Walking through the graffiti-filled streets of Olinda

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
57 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
South America
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 50
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
244th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 70% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing


Olinda might just be one of the most picturesque places in the world.  Set on a tree-covered hill next to the big North East city of Recife, Olinda is full of art workshops, galleries, churches, museums and lots, and lots, a bright graffiti.  You find yourself meandering through this UNESCO World-Heritage listed Old Town’s tree-lined streets just taking endless photos of the bright colours.  It must be truly immense when carnival is here


Top tip – Carneiros Beach.  It was back in 2013 that I visited Olinda, so a lot will have changed and I won’t into a detailed review.  But my top tip is to consider a day trip down to the Carneiros Beach area to the south of the city.  Many people make the 4 hour trip up to Pipa Beach, which is nice and often on the highlights reel for this part of Brazil, but Pipa is far more catered to surfing / kite surfing and partying.  Whereas, for picturesque beaches, Carneiros is beautiful and has the added advantage of having mangrove swamps to check out and various places to coat yourself in the mineral rich mud that is along the shore.  Your hotel can easily arrange for you to get down there and take a boat out.  Combined with Olinda, this makes a double picture-perfect trip


#1 Wandering through the colourful and picture-prefect streets of Olinda, full of artsy places to stop at and have that feeling of getting lost in the Old Town

#2 Exploring some of the bright churches scattered throughout Olinda and often with stunning settings overlooking the water

#3 Finding some similarly pretty churches with equally stunning settings down by Carneiros Beach

#4 Graffiti hunting around Olinda's windy streets

#5 Checking out some of the mangroves next to Carneiros Beach

#6 Stopping off for a coating of mineral right mud

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone