Excursions from João Pessoa

Excursions from João Pessoa
About 14 km south of the centre, down the coast, is the Cabo Branco lighthouse at Ponta do Seixas, the most easterly point of continental Brazil and South America (34° 46’ 36” W) and thus the first place in the Americas where the sun rises; there is a panoramic view from the clifftop.
Cabo Branco is much better for swimming than Tambaú. Take bus No 507 ‘Cabo Branco’ from outside the rodoviária to the end of the line and hike up to the lighthouse from there. At low tide you can walk from Tambaú to Ponta do Seixas in about two hours.

The port of Cabedelo, on a peninsula between the Rio Paraíba and the Atlantic Ocean, is 18 km north by road or rail. Here, Km 0 marks the beginning of the Trans- amazônica highway. At the tip of the peninsula are the impressive but run-down walls of the 17th-century fortress of Santa Catarina, in the middle of the commercial port. The Mercado de Artesanato is at Praça Getúlio Vergas in the centre.

The estuary of the Rio Paraíba has several islands; there is a regular boat service between Cabedelo and the fishing villages of Costinha and Forte Velho on the north bank; Costinha had a whaling station until the early 1980s.

The beaches between João Pessoa and Cabedelo have many bars and restaurants and are very popular with the locals on summer weekends (Bar do Sumé, Rua Beira Mar 171, Praia Ponta do Mato, Cabedelo, has good fish and seafood). Take a bus marked Cabedelo- Poço for the beach as most Cabedelo buses go inland along the Transamazônica. A taxi from Tambaú to Cabedelo costs US$24.

At Km 3 of the Transamazônica, about 12 km from João Pessoa, is the access to Jacaré, a pleasant beach on the Rio Paraíba (take the ‘Cabedelo’ bus and walk 1.5 km or take the train and walk 1 km, taxi from Tambaú US$10). There are several bars along the riverfront where people congregate to watch the lovely sunset to the sounds of Ravel’s Bolero. Here you can hire a boat along the river to visit the mangroves or ride in an ultralight aircraft.

From Tambaú tour boats leave for Picãozinho, a group of coral reefs about 700 m from the coast which at low tide turn into pools of crystalline water, suitable for snorkelling (US$20 per person). Further north, boats leave from Praia de Camboinha to Areia Vermelha, a large sandbank surrounded by corals. This becomes exposed at low tide, around the full and new moon, and is a popular bathing spot (US$20 per person tour, US$5 per person transport in a jangada). Floating bars are set up at both locations, travel agencies arrange trips
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