1 - History

The municipal district started to develop and expanded from the Main Church of São José, located in the most charming plazza of an area known as Costa Dourada (Southern Pernambuco and Northern Alagoas coastland), to where many young and adults go everynight, especially on the weekends.
It has been raised up from a simple settlement to a district of Barreiros in 1901. On December of 1938 the town started to be called Puirassu, which means “big crown” in Tupi, the native language of the Caetés Indians, first inhabitants of the place.
Its name went back to São José da Coroa Grande on December of 1958 when the town became autonomous; but because of judicial doubts about the foundation of the city, it’s emancipation date is April 11 th, 1962.
The denomination of São José da Coroa Grande is closelly related to the sand banks between the seashore and the coral reefs known as Coroas (crowns) because of their round shape that shows up during low tide, originating natural clear water swimming pools.
Historical sources register that the Caetés Indians were the first inhabitant of the territory, followed by the Dutch during the 17 th century and the Jesuits, who had the misson to colonizate the native population.
Near the Una’s estuary, the geographical location improved the development of the place during the second half of the 19 th Century and the first half of the 20 th Century. During this period the region was a passageway for the production from the sugar mills established along the Una’s water basin, especially the Rio Una and Central Barreiros Sugar Factories that used barges and railroads until over half of the 20 th Century.
In the early 20 th Century, the famlies of José Canuto Santiago Ramos, João Ramos Rocha and Constantino Gomes Ferreia detained a big portion of the city’s terrytory, while the rest of the land was owened by the Central Barreiros Sugar Factory’s oweners .

2 - Location

The municipal district is located on the Meridional Atlantic Forest Zone (humid thicket), 123km away from Recife and 13km away from Barreiros, the next city. To the South there is the Persinunga River delimitating the territory as well and being a frontier between Pernambuco and Alagoas State; to the North there is the Una River separating the municipal district from the next city, Barreiros; to the west there is also Barreiros and to the east there is the Atlantic Ocean.
The Gerographic Coordinates for the Constantino Gomes Ferreira Plazza, where the Main Church and the City Hall are located, are 08 o 53’52’’S and 035 o 08’52’’W.
The access way to the city is through the PE-060 to Saint Agostinho Cape and then through the BR-101 to Recife. Going towards Alagoas State, after crossing the frontier, the highway PE-060 becames AL-101.

3 – Area and Population  

The municipal district territory consists in a 75 km 2 area, corresponding to 0,07% of the territory of Pernambuco State. In 2000 there were 13.971 inhabitants, being 6.934 of those men and 7.037 women. Meanwhile 9.516 inhabitants lived in urban areas, and 4.455 lived in rural areas. There were also 11.227 ellectors and 3.061 houses.

4 – Villages

The access to the villages is either through sandy ways, among sugar cain and coconut plantations, or through the Rio Una waterways going towards its estuary. In both cases the landscapes are marvelous and the trip is a little uncommon.
For most people in the villages the ambition, power or money are not the most important things in life; the tide tabletime becomes the “wacth”; they ride bikes or walk to get to places; pride and stress gives place to calmness and simplicity. It is a place where most people have blood connection or know each other well and spend their nights talking on the sidewalks or watching TV on the city squares.
Some houses still preserve the primitive construction habits that use clay, straw, and also a red wood from the mangroves used as part of the structure, for surrounding protection and for bedframes.
The main economic activities for most men and women in the villages are fishing, working on sugar cain or coconut farms, boat contruction and repairs, small commerce and public works for the city government. Some people also work in the surrounding cities for bigger stores, market and doing housework.

Várzea do Una District

Located on the right side of the Una’s estuary, the geographic coordinates for the village are 08 o50’46’’S and 035 o08’31’’W. Inhabited by around 3.000 people, the village is 8km away from the city’s headqaurters.

Abreu do Una Village

Located on the right side of the Una’s estuary, the geographic coordinates for the village are 08 o51’38’’S and 035 o08’19’’W. Inhabited by around 1.500 people, the village in 6km away from the city’s headquarters

5 –Sugar Farms

In the district’s territory there are the following sugar farms: Pau Amarelo, Boa Vista, Gindhy, Boca da Mata, Campinas, Mundo Novo, Arassu, Serra d’Água, Queimadas, Manguinhos, Brejão, Morim and Tentugal. These last two deserve special mention for it’s historical and ecological importance for the region. Today, only the Morim, Brejão and Manguinhos Sugar Farms are owened by families. Another family farm is the São Francisco with a 280 ha area located around the sugar farms Queimadas, Arassu and Morim.

6 – The Neighbourhoods

The area where São José da Coroa Grande lies on today used to be occupyed by coconut farms, that throughout the time gave place to social housing and also holydayer housing and turistic resorts.
In 2003 it had the following neighbourhoods: Centro, Mata do Cajueiro, Lívio Tenório, Boa Vista, Gameleira, Casamar, Belo Mar e Barra Cruz, considering that the Pau a Pique region is included in the Central area. Big land areas are being turned into urban development areas and soon will be considered new neighbourhoods.

7 – Economic Sources

The main economic sources rely on fishing, agriculture, boat construction and repairs, boat deck, hotels, bars and restaurants, small commerce like grocery stores, markets, drugstores, clothes stores and stores for construction material, and also some industries of pre-molded coconut fiber.
The revenue of the public city workers has a major social and economic importance. It is estimated that each empolyee maintains other two economically active people.
It stands out that surrounding cities like Maragogi (AL), Barreiros (PE) and Tamandaré (PE) provide many working opportunities, especcially in stores and hotel chains.

8 – Climatic Conditions

The predominant weather is hot and rainy tropical. The average temperature is 24 oC, and the average relative humidity is 75%. The average annual insolation is 3.000 hours.
During the period from January until September, the wind comes from Southeast, while during the period from October until December the wind comes from Northeast.
The water balance is positive: 1800mm/year of precipitation being higher on May and June and lower on October and November, while the evaporation rate is 1025mm/year.

9 – Geology

The district of São José da Coroa Grande was formed during the Cenozoic Era. The Quaternary Period is represented by the littoral stripe where there is soil formed by material brought by the rivers, dunes and sea sediments; while the Pre-Crambrian period is represented by farther west areas of the city where granit forms the soil.

10 – Landscape and Sea Formations

The district is located in the mid-region of Pernambuco Forests, and has the coastal plain dominating its landscape. The ground becomes a little more hilly farther west, where the average height is 100m and where the highest point is found on 168m above sea level, located between the Morim and Mundo Novo Sugar Farms.
The average depth of the sea ground is 40m until the Continental Platfrom that has the extension of 20 km. After this point the depth changes abbruptally reaching 3.000 meters on the next 20 km.
In the beach close to downtown there is a sea formation known as Coroa (crown) that shows up during low tide, attractig people for tours and natural clear water bathes.

11 – Ecosystem and Biodiversity

The ecosystems in the area are peculiar to tropical and coastal regions like salt marshs, mangroves, coral reefs and rain forests.
Among the most common species of plants there are black, red and white mangroves, bugi, botão and canoé; on the salt marshs there are many different kinds of grass; in the rain forests there are plenty of native species.
When fauna is concerned, the most common marine animals are lobster, shrimp, crab, aratu, octopus and squid, and many freshwater species. In the region there are also heron, swallow and a native bird known as socó. There are also some species of spiders, scorpions and snakes, but there are not many cases of injuries registred.

Sand Banks

In the Village of Várzea do Una, between the Una River and the Atlantic Ocean, there is a 2.000m insthmus covered by salt marsh vegetation, with width varying from 20 to 50m. There are two ways to get there: one is by canoes through the estuary and another is to walk through private properties going over a small bridge considering the passing is allowed.
There is another leftover sand bank area addopted by the Una Museum close to a Northern urban beach zone with 100m of native fauna and flora.

Mangroves and Estuaries

The coastal region of the city has plenty of mangroves and estuaries because it is part of the Una, Persinunga and Meireles water basin.
The estuary area of the Una River is considered a Biological Reserve of Pernambuco State and also an Ecological Protection Area according to the law N o 9.937 signed on December 11 th, 1986. This area has a reasonable conservation status when fauna and flora are concerned, but the geomorphology suffered big changes made by men, that originated ecological and judicial proceedings.
The estuary area of the Persinunga River has polution problems, because of the people living on its margins. It also had the mouth of the river changed by bussinessmen asserting the reason to be protection against the erosion.
The Meireles Creek Estuary is the least affected but it also has problems with agrotoxics and housing invasion. The region is already being observed by the responsible ecological organizations.

Coral Reefs

The coral reefs near the coast are a part of the Reef Coast Ecological Protection Area - the biggest unit of marine preservation in Brazil, with 413.563 ha and considered the most important coral formation of the South Atlantic, with more than 7.000 years of formation, instituted on October 23 rd, 1997.
In some areas, the corals were destroyed by predatory attitudes of the fishermen and turists, who did not consider the basic recomended ecological preservation principles from responsible ecological organizations. These Organizations are developing a policy of dealing with nature and ecological education.

Rain Forest

In the Morim Sugar Mill, a property with a major historical and cultural importance, 6km away from the PE-060 highway, there is a 600 ha preservation area covered especially by Rain Forest vegetation.
A project that looks after restauration of the Historic buildings and the later use of the ecological turism is now being discussed, and once put into practice will have a major importance in the region.

13 – Hidrography

Una River

The Una River (una=black) is one of the most important in the state of Pernambuco. Its estuary area is considered a Biological Reserve of the state and a State Ecological Protection Area, as well as beeing part o the Reef Coast Ecological Protection Area on a federal level.
The water spring is in the Boa Vista Montain Ridge in a town called Capoeiras, at 900m above sea level. It is a 255km river catching water from other 30 tributary rivers and creeks until it gets to the estuary in Várzea do Una, going through 42 towns on it’s way.

Persinunga River

The Persinunga River (pará=water, açununga=rumble) is a 20km long river starting from the Benfica sugar farm, in Barreiros, going around the Pau Amarelo sugar farm and catching the Gindahy Creek to go to the Arassu and Queimadas sugar farms. When almost getting to the estuary, the Persinunga River catches the Itabaiana River from Alagoas.

Meireles Creek

The Meireles Creek is perenial throughout it’s entire way, starting on the Boca da Mata sugar farm, getting to the Atalantic ocean 20km furhter in the Barra da Cruz beach, going through the sugar farms Morim, Serra d’Água, Tentugal and Manguinhos.

14 - Historical Points and Sites

São José da Coroa Grande (headquarters)

The Main Church in the Constantino Gomes Ferreira Plazza has, besides the main room, a main chapel, an upstairs chorus, porch, bell tower and a two-doors entrance. This church has been remodeled through the years and the excatc date of the construction is not clear.
Historical information found at the Barreiros Parish shows that services and meeteings were happening at the São Jose da Coroa Grande chapel since 1938, but it was not necessarelly the same building. Heap of bones were found atfer some excavations in the church’s lot in 2003, indicating that the refered chapel was located on the same ground as the local cemitery.

Morim Mill

Today a sugar farm, it is located at about 6km away from the PE-060 highway the building preserves it’s peculiar architectural caracteristics from the golden age of the Sugar Mills, deserving special mention the Owners house and the ruins of the chapel. This Mill has been a property of Estácio de Albuquerque Coimbra, ex-governor of the state of Pernambuco and ex-vice-president of Brazil. The property’s territory is a result from the acquisitons of surrounding land, originating some 1.000 ha constisting on pasture, dams, springs, creeks and an area of rain forest.

Tentugal Mill

Today consists in unproductive lands, is located at around 2km away from the PE-060, this is one of the few places where one can appreciate and old railroad station and few typical houses built during the late 19 th century and early 20 th century along with a wonderful Jambo Tree’s Alley.

15 – Turistic Attraction

The city has a huge turistical pottencial, counting on many attractions, some of those practically unkown or even intact by the general population.


The beachs are marvelous. The wave sizes vary from short ones near downtown to really high ones at Várzea do Una beach, good place for surfing.
There are many beaches in São José da Coroa Grande, including: Barra da Cruz, a 800m long beach on the right margin of the Meireles Creek; Gravatá, 2.900m long, between the Una’s and Meireles Creek’s estuaries; Várzea do Una (*), 3000m long, between the Una’s estuary and the Porto beach; and last but not least there is São José, 3.900m long, between the Persinunga’s estuary and the Casamar house development area.

(*)The Una River is the boundary between Barreiros and São José da Coroa Grande, therefore the Várzea do Una beach is officially in the Barreiro’s territory, but tradicionally it is a São José da Coroa Grande’s beach.

Springlet and waterfalls

There are many paradise-like places to enjoy the springlets, waterfalls and creeks, like at the Tentugal Mill stone-pits and the Morim and Serra d’Água Mills’ brooks.

Nautical Sports

There are boat-decks like the Mangue Seco, Belo Mar and São José, providing navigation support, place for boats, drinks and snacks and other services like tours to see the coral reef barrier, the Una River, the Porto Island and Beach, Scuba diving and fishing.


The only place around the city propper for surfing is Várzea do Una, where there are local and State Championships.


There are many options for wild tracks in the area. Some of the ways are through sugar farms and private properties, but there is no groceryshops or other stores around. The remotion of native species is not allowed, neither bonfires, that can originate fires in the forests. All the trash should be kept or thrown away in propper recipietns.

Off Road

Most of the roads that connect the old Mills are not official, therefore could be considered tracks for off-road vehicles. Some options are: Várzea do Una, Queimadas, Tentugal and Morim Mills.
For the ones who look for even bigger adventures, with a little pinch of danger, there are roads through sugar cain plantations, the same ones used by working tractors and sugar cain trucks on the rainy season, when the 4X4 traction is crucial for the passage.

Pipiri Belvedere

Located on the old road Várzea do Una - Barreiros, among sugar cain plantations, it is 500m away from Várzea do Una’s downtown. It gives tourist a wonderful view of the Una’s estuary and villages from the top of the Pipiri hill.


São José da Coroa Grande is located in the Una and Persinunga’s water basins, with the Meireles Creek going through it’s ground. In the estuary areas the mangrove fauna and flora can be closelly observed while short tours during high tide.


The Una Museum, in Várzea do Una, is taken as a reference for historical, cultural and ecological preservation in the region. The inauguration was in 2000 and today it attracts around 2.000 visitors per year to enjoy its 600m 2 area from Friday to Sunday, from 11a.m. to 5p.m.
In the place there are more than 50 catalogued exposition panels, library, as well as a place for bigger pieces and equipments like a steam engine used by the Central Barreiros Sugar Factory and a boat built in a primitive but tradicional way.
The museum is very active in ecological protection and sponsoring cultural events, advertised on it’s own website: .


In Várzea do Una there is the Master Zuza’s shipyard, the biggest and most important primitive shipyard in the Brazilian Northeast region, that can build around 6 different sizes boats per year. As a regional tradition, people who learned the boat construction techniques with Master Zuza own smaller shipyards building and reparing boats for a living and keeping the tradition alive.

16 – Parties and Celebrations

The most important parties in the city are religious celebrations as city’s protector saints days and Christmas, along with June festivals and emancipation days.

São José Party

It happens on March 19th and it celebrates the protector saint of São Josè da Coroa Grande. On this day there are catholic services for the population and the city government provides amusement parks, sports competitions and shows from various bands and famous artists.

São Sebastião Party

It happens on January 20th and it celebrates Várzea do Una’s potector saint, being one of the happiest parties in the litoral of Southern Pernambuco.
Many turists from surrounding cities as well as native people go to Várzea do Una and it becomes an annual apportunity to see family and baptize new kids.

São João Party

It happens on June 24th celebrating the protector saint of Abreu do Una, when the calmness gives place to the huge movement on the main roads.

São Pedro Party

It happens on June 29th when the ships and boats from the Z9 fishermen settlement, from São José da Coroa Grande, make a sea procession to glorify the fishermen protector saint. This sea procession goes from the sea cross mark in front of the city main church to the Meirele’s Creek esturay.


Carnival is the party that attracts the most people to the city. Most of the people, coming from inner state cities, come to enjoy shows from nice bands that play from 10 p.m. until the sun rises. There are many Carnvial parades marching and enjoying the party throughout the streets.
On the Sunday of Carnival there is the Carnamar, the sea part of Carnival, when bands move the party to the sand banks 1000m away from the beach playing good music and attracting many turists and native people.


In happens on November and has the purpose of making the coconut culture and traditions known by the general population and turists. There are band shows, open market for regional and typical things, as well as an intersting competition of peeling coconuts and taking coconut out from the trees.

Political Emancipation

On April 11th the city celebrates its emancipation with many events, always with the Grand Finale left for band shows.

17 – Accomodation

Pousada Voarr : in the Northern beach coast, this Inn has comfortable rooms and suits wih transparent ceiling (sun roof) to enjoy the sunrise with total privacy.
Flat Brisa Dourada : located on the side on the PE-060 highway, on the city’s entreance, this inn has simple but confortable rooms. It is an ecxelent option for overnight, but it doesn’t have bar or restaurant services.
Pousada Vivenda Oriente : on the beach coast, this is a beatiful and attracting place with beach bar, restaurant, swimming pool, as well as rooms with TV and air conditioning.
São José Flat Beach : on the side of the PE-060 highway, this inn has apartments for rent, but no bar and restaurant services.
Pousada Puiraçu : located downtown, it has simple and nice rooms with personalized services.
Pousada Paraíso do Una : located in Várzea do Una, this is an option for the ones who want to hide from civilization without caring about sophistication.
Pousada Coqueirais : between Várzea do Una and Abreu do Una, it has rustic style rooms, swimming pools and a ammusement area.
Pousada Rota dos Corais : on the side of the PE-060, it has simple and confortable rooms with air contidioning and nice bar and restaurant sercives.
Chalés da Vovó Suzy : it has few but big and nice appartments in a very pleasent green area dnowtown.
Dormitório Trevo : on the side of the PE-060 highway this place has simple apartments with fans.

18 – Gastronomy

The most known restaurants in the city are: Calamares, Rota dos Corais and Nossa Senhora de Fátima on the PE-060; downtown there is Pizzaiola´s, Peixada do Maurício, Peixada da Júlia and Helena’s Self Service; and on the sea coast there is Atlântico Resaurant.
The bars or pubs have always cold drinks, nice snacks and personalized waiter sercives. The most famous are: Agulhinha, Zuzinha, Azulão, Caiçara, Gira Sol, Estrela do Mar, Ninho da Coruja, Litoral, Grauçá, Dolores, Celso, Dotô, Zombar, Biritaria Club, Maracá and Castelinho (the oldest and most tradicional bar in the city). There is also an exotic Floating Bar ancored near the coral reefs, but it just works on summer weekends. There are also other smaller new bars near the Mills and in other neigbourhoods.
In Várzea do Una there is the Indomada Bar on the Una River’s margin; Aldo e Leny, downtown; while in Abreu do Una there are the Karolina Bar and the Piriquito Bar, that are just delicious.
For snacks there is the Ice Cream shop Inês, the Capitania da Gula and Big Lanches snack bars downtown and the Santinha Bar, near the PE-060.

19 – Other Services

On Main Street there is an emergency and first aid clinic, as well as maternity for the general population . For more serious cases there are better clinics and hospitals in Barreiros. There are other first aid clinics in the Gameleira Farms, on the Lídio Florentino Street, in the Tentugal Mill and in Várzea do Una and Abreu do Una, working just on weekdays.
There are three city radio stations: Líder FM, Coroa Grande FM and Sucesso FM, with assorted style programs.
The police station and the Militar Police downtown have efficient teams and vehicles that assert safety in the whole city.
The Costa Dourada and the São Benedito services posts both have the Petrobrás flag and are located on the PE-060 sides.
Ther is also post office, 24h banks, drugstores, grocery stores, fish markets, clothes stores and place for buying construction material for the local and surrounding population as well as for the many turists.
There is religious support at the following churches: Assembléia de Deus, Católica, Batista, Batista Bíblica, Reformada do Brasil, Testemunha de Jeová, Congregação Cristã no Brasil and Cristã Evangélica.
There are around 25 elementary and high schools from the city and state government or private. Ther are also two libraries, one downtown and another one in Várzea do Una village.

Tradução de textos do livro Retratos de São José da Coroa Grande, de Bertrando Bernardino, por Raquel Ludermir Bernardino.

Vista aérea da praça principal

Barcos ao entardecer

Igreja Matriz de São José

Assembléia de Deus

A rica culinária de frutos do mar

A Estalagem das Andorinhas

Bar Passatempo

Opções para quem curte trilha

Marina Bello Mar

Casa Grande do Engenho Morim

Marina Mangue Seco

Câmara Municipal

Barco flutuante