João Pessoa is the capital of Paraíba State and is situated in the North-east of Brazil. João Pessoa is also the eastern most point of the Americas and it is renowned for being the greenest and most beautiful city in Brazil.
Many early risers walk to the “Farol” or lighthouse to take in the sunrise before walking back along the beaches of Cabo Branco, Tambau and Manaira.
Although it is situated close to Brazil’s desert, the ‘sertao’, its coastal location and tropical climate make João Pessoa a vibrant and attractive City; a massive contrast to the arid ‘sertao’. João Pessoa is the 3rd oldest City in Brazil; founded in 1585 has many historic buildings, churches and beautiful baroque structures.
The city is gradually attracting the attention of property investors, particularly from the US and Northern Europe, which means that English is an increasingly common language in the city centre.
The city has the second highest amount of urban green areas per head of population in the world (according to a UN survey conducted in 1992), second only to Paris. There are hundreds of small gardens, areas of natural forest and larger parks. In total there is over 7 square kilometres of forested area in the city. This makes for a forgiving and picturesque urban environment rarely seen in South America or indeed most parts of the world.
João Pessoa has nearly 40km of coastline, much of which is attractive beaches. Along the shoreline of João Pessoa there are many options for leisure. From Cabo Branco to the Poço, passing through Tambau, Manaira, Bessa and Intermares, you will find many beach bars selling fresh fish dishes, coconuts and beer. On one side of the beach road you will find the most modern buildings in the city and on the other coconut trees give a tropical feel.
Local attractions include Sao Francisco Church said to be one of Brazil’s finest examples of Baroque architecture. Located in the historic heart of the city, the church also has a museum attached that contains a large collection of religious artefacts, paintings and sculptures.
There are also large shopping centres such as Manaira shopping (the 2nd largest shipping centre in the north east of Brazil) and Mag Shopping as well as Tambia shopping in the centre of the old town. These are similar to a British or US style of shopping centre, with chain stores, restaurants and cinemas and children’s play areas. Mag shopping also boasts an entertainments hall for concerts, exhibitions and evangelist meetings..
Many of the local squares or “praças” have concerts too as does Praia de Jacare most weekends along with the local Forrock concert hall on the BR230.
In fact João Pessoa is very fortunate to have a very culturally aware Prefeitura which invests heavily in local culture programmes such as art, drama and music. There are several orchestras and national choirs some of which are based at the huge Espaço Cultural in Tambauzinho. It has three theatres, book shops, museums, planetarium as well as some arts and crafts studios and dance classes. The centre hosts many exhibitions and auctions.