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Petrolina

(3.5/5 based on 2,800+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, nature, religious sites
Originally built as a sister city to neighboring Juazeiro, Petrolina has grown to become Pernambuco’s largest municipality. It owes nearly all of its growth to the Sobradinho Dam, the construction of which was intrinsic to the past, present, and future of the city. The mammoth construction spurred Petrolina’s creation, and irrigated farming enables this dry region to produce a huge chunk of Brazil’s fruit exports. You can sample much of the region’s produce in the lively restaurants that populate the Bododromo neighborhood. Locals recommend sampling the goat, a specialty of northeastern Brazil, with beans, cassava, and salad. Take stress off the schedule by using our Brazil vacation trip planner.
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Where to stay

Much of Petrolina’s activity centers around the snaking Sao Francisco River, and the majority of the city’s hotels can be found here. These vary in quality but offer easy access to restaurants, bars, and stores as well as the city of Juazeiro, which sits just across the bridge. Those who want to enjoy the youthful buzz and affordable eateries that the University provides should look for accommodations near or on Dom Malan Square. Smaller guesthouses and bed and breakfasts tend to be less expensive but are generally tucked away in residential areas.
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