Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco in Northeast Brazil, is also the Portuguese word for reef, and refers to the long stone reef running parallel to its shoreline. The many rivers, small islands, waterways and 50-plus bridges found in the city center characterize its geography and give Recife its nickname--the "Brazilian Venice”. Recife is also a major cultural hub--Here you will find the Synagogue Kahal Zur, the oldest synagogue in the Americas, built in 1636 during the Dutch occupation, as well as many opulent churches from the Portuguese colonial period. Maracatu, a performance of Afro-Brazilian origin, emerged from Recife and Olinda. Located just a couple of miles away, Olinda is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil. Like Recife, Olinda features a number of major attractions, such as an historic downtown area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just one hour from Recife you’ll find Porto de Galinhas, awarded the best beach in Brazil for over a decade. So whether you like the sun and beach, or history and culture, Recife and Olinda are your perfect destinations.