State of Paraiba Holiday Planning Guide
Mostly agricultural, State of Paraiba remains largely undiscovered by foreign visitors despite its short but well-developed coastline and intriguing interior of cattle ranches and archaeological sites. Most State of Paraiba itineraries include a visit to Ponta do Seixas, the easternmost point of the continent that's geographically closer to Africa than south Brazil. In addition to lazing away on one of many sun-kissed beaches, a State of Paraiba vacation usually involves sightseeing in state capital Joao Pessoa, one of the oldest cities in Brazil known for its modern skyline and several clusters of restored colonial architecture.
Places to Visit in State of Paraiba
Destinations in State of ParaibaConde
: Welcoming large numbers of domestic and foreign visitors, this coastal resort town offers expansive sandy beaches and clear, warm waters populated by colorful marine life.Joao Pessoa
: Known for its exceptional integration with nature, "the city where the sun rises first" features many parks, a low-rise beachfront, and even an Atlantic rainforest reserve within its boundaries.Campina Grande
: Impressive libraries, museums, theaters, and two 19th-century churches in this vibrant metropolis invite colonial history buffs to soak up some culture on their State of Paraiba vacation.Bayeux
: This slice of Europe named after the first French city liberated after the Battle of Normandy will surprise you with its cobbled streets and marble squares.Cabedelo
: Situated at the extreme eastern point of the continent, this town with an old Portuguese fort makes a great entry point for your State of Paraiba tours.Pitimbu
: Known in the past as "The French Port," this town attracts tourists with its paradisiacal beaches, thriving art scene, and electrifying nightlife.
Popular State of Paraiba Tourist AttractionsJacare Beach
: Overlooking the Paraiba River, this beach attracts many but not too many tourists with its bar/ restaurants and clean and comfortable amenities.Camboinha Beach
: Shaded by tall palm trees and lapped by turquoise waters, this white-sand beach serves as a picturesque escape from the hectic capital--you can safely swim there, protected from strong currents by the reefs.Bessa Beach
: This wide and long beach is crowded on the weekends but relaxed and less lively on the weekdays.Cultural Center Sao Francisco
: Located within one of the most remarkable examples of Brazilian Baroque architecture, the museums, art galleries, and event spaces of this institution will add the right amount of culture to your State of Paraiba itinerary.Ponta do Seixas Beach
: Located at the easternmost point of the Americas, this sandy beach provides views of towering cliffs topped with a lighthouse.Red Sand Marine State Park
: This reddish sandbar, forming only when the tide is low, allows you to relax in the middle of the sea while watching fish swimming under your feet.Tabatinga Beach
: The paradise-like setting and the short waves of this beach draw intermediate bodyboarders, while the clean water and remarkable reef remain magnets for snorkelers.Intermares Beach
: Boasting dazzling white sand and groves of coconut trees, this beach attracts surfers and nature enthusiasts who wish to see the hatching of hawksbill turtle eggs during their State of Paraiba trip.Acude Velho
: Part of the historical heritage of the city of Campina Grande, this popular lake is flanked by two monuments--one representing the Pioneers of Borborema, and the other two popular Brazilian musicians.Santa Catarina Fort
: This small colonial fort--the site of many fierce battles--offers a commanding view of the surrounding environment from its walls, which have been partially destroyed and rebuilt several times.
Planning a State of Paraiba Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in State of Paraiba with Kids
You will probably be tempted to spend most of your family holiday in State of Paraiba on the capital's fine beaches. Keep in mind, though, that Joao Pessoa
has much more to offer than sunbathing and nibbling on seafood delicacies while your kids build sandcastles and paddle in warm waters.
Considered one of the oldest cities in Brazil, the capital proudly displays its rich cultural heritage and colonial remains. Its museums, cultural centers, parks, zoos, and botanical gardens wait to be explored by the little ones and their parents eager to learn about Paraiba nature, history, and art.
The second largest city in the state, Campina Grande
provides a different experience. Located in the interior, it allows you to explore Paraiba's lovely countryside. The best time to visit this vibrant metropolis brimming with cultural activities is in June, during Sao Joao Festival.
Things to Do in State of Paraiba with Kids
A shallow natural pool off the coast of Tambau Beach
is a great place to show your children a colorful marine world and stunning coral reefs.
For surfing lessons, take them to Intermares Beach
, where they can also watch sea turtles hatching.
At Jacare Beach
, you can feed them delicious seafood while listening to the sounds of live forro music.
With its diversity of wildlife, including monkeys, lions, alligator, snakes, and birds, Parque Zoobotanico Arruda Camara
is perfect for kids of all ages.
Another beautiful garden with trails winding through orchid groves and other exotic plants your children will enjoy is Benjamim Maranhao Garden
To add a bit of culture to your State of Paraiba itinerary, head to Estacao Cabo Branco
, Joao Pessoa's cultural center designed by Oscar Niemeyer, renowned Brazilian architect.
Tips for a Family Vacation in State of Paraiba
You'll find fewer foreign travelers in this part of the country than in other, more tourist-oriented areas--this makes the state almost ideal for a family vacation.
Expect to be approached by Brazilian kids eager to practice their English. You and your children can use this opportunity to learn some Portuguese phrases and expressions--remember, cultural exchange works both ways.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in State of Paraiba
Cuisine of State of Paraiba
You're bound to eat healthy on your State of Paraiba vacation--the region is a huge producer of organic foods. Paraiba main agricultural products and staple foods include corn, beans, beef, seafood, and pineapples.
You can enjoy Paraiba cuisine in waterfront restaurants and in beach huts--perfect for grabbing a snack without going too far from the water.
Start with appetizers like "agulhinha frita" (small needlefish that's often breaded and fried) and then move on to some shrimp dishes.
Don't miss an opportunity to taste the area's famous crab stew, prepared with coconut milk at the restaurants on Camboinha Beach
Shopping in State of Paraiba
Although agriculture dominates Paraiba economy, this Brazilian state is also widely known for the production of quality, low-priced shoes and other leather goods. You won't regret purchasing a locally designed pair of footwear or a leather accessory that will always remind you of your State of Paraiba vacation.Craft Market Paraibano
is a good place to browse for souvenirs and gifts, such as embroidery, lace, pottery, rugs, wooden artworks, and Renaissance-style tablecloths.
Other places where you can buy arts and crafts directly from local artists include Feirinha de Artesanato de Tambau
and Vila do Artesao
, where you can buy small barrels made from amburana wood and designed to store "cachaca" (local liquor made from sugarcane juice).
Visitors with deeper pockets should consider buying Paraiba tourmaline at its place of origin. This brightly colored gemstone (unusually blue or green) with a neon glow is one of the most sought-after jewels in the world.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to State of Paraiba
Interesting Facts About State of Paraiba
The state includes the easternmost point of the Americas, Ponta do Seixas Beach
, geographically closer to Africa than south Brazil
Portuguese settlers, who came to Paraiba in the mid-16th century, had to fight for these lands not only with Native Americans but also with French and Dutch colonizers
The third oldest Brazilian city, Joao Pessoa
is considered one of the greenest cities in South America and the world (second only to Paris, according to many admirers and experts)
The state's two-color flag commemorates Joao Pessoa, the state president who was assassinated during the 1920s protests against the Brazilian president Julio Prestes--the red stands for blood and the black for mourning
Holidays & Festivals in State of Paraiba
In addition to the Carnival (usually in February), when Brazilians all over the country party on the streets, the people of Paraiba observe Festa Junina, one of the oldest and most popular fiestas of the year that takes place in Campina Grande
Portuguese settlers originated this festival, which was actually celebrated as an amalgam of Catholic St. John the Baptist's Day and medieval Midsummer Day on June 24.
In Brazil, the celebrations take place during the winter solstice and last for two weeks--from June 12 (St. Anthony's Day) to June 29 (Saint Peter's Day).
Just like the Carnival, these celebrations involve costumed parades, folk dancing, fireworks, bonfires, and some heavy drinking. Participants dressed in peasant costumes joke and joyfully mimic peasant cliches.
Useful State of Paraiba Travel Tips
Climate of State of Paraiba
Overall, the state enjoys a tropical climate, with more precipitation in the coastal areas than in the interior of the region.
While the coastal towns and cities affected by monsoon winds receive plenty of rainfall regardless of the season, destinations in the interior have a tropical savanna climate with rainy summers (December to March) and dry winters (June to September).
Average daily temperatures in Campina Grande range from 22 C (72 F) in the winter, to 25 C (77 F) from February to May.
Joao Pessoa's mean annual temperature is 25 C (77 F).
Unless you enjoy hanging on the beach while it rains, March is the best time to plan your State of Paraiba vacation.
Transportation in State of Paraiba
The easiest and quickest way to get to State of Paraiba is by plane. The state capital and Campina Grande both have international airports.
If you decide to make Joao Pessoa the base of your State of Paraiba tours, you will have the benefit of the city's extensive train system that connects the coast (Cabedelo
) to the interior (Santa Rita
Buses are a dependable and inexpensive mode of transportation around and between cities.
Taxis run on meters, except the ones driving to and from the airport, which have a fixed rate (can be negotiated).