Things To Do In Fortaleza
Located along the northeastern part of Brazil and slightly below the equator lies the State of Ceara. With its beaches, drylands, hills, and historic towns; it’s one of the most striking and picture perfect postcard of Brazil. Ceara’s remarkable coastline is one of the longest in the country. The coast is lined with 570 kilometers of beaches with warm and tranquil waters, clear lagoons, coconut and palm groves, fine sandy dunes, and steep rocky cliffs.
Fortaleza is the capital of the State of Ceara and it is more than 300 years old. It flourished around the fortress of the Our Lady of the Assumption (Nossa Senhora de Assuncao Fort) which was built by the early Portuguese colonizers in 1649. The fort became the center of the village which further developed into Fortaleza now known as the 5th largest city in Brazil.
When To Go:
Fortaleza is blessed with an ideal tropical beach atmosphere all year long. It experiences two seasons; dry and wet. The perfect time to visit would be in the middle of May and November when rainfall or unexpected downpour is very much far-fetched. Tourist influx rises during special occasions like; Christmas, New Year, Carnival and more so during school vacation (June to July). On this peak season, it might be hard to find a convenient accommodation, especially around the beach areas. It is strongly recommended to book ahead of time before the costs for inns and resorts become costly.
From November to April, expect a high temperature with arid and hot days. It is advisable to wear sunscreen and a cap because the humidity and sunlight exposure can be quite strong, especially during the peak of the summer season. In the winter season (from February to June which some locals refer to as the season of “inverno”), the climate is lovely and cool but it seldom gets an exceptional amount of snow. Towards the end of the year, the temperature normally stays from somewhere around 75 to 90 degrees. The rainy season occurs from March until April which is not an ideal time to enjoy the beaches and water sports adventures offered in Fortaleza.
Get to know a city that is rich in history, hospitable people, stunning beaches, wild party atmosphere, and great cuisine. Here are the top attractions and things to do in Fortaleza:
The Morro Branco beach is renowned for its natural characteristics. In particular, the cave with its colors and the waters that flow from the rock is eye catching and quite dramatic. Not to be missed is the ride with the buggy through the beach with a splendid panorama. The location of Morro Branco is not far from the center of Fortaleza (85 km away) and it can be reached easily by the tourist service offered in Brazil. It is a very lovely place to spend a day at sea observing the wonders of nature. The beach and the cliffs must both be visited and accessed by a walking path. It looks like being in the Grand Canyon, but the difference is that there are high dunes of white sand that contrasts with the red colored cliffs. If you go to Fortaleza in Ceara, it is a must to do this hike.
Morro Branco is the ideal destination for those looking for a place outside the main tourist tracks, for those who want to escape from the confusion and for those who want to relax in peace while in Fortaleza. You will love it because it is very affordable and it has very little to offer in terms of modernity and sophistication. You will see dunes and cliffs of pristine sands that hug the blue and grand ocean. The calm of the site is amazing and you’ll be in awe of the kilometres and kilometers of relaxing beaches that inspires the best feelings and allows you to take long walks in a serene environment.
Metropolitana Cathedral (Catholic Cathedral of Fortaleza)
The prestigious Metropolitana Cathedral (Catholic Cathedral of Fortaleza) is found next to the fair-market stalls near Dragao do Mar. It is very beautiful and famous and the closer you get, the more you admire its style and grandeur. The construction began in 1936, but it was only inaugurated 40 years after in 1976. In the underground there is another small and intimate church.
The Cathedral is the center of the bustling square that carries the same name. The church on the outside looks very nice and majestic, but once you get inside you’ll be surprised because it is all white and almost looks like a design work that is left unfinished, however, it is still worth visiting while in Fortaleza.
Nossa Senhora de Assuncao Fort
The Nossa Senhora de Assuncao Fort is the physical and symbolic space of the European invasion in Ceará. It was built by the Dutch and later confiscated by the Portuguese where they have installed their headquarters and white military power (and also some indigenous way, given the fact that they have made alliances with local tribes). Today it houses the Army Military Command in Ceará.
It is a historical fortress that gave birth to the city and its name. The place is considered a military stronghold, but it is open to the public. It is large and lush and still retains the old cannons pointing out to sea. The history and durability of the structure make it interesting and a must visit tourist attraction in Fortaleza. It is opposite the Central Market and the Cathedral and there are guided tours daily.
Praia do Futuro
The Prai do Futuro is a typical Brazilian beach that is often frequented by tourists and Brazilians. It has refreshing breezes and waves which are fun to jump safely. Praia do Futuro is a huge beach with a variety of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy an ice cold cerveza (beer) and a wonderful fish dish. The tables and chairs are drawn to the water's edge with parasol and sellers come and go constantly to sell you everything and anything (tablecloths, clothes, food, ice cream, lobster, shrimp, etc.). It is an ideal beach for surfers because of the high waves; in fact, it is often referred to as the “Kingdom of Surfers” in Fortaleza.
The beach is more lively on Sundays when most families gather to eat, drink, and dance. If you want to go to the beach it is not advisable to go to the Gulf Coast of the city unless you have very little time. If you want to spend a day the sea and don’t want to stray far from the city of Fortaleza, Praia do Futuro is a good option. It is highly recommended without any doubt. Don’t fail to visit the Crocobeach Bar which is the main meeting and party place of Praia do Futuro. It is well equipped to satisfy every needs of the tourist from food to entertainment. You can get there by bus # 52 that helps transport visitors around the beaches of Fortaleza.
Praia do Combuco
Praia do Combuco is another great beach to enjoy the sun and the sea of Fortaleza. The beach is safe because it is secured and controlled by the local police. Also, there are areas where you can eat, take a shower or store your personal items while you enjoy swimming at the beach. It can be reached within 10 minutes by taxi from Beira Mar. It is a summer resort town with excellent tourist facilities, excellent food and very good services. You’ll admire the beautiful landscape with dunes of white sand and stunning lagoons with palm trees lining the beach. Praia do Combuco is one of the best beaches in Fortaleza from all points of view because it is a bit far from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
There are numerous seaside restaurants where you can have lunch with fresh fish. Strongly recommended is the buggy ride on the dunes, it’s a breathtaking ride that every visitor must experience while in Fortaleza City. The beach is always filled with a continuous movement of people who want to have fun; the sky is crossed by so many kites operated by professional kite surfers from all around the world.
Fontes Beach is a well located beach in Bebiberibe (EC) near Fortaleza that has good infrastructure with beautiful brick homes on the waterfront. The beach and the fountains provide invigorating baths with pristine waters that you can enjoy with your family. Check out the restaurants here and savor the delicacies of the local cuisine. It has a small structure of restaurants, but the beer is ice cold as well as the delicious coconut juice. It has a geologically interesting setting. The cliffs are rich in rare sediments while the colored sands inspire a sense of creativity and the huge waves demonstrate the strength of the sea.
The beach is scenic, clean, and with no sellers that will follow you around. It’s a great choice for the weekend or if you need to spend a longer holiday in Fortaleza. There are good hotels designed for the entire family, car rides through the dunes, and a chance to admire the breathtaking landscapes. It is worth a hike along the beach to get to the freshwater springs that flow from the cliffs. Fontes is an ideal beach for those who want peace. This beach is about 100 kms away from Fortaleza and it has really cool and interesting cliffs, the sea is rough, lacks good restaurants only reasonable beach huts and very quiet.
Praia Aguas Belas
The Praia Aguas Belas is a very quiet beach and often times not crowded. It is also accessible via the buggy ride which is the best option to go around the beaches in Fortaleza. At the end of the ride you can bathe in the natural pools or witness local fishermen pull their nets with fish of various sizes. It is one of the best tourist spots that you can find in Fortaleza, but it is still not as frequently visited like the other prominent beaches.
This beach is a place of peace and tranquility with an inviting sea of calm waters with several ponds to relax and quiet ambiance to enjoy. The buggy ride is a must and you will be impressed by the beautiful scenery. There is a restaurant there that serves delicious foods, such as steak Sirigado. This beach is ideal for people who want to avoid the swarm of people and persistent hawkers.
The Cachaca Museum is not very easy to find (take the direction to Maranguape - you better have a GPS). The setting is very interesting because it combines the history of the exploitation of sugarcane (an interesting time in the history of Fortaleza) and outdoor activities that delight children. The small museum itself is very well arranged with a tasting of cachaça (sugarcane alcohol), and the restaurant provides a buffet spread with delicious regional dishes. It is also here where you can admire the largest barrel in the world.
In addition to the museum that explains the history and the production cycle of cachaca, there are activities that are designed 'for all ages’. Highly recommended are the Paintball, Zip Line and wake boarding (2D Cable) adventure. The museum is so tidy, well maintained, equipped with friendly staff and nice vegetation all around. You will also learn the history behind the famous Brazilian liquor called the Ypioca from this museum.
The Mercado Central is a main reference point in the city and where you can meet many tourists. You can buy items of clothing, crafts, souvenirs, or fresh and dried fruit. It’s a quaint place in Fortaleza where you can buy everything at very affordable prices. It is located next to the famous Metropolitana Cathedral and in front of Beira Mar. You can find bags, spices, table-cloths, flip-flops and clothes for men, women, and children. It has a little bit of everything in the true sense of the word. It is a market with several floors and local shoppers always suggest not to buy on the very first shop that you stop, haggle and do not get overwhelmed by the variety of choices that you will see.
The central market of Fortaleza is always packed with people and merchandise, spread over several floors and contains hundreds of stalls with various products. It is located near the beach area and has ample parking space, restrooms and places to eat. The stalls offer many kinds of T-shirt souvenirs about the city. It has a ramp between the floors to facilitate the flow of people inside.
Dragon of the Sea Cultural Center (Dragao do Mar)
The Dragon of the Sea Cultural Center or the Dragao do Mar is an interesting cultural center with a museum of contemporary art and a regional ethnic cultural museum that is surrounded by bars and nightclubs. The ideal time to visit this place is during sunset time, so after visiting the art gallery and the halls of the cultural center you can drop by the square to dine on pizza, fish or meat and / or drink a Caipirinha (Brazilian cocktail or drinks).
This cultural center comes alive at night and you will find several cafes with free concerts and where you can spend a pleasant and relaxing evening. It is a nice place to know a little of everything it offers like; theaters, cinemas, planetarium, restaurant, etc. The plaza that surrounds it is full of people and stalls selling food and drink. This is also the center point of the youth scene of Fortaleza, with bars and nightclubs of all types and colors around.
Passeio Publico (Beira Mar)
The Passeio Publico or the public promenade that is more locally known as the Beira Mar in Fortaleza is something special that a traveler can hardly forget. The feast of colors, al fresco or outdoor dining, makes this attraction the best place to stroll especially during the evening. Here you will find everything from; bars, restaurants, vans that will take you to different places, and the largest craft fair you will ever see. The public promenade of Fortaleza is pretty cool, very green and has a design that takes you back in the early times of Fortaleza. Beira Mar is a great place for a quiet walk at night with many visual options and places to a stop with a snack or even dinner with several entertainment and sightseeing choices all in one place.
There is a restaurant here where on Saturdays and Sundays you can have lunch with live music. If you want to meet and interact with the locals of Fortaleza, this is the best place to visit.
With the help of modern engineering and comprehensive infrastructure plus an abundance of sunny and warm weather all throughout the year, the city of Fortaleza guarantees every visitor the most memorable holiday and exciting beach adventures. Fortaleza is just a few minutes away from the international airport, hotels, shopping centers, parks, nightlife area, and everything you need to make your stay convenient. The endless and wide beaches, theme parks, and resorts are equipped with world class and modern infrastructure that will make your summer holiday in Fortaleza truly unforgettable.
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