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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Dec 2, 2013

Recife

The sights and sounds of Recife.

SnapshotRecife is a city not short on local pride. Whether it is in the form of Carnaval, which draws 2 million people onto the streets, or Santa Cruz, the team that has crowds of 60,000 while playing in the lower divisions, Recife is a city by the people, for the people. There likely will be no friendlier welcome for tourists in Brazil during the tournament, while the tropical beaches that surround the city will attract many visitors. Yet this is the nordeste (northeast), the culturally richest but financially poorest part of Brazil, and the huge disparity between rich and poor means crime can be an issue. That said, supporters sticking to well-policed central and tourist areas should be safe enough.

Getting there: The Arena Pernambuco is located in Sao Lourenco da Mata in Recife's metropolitan zone, about 12.5 miles from the centre of the city. You'll have to take the subway from the city to the Cosme e Damiao station, then hop on one of the buses departing right from the outside of the station. The whole trip, if leaving from Recife's centre, will take you at least one hour. The ground's official website offers a "getting there" tool.

Where/what to eat: Very similar to the rest of the north/northeast of the country, seafood dishes are Recife's specialty. You should pay a visit to what the locals say is Brazil's oldest restaurant Leite (Joaquim Nabuco, 147), as it's a charming and traditional, though not cheap, place that serves first-rate food to the backdrop of a piano being played.

Camarada Camarao (Baltazar Pereira 130) is a less formal but also entertaining venue for great seafood in the neighbourhood of Boa Viagem. Entre amigos o Bode (Marques de Valenca, 30-50) would work well if you want to try some of the local meat dishes, heavily influenced by the countryside of the state. If you like your fish a little fresher, the Taberna Japonesa Quina do Futuro (R. Xavier Marques 134) offers great sushi.

A local dish of rice, shrimp and fejoada (red beans).
A local dish of rice, shrimp and fejoada (red beans).

Where/what to drink: As is popular in this part of the country, caipirinhas made with local fruits are a favourite.

The Boa Viagem region offers a decent range of bars, such as Boteco (Boa Viagem 1600) and Guaiamum Gigante (Rua Artur Muniz 82). You can rely on both to be well-stocked with cold beer and great petiscos (appetizers). In the Pina region, the Mexican Boratcho (Av. Herculano Bandeira 513) provides food and entertainment as the nights wear on. We'd also be remiss not to mention the UK Pub (Francisco da Cunha 165), an excellent meeting point for tourists to drink stronger beers and listen to local music mixed with rock.

Where to stay: The Avenida Boa Viagem is the unofficial centre of the city, replete with hotels, restaurants and shopping. Nearby, Afogados also has good hotel options -- cheaper in most cases.

Area trivia: There is a barbershop run by local legend Mauro Shampoo -- former pro footballer turned self-taught hairdresser -- whose salon, tucked away behind a strip mall, is a shrine to Recife futebol. Roger Bennett covers this topic in excellent detail here.

Sightseeing: Recife is optimistically nicknamed "The Venice of the northeast" due to a couple of channels that cross the city.

But other than the inviting beaches, the real interest is in beautiful Olinda, a neighbouring city with plenty of colonial buildings, some of them recently renovated, and a handful of nice bars at night. Olinda's nightlife is slower-paced than that in central Recife, which is by no means a criticism, while it is considered relatively safe.

Arena Pernambuco is to be opened: 2014

Matches to be played at Arena Pernambuco: Ivory Coast vs. Japan (June 14), Italy vs. Costa Rica (June 20), Croatia vs. Mexico (June 23), USA vs. Germany (June 26). The stadium will also host one last-16 tie. 

Capacity: 44,248

Cost: About 500 million reals ($230 million; £145 million pounds)

Stadium history: While the stadium has been purpose-built for the tournament, the city of Recife already has hosted a World Cup match, in 1950, and a memorable one at that. Chile were the 5-2 victors over the United States at the Estadio Ilha do Retiro.

Stadium trivia: Recife's three clubs -- Nautico, Santa Cruz and Sport -- have passionate fan bases, and hopes are the building of a new stadium in the region will help boost the city's economic development. Among the modern venue's facilities is the use of solar power that will help to fuel the local area when the stadium is not in use.

The Arena Pernambuco also hosts the matches of Brazilian club Nautico.
The Arena Pernambuco also hosts the matches of Brazilian club Nautico.

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