Fortaleza Travel Guide

Photo of Fortaleza

Fortaleza Overview

Sun, beach and fun – these are the most heard words when one thinks of Brazil. In fact, based on these stereotypes, Brazilian Tourist Office has developed a catchy campaign to attract more visitors to places that translate this image of Brazil. As a result, Fortaleza has been benefiting from it massively with a substantial increase of visitors number in the last two years.

This successful result comes as no surprise as Fortaleza has exactly these elements and more. It has sun, beaches and fun as well as interesting local projects for sustainable tourist, which brings the Fortaleza communities together with commitment for making it a sought after destination in Brazil. Ceara state capital is fast becoming an open field for serious foreign investment and interest. The realty sector has boomed in the last five years and the infra structure of the city is today one of the best in Brazil. Although Fortaleza is now famous internationally as a tourist destination, it still holds its popularity amongst Brazilians as one of the best places to spend time and holiday.

Located in the western side of the sunny Northeast region of Brazil, Fortaleza is the capital of Ceara state and the fifth largest city in Brazil. Considered a tropical paradise by Brazilians and foreigners its  breathtaking scenery, golden beaches and dunes keep Fortaleza in the map as one of the most visited cities in Brazil, being December and January the busiest times to visit the area. It is however, worth considering a visit during the so called low season. Winter months in Fortaleza are hot, with an average of 24 degrees and humidity is lower than summer months. Fortaleza is surely an all year round winner and a true hit, home and away.

Things to do in Fortaleza

Fortaleza Beaches

There are two reasons tourists go to Fortaleza: sun and beach. It comes, therefore, as no surprise that all major activities in the Ceara capital are beach or sea related. And rightly so: after all with over 30Km of beach there would be very little interest from anyone but exploring the capital’s blue sea.
 
Some urban beaches are ok for swimming but are invariably busy. Praia do Futuro is a very well known beach with shops, bars and restaurants along its promenade. Even though Fortaleza urban beaches are beautiful, nothing can prepare you to the breathtakingly glorious beaches dotted further afield from the city centre. Jericoacoara is sure to impress. Voted as Brazil’s finest beach in many press media, this is a place for relaxation, fresh sea food tasting and turquoise blue waters.
Canoa Quebrada is also a beautiful beach. However, with the intense investment from the real estate industry, this area is fast becoming an open field for resorts and chain hotels. Still very much worth a visit, especially for families as many water themed parks are there, being Beach Park the busiest one.
Dune buggy tours are big in the Northeast of Brazil and in Fortaleza you can choose amongst many spots and companies who will take you around the sandy beaches in a truly unique experience. Other water activities in Fortaleza include diving, snorkelling and surfing. There are many schools for all ages in most beaches of the city.
One thing that does not involve going to the beach and every visitor should do in Fortaleza is to visit Pirata Bar. This group of colourful little houses located on the Tabajaras Street in Iraceman beach, claims to have the best Forro of the Northeast. The Forro is a northeast type of dance that is so warm and cheerful that has spread all over Brazil including the posh clubs in Rio and Sao Paulo. The bar has something called The craziest Monday in the world, which means every Monday, after work people flock into this bar to dance and enjoy Forro as if it were Friday night! Surprisingly it gets busier than an ordinary Friday night and Mondays in the Pirata Bar is now a must see in Fortaleza, as featured in the NY Times.
Amongst the locals, one activity that they highly recommend is jogging along Beira Mar Avenue. Although exercising might not be in everyone’s list of things to do whilst relaxing on holiday, the sunset in the Beira Mar area is worth the physical activity. On top of that and according to local information, this is also where everyone flirts! So, if exercising is not your priority, seat back in one of the kiosks and relax, whilst watching the beautiful and tanned people of Fortaleza go by.
Fortaleza is well known in Brazil for its artefacts, ceramics and laces. If you like to take a piece of local art with you, head to Mercado Central. You will find the most incredible array of local products and art. Everything for a fraction of the price compared to the art galleries in the posh neighbourhood in town.
Fortaleza Nightlife
Fortaleza has the reputation of a party town. The place gets seriously busy during the carnival and new years and Christmas celebrations with the number of tourists four times higher than the low season. The everyday life in Fortaleza however, still carries a sense of party and weekends in town are lively and musical.
 
M Bar is a good option for the young and beautiful. The crowd is predominately late teens and the music is usually American pop. Located in the Varanda shopping centre, this place is for flirting and dressing up and if you are over thirty, there is a chance of feeling slightly out of place.
For the more grownups, one of the best options is Zug Choperia. Open until 3 am every day, this plays is always buzzing and busy. Located in the Aldeota district, the vibe here is relaxing and friendly. Although Brazilians do like to dress up even for a quick drink with friends, you can simply wear flip flops and cool down with the delicious double caipirinha made here. The bar also serves food until midnight and the speciality is seafood moqueca or feijoada (beans and pork stew).
Fortaleza Restaurants
L’O Restaurant is one of a kind. This is fine dining experience at its best. Five star food and a wine list to envy any sommelier, complements the elegantly decorated open space. Located right in the city centre, the restaurant has an opulent feel with double height ceilings and decadent furnishing. The food is modern and exquisite. This is a pricey dining experience, still unforgettable.
For Brazilian food lovers, Cocobambu delivers an interesting and exotic menu of food and cocktails. Their caipirinha served in a coconut cup is well known and it is a refreshing treat in the warm evening. The food here is mainly seafood. Although not very creative, the menu delivers consistently the freshest shrimps, fish and oysters around. The relaxed and hippie vibe make this place a hit amongst young professionals and young families.

Hotels in Fortaleza

Luzeiros Hotel is conveniently located in Beira Mar Avenue and it has wonderful sea views. Apartments are very comfortable and some are quite luxurious. The hotel has a big swimming pool, two decent restaurants and an ample cafe all with great views of the famous Fortaleza Avenue. Prices start from U$160 per night.

Located in Mucuripe district, this five star hotel has a severe facade with a modern architecture so usual in the Brazilian coast. Its interior however, surprises with a touch of sophistication and splendour. With a good spa and an excellent restaurant, this hotel is a great choice for those looking for spending time relaxing and near the beach. Facing the blue sea of Mucuripe beach, all apartments have comfort and stunning views. Prices start from R$660 per night.

A more economic option without compromising in location is Diogo Hotel, located in the Meirelles beach. With prices starting from U$78 per night, this hotel has the convenient location, comfort and good service. It has a delicious breakfast which is included in the price and it is steps from the glorious Meirelles beach.

Fortaleza Weather

Fortaleza Travel Resources

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