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3 Brasilian Ports - Excursions?


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Hello,

 

in March we will be on a TA and visiting

 

  1. Salvador de Bahia - 2 pm - 8 pm
     
  2. Maceió 1 pm - 7 pm
     
  3. Recife 8 am - 1 pm

 

As we are in these ports only for a few hours I am not sure if we better book exursions through Costa.

 

But on the other hand I have found information about

 

  • Salvador: about 800 meters from the port there is an (Lacerda) elevator up to the old city Pelourinho - so we are thinking of doing this on our own

  • Receife: taking a taxi from the port to Olinda (short distance - 10 minutes drive according to google maps) and stroll to lovely Olinda.

And

  • for Maceió booking a trip to one of the beaches - do Frances or Gunga?

 

Please let me know your thoughts and experiences. Will it be ok to go on our own regarding safety? Our would you recommend other places to visit as these are more interesting?

 

Thank you very much in advance!

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You can indeed visit these cities without a guide or excursion. The only thing you might miss is some historical info on some of the buildings in Pelourinho and Olinda, but you could read a good guide book beforehand.

 

Pelourinho is a bit more than 800 meters from the cruise dock, but easy enough to get to. Turn right onto the Main Street along the water, and follow it, passing in front of the blue Terminal Maritimo small ferry terminal until the harbor and excursion schooners are blocking further progress. Turn left. The yellow building right in front of you is the Mercado Modelo, a good place to buy inexpensive souvenirs. On exiting the front doors of the Mercado Modelo (or passing by the side of it to the front) cross the small plaza with more merchant stalls on it. Directly in front you will see the tower of the Elevador Lacerda. It gets you to the top of the hill, from what is called the lower city to the upper city. You may have to wait in a short line to get on an elevator car; watch your wallet. As you exit the structure on the top, there is a great ice cream stand to try. Then turn left. Take some photos looking out over the bay. There may be a hop-on/hop-offbus there that can take you further around the city, a good option, but maybe only with time after seeing all there is in Pelouringo. Continue walking along the plaza and street until you enter the Praca do Se plaza. Cross it and at the far right corner, you can enter the historic part, with one church on your left and another at the far end of that plaza on the right. There are also many shops and museums. Watch for pickpockets and either ignore or give some small coins to any xhild beggars, as you decide beforehand. Cantina da Lua right there is a decent restaurant if you are hungry by then. You can descend on a shop-lined street to the left, to the Largo do Pelourinho plaza, with the museum of the writer Jorge Amado and the Nossa Senhora Rosario dos Pretos church built by slaves not allowed to attend the others. If you descend by the street next to Cantina da Lua, the Mama Bahia restaurant is good, or the Senac cooking school buffet. Enjoy.

 

For Recife, Olinda is about a 30 minute taxi ride away. Although there are often local guides touting their services at the bottom, I would have he taxi drop you at the top of the very steep hill, and walk down. At the top, there is a great view looking out to Recife, shops selling regional hand-made lace ( and other stuff) and demonstrations of the local traditional dance style called frevo. As you descend the hill, passing the charming houses and historic buildings, keep an eye out for where the famous huge Carnaval dolls are kept (to take photos with them) and for some excellent local art naïf prints of traditional local pastimes like vaquejada ( a kind of rodeo competition where the cowboy flips the cow by its tail) .

The other unique place in Recife is the Olaria do Brennand, a ceramic sculpture studio and exhibition park, quite well worth the visit for its fsntastical creations, but in the opposite direction. And the still rather run down Recife Velho historic part of town with a few remains of an old synagogue.

 

Hope this helps a bit to orient you to the options at these two ports. If you need more, just ask.

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Yes, I'll concur on Salvador de Bahia.

Distance from ship to elevator depends how far along the quay you are berthed, might be more than 800 metres & might be a lot less, but simple & easy.

I think Keith has fouled-up on the cost of the elevator. 20 BRL is about 5 euros, the cost is more like half a euro.

Elevator takes you to the upper town (Pelourinho), which is very easy to walk & plenty of watering holes. Some other parts of the city are regarded as unsafe for tourist, but the tourist police are out in force & will turn back a tourist heading the wrong way.

No need for a guide, but a guide offering a walking tour would give you more of an insight.

 

From Recife, yes, take a taxi about 4 miles to attractive Olinda, about 10 minutes.

Olinda is built on a steep hill so the taxi to the top & walk down, or a taxi to the bottom for the little land-train which starts from near the bus stops & tourist info office. With your short port time, taxi to the top & walk to the bottom is probably the more time-efficient option.

From Olinda, perhaps take the cheap & frequent bus from the tourist info office at the bottom to the Santo Antonio quarter of Recife. Plenty of interest here, including the old prison, its cells now converted to boutique craft shops. About a mile back to your ship, which will probably be berthed along Av. Alfredo Lisboa. An easy if unexciting walk.

But 8am to 1pm isn't generous port time for Recife.

 

Sorry, can't help with Maceio

 

JB :)

Edited by John Bull
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In Salvador, i would do as you plan. Be sure to have local currency with you. It costs

20 Brazilian Real to go up and ten down the elevator to get to the higher level of the city.

 

Keith

 

20 Brazilian real? (=U$10)

Sorry, you are incorrect.

It's 25 centavos (cents) iirc, up from the old price of 5 cents.

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20 Brazilian real? (=U$10)

Sorry, you are incorrect.

It's 25 centavos (cents) iirc, up from the old price of 5 cents.

 

Sorry, my mistake.

 

I used the wrong currency.

 

This is a photo that I took earlier this year that showed the correct price we paid.

 

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zUqI9KOBstE/UUCEn9sFWAI/AAAAAAAAdw8/cUDIjmxwcZk/s1600/P1000597.jpg

 

Keith

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Thank you all! :) Great information.

 

One more question: taxis in Rio de Janeiro are metered. Can I expect that to in Recife? Or do I have to negotiate about the price? Thanks again!

 

To the best of my rather considerable knowledge of the place, taxis all over Brazil are metered. Exceptions are the pre-paid ones at the international airports in Rio and S.P., Many drivers will negotiate a flat fee, but that type of negotiation is best left to locals who have some idea of what the metered fare might be, IMO, and who can speak Portuguese.

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Thank you all! :) Great information.

 

One more question: taxis in Rio de Janeiro are metered. Can I expect that to in Recife? Or do I have to negotiate about the price? Thanks again!

 

Much the same as Rio & other places in South America, we found that those lined-up at the pier will want a fixed price, they will not use their meters. And like in Rio, there was a taxi marshal who did the negotiating in good English, many drivers don't speak English.

So you have the choice of their fixed price (though you can negotiate it, depending on the number of taxis & the numbers wanting a taxi), or walk off & flag down a passing metered taxi.

Hailing a passing taxi in Rio & B.A. we found easy & the metered rates inexpensive, but in Recife the roads anywhere near to the pier are quiet & it is likely to be some considerable time before a taxi happens by.

Time is valuable in ports, especially with your limited port hours, so you'd be best to negotiate the best you can. Sorry, don't recall what we paid - certainly it was more than a metered taxi would be, but not gross. And Olinda is popular with cruisers so you should have no problem sharing.

 

JB :)

Edited by John Bull
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Thank you! Very important information about the taxi marshall! I guess it will be cheaper than booking through Costa - but I will think about that.

 

This year at Colombo port they wanted to charge quite an amount of money to bring us a few miles away and I regretted not having booked through the cruiseline. :rolleyes:

 

Look what I have found about a walking tour in Olinda: http://recifeguide.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/olinda-walking-tour/

Edited by black forest
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Good researching! From the map accompanying the tour info, there seem to be two different walking tours (blue marked route and red), either of which look like they would provide a good introduction to Olinda's sights. The most interesting sight for me, in addition to the stunning view to Recife, were the Carnaval dolls (you can see them on YouTube to get an idea), above any of the churches, so maybe choose the route that includes them.

I happen to like artisan quality crafts and liked having time to poke around the various shops and vendors, so you too might like to leave yourself some time for this, if not during then maybe after one of these tours.

 

And re taxis for the return, I remember seeing some waiting at the bottom of the hill.

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And re taxis for the return, I remember seeing some waiting at the bottom of the hill.

 

Yes, I omitted taxis for the return.

We too saw taxis ranked at the bottom of the hill by the bus stops & tourist info office. But I don't know whether they'd pull the fixed-price trick for tourists.;)

Since we went into Recife town, we automatically took the bus - cheap & easy. If you're returning to the ship that might be difficult by bus, but you can ask at the tourist info office before approaching the taxi rank.

 

Do take your port address written down, or a map showing it, in case the driver doesn't speak English.

 

JB :)

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Thanks, good idea to have the address in written form. We will need that in Rio, too. :rolleyes: Hotel on Copacabana.....

 

Why do I advise folk to do that?

Cos my sign language to a cabbie in B.A. got me to the ferry terminal instead of the cruise terminal. :o

 

Do as I say, not as I do :D

 

JB :)

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