ISLAND OF ITAMARACÁ
The Island of Itamaracá (Ilha de Itamaracá) is a tropical island in the state of Pernambuco in NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of about 26 square miles, and is located an hour’s drive from Recife International Airport, with a long road bridge connecting it to the mainland.
Most of the island comprises protected forests, but on the ocean side are miles of long white sandy beaches, fronted mainly by palm trees and the weekend holiday homes of the elite and wealthy of Recife. There is a reef 2 miles off shore, which protects the island and keeps the inshore waters shallow, safe and warm.
The number of residents are estimated in 2023 to be some 25,000, up on the 2007 figure of 16,000 – reflecting the increasing popularity of the island as a residential (rather than purely touristic) destination. The main activities of the population (non-retired) are fishing, agriculture, construction, and, increasingly, tourism - no industry is allowed on the island.
Being a small city in its own right, Itamaracá has a hospital, police and ambulance stations, bank, post office, pharmacies, hotels, numerous stores and supermarkets, and dozens of bars and restaurants. Building regulations since 1995 have limited the number of floors in buildings to 2, resulting in a complete absence of modern high-rise apartment complexes.
Year round temperatures typically vary in a narrow range of 26-31C (79-88F), with the rainy winter season (some heavy rains, not monsoon) in May to July. Occasional lows of 22C can occur in the winter, and it rarely exceeds 32C in summer. Being one hour’s flight south of the equator, the sun index is high, but there are virtually constant, cooling breezes from the ocean.
Typically, Brazilians, and especially NE Brazilians, are extremely hospitable, friendly and non-confrontational – although their driving skills at times may be a little questionable! There is no racism or terrorism, and most Brazilian family histories contain a mix of European, African and indigenous Indian hereditary. The island is no different from this.
The cost of living on Itamaracá is significantly lower than in the western world – probably about 35-40% lower. As a rough guide, a ‘quiet’ couple could live here on R$4500 per month (about $800, £640, €715), or R$6500+ per month (about $1330, £1065, €1190), if wanting to eat out regularly, host parties, etc.
It is important to recognise the existence of 2 prisons on the island, although they are due to close soon. As with all prisons everywhere in the world, crimes are committed inside, and these contribute to the island’s crime figures - creating distorted statistics due to the low population level on rest of the island.
Please visit the Gallery page to view a selection of images of the island, and there are drone videos in Homes for Sale such as this one: