Wreck divers will be in heaven; at least 15 wrecks are diveable and within easy reach. For excursions contact Projeto Mar, Rua Bernardino Pessoa 410, Boa Viagem (tel. 081/3326-0162; www.projetomar.com.br). Two dives including all the gear cost R$130; a nondiving companion pays R$30.

Stay Alert for Sharks

BATHERS IN THIS AREA ARE AT A GREATER RISK OF SHARK ATTACK reads a sign on Boa Viagem beach. But greater than what, exactly? Those who don't go in the water? The first recorded shark attack occurred on Boa Viagem beach 14 years ago. Since then there have been numerous others, some of them fatal. Locals say the new port built just south of Recife forced the sharks out of their usual habitat and moved them up the coast. Attacks have decreased lately due to more public awareness, but caution is still required on Pina, Boa Viagem, and Piedade beaches. Follow the directions of lifeguards and don't go beyond the reefs.

Olinda lies atop a hill, 7km (4 1/4 miles) north of downtown. Regular buses make the trip in about 30 minutes. You'll arrive at the Pra├ža do Carmo bus station at the foot of Olinda. From there it's all uphill. The town is small enough that directions aren't really necessary. Keep strolling and you'll see everything.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.