With so many things to do in João Pessoa, its little wonder that a journey to the beach can be the simplest option. We have put together a few alternatives to the beach and some times to help you plan your day. It would also help you to look at our comprehensive “WHATS ON” to ensure you dont miss a good show etc.
For an in depth review of the beaches see our beaches guide.
4 hours (morning)
Take a tour of the main tourist points and principle beaches such as Manaira, Tambau, Cabo Branco, Ponta do Seixas, Parque Salon de Lucena (Largoa left), The Square of the three powers, St Bento Monastery and Nossa Senhora do Carmo. You could finish off the morning at the Artesanato Market in Tambau. You may want to lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area before returning to the market for an hour or two.
4 hours (afternoon)
After the market, move on to the Parque Arruda Camara or Zoo. Stay there until 4.30 then finish the afternoon at the old Hotel Globo in the old town watching the sunset from the balconies. (Monkey Island at the Zoo left)
4 hours (Preferably afternoon) Have lunch and people watch at the Cassino da Lagoa overlooking the centre piece Lagoa lake. Walk around the western end of the lake and then on upto the old town. Take in the the old town streets up to Praça Dom Adauto (Praça do Bispo) where there are many fine old buildings to distract you. Walk straight on to the beautiful Centro Cultural de Sao Francisco, C.1585 (allow 1.5 hours) Reflect on the day while taking in the fantastic view through the chapel windows. LEaving the church take the first right and walk down the Ladeira de Sao Francisco or the oldest street in João Pessoa which takes you to Casa da Polvora where there may be an exhibition. From ther eits just a short walk up to the Basilica, down the main street with its period buildings, turn right at the lights and walk down to Praça Pedro Americo surrounded by enormous period buildings such as the old post office (now a council building) and Theatre (Poice Central Command. Tucked in one corner is the Teatro Santa Rosa, C.1873. If its open, go in and gape. Later, go down the alley behind the theate and cross the road. It will take you up to Hotel Globo, Porto do Capim and Praça Antenor Navarro (from the postcards) Sunset is best seen from the balustrades behind Hotel O Globo which is open till 6.00pm Tis a sight you will never forget.
The tour takes in all the beaches from Tambau up to the port city of Cabadelo. There are stops along the way to view historical monuments and have lunch at one of the seaside restaurants. After lunch, you could call into the Santa Catarina fort (left), which includes a maritime museum and many fine specimens of cannon. Take the ferry across to Lucena to visit the “Nossa Senhora da Guia Church”. This church was first built in 1591. As it is high on a hill, it used to be a fortress. The Portuguese built it so they could observe the coast and watch out for possible invasions coming from the sea. The style of the church is called “Tropical inspiration Barroc”. It was built in limestone. Then, in the middle of the eighteenth century, was finally finished. It is located on Lucena Beach, about 30km from João Pessoa. Take the ferry back to Cabadelo and call in to Praia de Jacare to enjoy one of the most famous sunsets in the world played to the music of Ravel, whilst having your dinner.
This route takes in some of the finest beaches in Brasil including the north east’s first naturism beach. Beaches to visit include Gramame, Tabatinga, Jacuma, Coqueirinho and Tambaba. You could have lunch at the famous Canyon de Coqueirinho (right) to complete the day.
You will need to consult the hotel tide chart or speak to the beach representatives before visiting this natural wonder. When the tide goes out it reveals a sand and coral reef bar, which is visited by tens of thousands of tourists every year. You could drive straight to Camboinha beach, north of Intermares, and then take a boat out to the island. The more adventurous could walk out to the sand bank or swim. There you can enjoy a meal and a drink courtesy of the bar and restaurant boats. There are natural pools where you can swim with the fish. (Areia Vermelha left)
If you are just going for the sunset then get there for 4.30pm, drive right to the end of the main car park and walk across to the theatre area. You can watch the sunset, look at the artesanarto stalls, enjoy a drink and relax.
There are specialist operators to take people there but a full day must be allowed. The area is protected by FUNAI and you must first go to the village of Galego where you will be introduced to native dancing (right). In the village of Tramataia you will indulge in native cuisine before returning to João Pessoa through the town of Mamanguape. It was here that Dom Pedro 1 stayed for a short time and you can ask to be shown where he stayed giving you the opportunity to authentically draw breath and wonder why he ever went there.
3 to 4 hours.
If you plan your visit well, you can visit this coral and natural pool marvel and then get a discount on your visit to Areia Vermelha. All is dependent on the tide charts.You will be able to feed the tropical fish, swim with them and even have your photo taken with them. The better boats provide food and drink. Masks are provided for a small fee.
This tour is operated by several tour groups. Essentially, you drive up to Cabadelo to take the ferry across to Lucena. Visit the church as mentioned in the litoral north trip and then continue on through rivers, villages and plantations until you reach the ruins of Bom Sucesso church. It is from this point that you leave the estuary to visit the feeding grounds of the peixe-boi. Ignore the rumour that the locals kill the great beasts for food. They use dynamite to kill the fish and sometimes the peixe -boi (left) get killed too.
Visit the stones of Inga, Itacoatiares with its huge stones of undecipherable hieroglyphics. You can while a way the time trying to guess what everything means or just clamber through the river rock system. Be careful, as the river has just been through the small city up stream. There are several towns nearby where you can visit the Museum of cachaça and Teatro Minerva. After lunch, preferably in one of the small towns, you could spend the afternoon in Campina Grande, home of the biggest St John festival (left) in the world.
Off in the direction of Pirpirituba you will find the legendary Engenho Retiro where some of the best cachaça is to be found along with rapadura from sugar cane. A leisurely walk into the bananal to the cachoeira do Roncador (right) where you can put your feet up and paddle for a while before trekking further into the Serra de Araruna and then the Parque Estadual de Pedra da Boca. Here you can spend many hours going on trails and exploring caves.
More than just an area of giant rock formations, Lajedo located 20kms outside of Cabaceiras is an area full of mysticism. The home of a hermit who spent all his days treating the locals with herbal remedies (and lived under the stone pictured on the right), it is now visited by tens of thousands of people every year. Completely unspoilt, you can stay in a simple farm hotel and be taken on guided tours of canyons and spectacular rock formations. Some caves still have prehistoric cave paintings. Many of the guides speak English too. The sunset is even more wonderful than that experienced in João Pessoa. During the day, you can also visit Cabaceiras with its film museum and local history museum. There is a local craft market too where you can buy things like leather goods and see them being made. Leave Friday afternoon and return to João Pessoa