveler has the choice between a variety of hotels, apartments and resorts. The latter offer many activities, especially for children, in addition to animation and an internal pool, also during the day (e.g. Enotel Resort, Nannai Beach Resort, Summerville Beach Resort). In the bars and restaurants of the city, especially lovers of fish and seafood are in good hands. Local specialties such as the famous Queijo Coalho cheese or the different types of sugar, which helped the region to boom in the past, should definitely be tasted.


If you want to enjoy South American life to the fullest at night, head to the city center after dark. In addition to the bars, which are often open daily until after midnight, there are clubs for night owls. In the Chicken Club (named after Galinhas – chickens) or the Downtown Porto disco, you can dance until dawn. On the other hand, if you like shopping, you should keep a day free for a visit to the federal capital Recife, with its dozens of shopping possibilities.

Porto de Galinhas and Chicken

Many visitors ask themselves: Why are there so many chickens in Porto de Galinhas? And indeed, at every turn you will notice the colorful chickens that seem to be on every street corner in Porto de Galinhas. The Portuguese word galinhas means chickens, that much is clear. But what else is it all about? For that, you have to delve a bit into Brazil’s slave history.

Although the importation of slaves was officially banned in Brazil as early as the mid-19th century, Africans continued to be brought into the country illegally in many ports. They were hidden under chicken cages, the cargo officially called Galinhas d’Angola (Angolan chickens). The arrival of a new slave ship quickly spread by code: “There are new chickens in the port” (tem galinha nova no porto).

Today, in Porto de Galinhas, chicken mascots smile at you on every corner, sometimes they are very artistically made of colorfully painted wood, sometimes they are rather cheap works of plastic especially made for tourists. The fact that the chicken has taken on a life of its own as the comic-like heraldic bird of the municipality may somehow be understandable. But the roots of the name and symbol of the town should not be forgotten.

Scroll to Top