First (only) visit this region: July/August 2011
Visited: Fortaleza, Recife, Natal, Aracaju, Maceio, Penedo, Sao Luis, Teresina.
A region hailed as the cultural backbone of Brazil, and with lots to recommend it. Olinda is a gorgeous world heritage site, Natal very laid back, Sao Luis fascinating architecturally and with an air of abandoned nostalgia. All in all, certainly worth more than just the beaches, and if you can get off the beaten track, all the better.
Highlight: Going from Neopolis to Penedo on a small river boat full of locals.