As a cosmopolitan city of the State of Ceará, Fortaleza ranks among Brazil's most popular destinations. For a few years now, it has gathered peregrines of all sorts, idle lovers and enthusiastic party goers. The Brazilian metropolis counts numerous cultural institutions and stages its rich folklore along large avenues: during your stay, get ready to be immersed in a rich heritage of various influences, ranging from famous local traditions to impassioned musical events. Tourists are now pressing around to discover beautiful Fortaleza.
Days 1-2: strolls and idleness in Fortaleza
Praia do Futuro, for a little tanning session
Land in Fortaleza's international airport, in a city described as the “sunny blonde”, and expect golden sand dunes to elegantly stand alongside Florida palm trees and long waterfronts, in a casual and festive atmosphere. Of course, you brought along your bathing suit for the Praia do Futuro awaits you some 10 miles away… you and hundreds of other bathers. Therein lies the dilemma: should you fight for your right to be idle under thatched parasols, or line up to revel in cerulean blue waters? No matter what you elect to spend your time on, you'll most likely feel disposed for lunch: treat yourself to a few spider crabs to whet your appetite.
Praia do Futuro
Mercado Central, for a shopping break
After your sun worship, you definitely deserve to take a break and… shop! Head for the city centre, where the sheer amount of shops in Mercado Central will make you dizzy. More than 500 brands are gathered over 10,000 sqm. From local products to clothing, jewellery, decorative items and other goodies to bring back home, it will be tough to make a choice – whilst going soft on the wallet! Indulge in a cachaça bottle to make your own caipirinhas and always remember your dreamlike vacation in Fortaleza.
Fortaleza Central Market
Av. Alberto Nepomuceno, 199 – Centro
Fortaleza – CE, 60055-000
+55 85 3454 8586
Beach Park: big thrills expected!
The aquatic Beach Park is THE must-go-to for unforgettable family outings. Kids will jackknife dive at the Arca de Noé, whereas adults will run for one of the Ramubrinkà ride slides, 82-feet high. Are you craving for big thrills? Beach Park hasn't forgotten you, with an experience straight out of Vertigo. Riding the gigantic Insano slide (quite an apt name, if we dare say), you'll freefall from a 160-feet high structure! Once you've regained your composure, you'll easily find something to snack on, maybe even an ice cream at Sarcofee, one of the park's six restaurants.
Rua Porto das Dunas, 2734
Porto das Dunas
Aquiraz, CE, 61700-000
+55 85 4012 3000
Where to have lunch?
Coco Bambu Meireles, fresh catch
In the Meireles district of Fortaleza, scents from Coco Bambu's kitchen will immediately whet your appetite! Healthy eating is out, make room for a delicious tropical salad with grilled shrimp in melted coconut milk. It's impossible to miss out on the restaurant's high and clear brick walls.
Hurry though, for when empty stomachs go hungry, tables are taken by storm by all food lovers. At Coco Bambu, dishes have a pronounced Fortalezan taste – strong, good and brave, such is its motto. For a daydreaming moment under Brazilian sun, sip on a cocktail while enjoying a few snacks.
Coco Bambu Meireles
Rua Canuto de Aguiar
1317 – Meireles
Fortaleza, CE, 60160-120
+55 85 3242 7557
Where to sleep?
Cocooning mode at Canoa Quebrada
Should you wish and try living at an easy Brazilian pace, we recommend you set up home at Canoa Quebrada. This trendy waterfront pousada retained the old charm of some of Fortaleza's old neighbourhoods, with a touch of modernity that is very distinctive of the city. Isolated from tall American-style buildings erected along the Atlantic shore, it welcomes customers halfway between hot sandy beaches on one side and the bustling metropolis on the other. Giving onto the ocean from the balcony, rooms are cosy and equipped with modern appliances. After an explosive night out in Fortaleza, you may want to avoid any more boisterousness at the beach. No sweat, head for Canoa Quebrada's private swimming pool and spa tub.
Pousada Canoa Quebrada Hotel
Av. da Integração, 500 – Canoa Quebrada
Aracati – CE, 62800-000
+55 88 3421 7275
Day 3: Fortaleza's major spots
Dragão do Mar, on the double!
Your stay in Fortaleza would not be a complete success without dropping by the Dragão do Mar Art and Culture centre. Undeniably, its name is worthy of the large educational and entertaining selection of activities it offers: plays, concerts and exhibitions will fill your agenda for the next few hours in Brazil! It may also be an opportunity to discover local painters and sculptors at the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art, which is part of the larger facilities. Art lovers, you just found Fortaleza's cultural gem.
Dragão do Mar - Centro de Arte e Cultura
Dragão do Mar, 81
Praia de Iracema
Fortaleza, CE, 60060-390
+55 85 3488-8600
Arty discovery at the José de Alencar Theatre
20 minutes by foot from the Art and Culture Centre, you shouldn't miss the José de Alencar Theatre. The architecture of this mythical building, officially opened to the public in 1910, will not leave you indifferent! Its delicately engineered colourful stained-glass windows and metal staircase make it a beautiful remnant of the much-vaunted Belle Époque period. Go back in time during a visit (at a very affordable price) and let the building's interior rooms win you over. Do you feel like channelling the spirit of a Fortalezense during the 1920s? If so, attend one of the various musical performances that take place almost every day.
Theatro José de Alencar
Liberato Barroso, 525 – Centro
Fortaleza – CE, 60030-160
+55 85 3101-2583
Catedral Metropolitana's unusual architecture
Carry on with your cultural outing and take Castro e Silva street to reach Fortaleza's Catedral Metropolitana. Located on the ruins of old religious structures in 1938, its completion took almost 40 years. The subtle and unusual mix of Gothic and Roman architecture is the result of Georges Moutier's imagination and draws most of its inspiration from the Chartres Cathedral in France. Before heading to the nearby Central Market, let the superbly detailed stained-glass windows and cupola's beauty fill you with wonder.
Paróquia de São José
Praça da Sé, s/n – Centro,
Fortaleza – CE, 60055-150
+55 85 3231-4196
Where to have dinner?
El Chancho, line up in front of the food truck!
Evidently, the very best of your holidays is to be spent savouring delicious products facing the most beautiful ocean in the world. However, the region's major food truck may just surprise you with the dishes it has to offer. El Chancho has been a hit among Fortaleza's inhabitants for several years now, located on Leonardo Mota street, in the southeast of the metropolis. If the famous truck switched its wheels for a steady position, it never ceases to vary sandwiches and hamburgers, mostly based around pork, which is the main ingredient of many recipes. Will you be charmed?
Leonardo Mota, 1477-1553
Fortaleza, CE, 60170-041
+55 85 99781 4902
Where to sleep?
Órbita Bar, till the end of the night
Fortaleza is a genuinely multicultural crossroad, and also the stage of international encounters. The Órbita Bar is the meeting point of local night owls and passing travellers. Warm Brazilian nights start and the city comes to life to the sound of frenetic sounds of virtuoso DJs. Night after night, the address organises events that keep young (or not!) party goers happy, gathering for a drink, a song or a dance. This fascinating urban chaos is not to be missed!
Dragão do Mar, 207
Praia de Iracema
Fortaleza, CE, 60060-390
+55 85 3453 1421
Days 4-5: getaway to Jericoacoara
Jericoacoara: heaven must be like this
A few hours away, a former fishing village stirs up the curiosity of passing tourists: Jericoacoara, the gem of Brazil's Northeast Region. From Fortaleza, the road to this El Dorado is more than worthwhile. Seasoned travellers have already set up camp on the cream-coloured beaches, vaguely troubled by the breeze. In the city centre, cars have been replaced by stray cats and dogs, and a donkey peacefully walks alongside the city's colourful small houses. It is now that time of day when the sky takes on pink hues. Good-natured bathers, kitesurf (see addresses below) and windsurf enthusiasts all leave Jericoacoara's clear waters. Jeri's terraces and restaurants play variations on Bob Marley tunes. And silence is born again.
Rancho do kite
Rua da Praia, S/N
Praia do Preá, Ceará
+55 88 3669 2080
Praia do Preá, Cruz – CE, 62595-000
+55 88 99922 2614
Where to have dinner?
After an energetic kitesurf session or a relaxing stroll along the ocean, ravenous customers start to come forward. Thankfully, the Pimenta Verde restaurant is only a few minutes away from the Jericoacoara beach by foot. In a relaxed atmosphere, you'll enjoy a variety of international and Brazilian dishes. To put you in the mood, start by ordering a typical drink, a caipirinha for instance. Carry on with the filet mignon and picanha, octopus à la Provençale or shrimp risotto. Pimenta Verde's house specials will wake up the food addict in you!
Rua Sao Francisco, S/N – Centro,
Jijoca de Jericoacoara – CE, 62598-000
Where to sleep?
Farniente at Bella Jeri
While in Brazil, a night in a pousada is a must. Only five minutes away from the beach, tiny Bella Jeri is a gem of its kind, counting only seven rooms. Get a tan under the Brazilian sun, comfortably lying in a hammock, on the balcony of your terrace. If you prefer armchairs and sunbeds, you'll enjoy the hotel's small garden. At night, spotlights are turned on, giving the swimming pool a beautiful blue hue. Time for you to dream.
Pousada Bella Jeri
Travessa da Rua do Forró
Jericoacoara, CE, 62598-973
+55 88 99971-3330