What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Lots of beaches. In normal times, one can fly to Fernando de Noronha very easily from here; it's often considered to have the best beach in the world. Then there's this thing called Carnaval - not sure if you've heard of it... ;) Recife is reputed to have one of the best Carnaval experience in Brazil, along with Rio and Salvador. - Aug 2020
Take your car out and go exploring! There are lots of fun places, just drive up or down the coast. Porto de Galinhas is the famous beach town nearby, but we find it overcrowded and not worth the hype. We prefer other quieter spots like Carneiros and Muro Alto for something nearby. Olinda is close and worth checking out, as is Gravata. Farther out, we've had great times in Natal/Pipa, Fortaleza and the area around it, Fernando de Noronha (and island, so you have to fly), etc. - Jun 2014
The beach in Boa Viagem; Porto de Galinhas, Pipa, Natal, and Joao Pessoa are also nice beach towns within 1-4 hours drive. The island paradise of Fernando de Noronha is a few hours flight from Recife. The colonial city of Olinda is beautiful, and there are a few cities in the interior of Pernambuco that are nice to visit to get out of the city. For everything else: Amazon, Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador - you must fly. - Jan 2011