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Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Cearástate. It is one of the largest cities in Brazil and certainly one of the most vibrant. The city is perhaps the most popular domestic package tour destination, and Europeans are following suit. Despite being quite a party town, the carnival in Fortaleza is rather feeble, though growing bigger by the year, with the largest parades being maracatu-style. There are 2.55 million inhabitants in the city, and 3.5 million in the metropolitan area.

Info Fortaleza


Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.55 million (metropolitan region over 3.6 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil.

To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the municipalities of Pacatuba,Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the municipality ofAquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the municipality of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses. Fortaleza is one of the three leading cities in the Northeast region together with Recife and Salvador.

The city was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Fortaleza was one of the host cities of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

POPULATION :• Municipality 2,571,896
• Metro 3,602,319
FOUNDED :  April 13, 1726
LANGUAGE :  Portuguese
RELIGION :Catholic 79.0%
Protestant 12.58% 
No religion 5.99% 
Kardecist 0.83% 
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.64%
Other religions 0.7%
AREA :  • Municipality 313.8 km2 (121.2 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 21 m (69 ft)
COORDINATES : 3°43′6″S 38°32′34″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 46.8%
 Female: 53.2%
ETHNIC :Pardo (multiracial) people (57.2%),White people (36.8%),  Black people (4.5%), Asian people (1.4%), Amerindian people (0.1%).
POSTAL CODE : 60000-000
WEBSITE :  Fortaleza


Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Cearástate. It is one of the largest cities in Brazil and certainly one of the most vibrant. The city is perhaps the most popular domestic package tour destination, and Europeans are following suit. Despite being quite a party town, the carnival in Fortaleza is rather feeble, though growing bigger by the year, with the largest parades being maracatu-style. There are 2.55 million inhabitants in the city, and 3.5 million in the metropolitan area.

Fortaleza is a big tourist destination for the domestic Brazilian market. The city has several major hotels which are rated as five stars. In addition there are several four star hotels as well as inns. Further along the beach front is the new pier and later the roller skating area close to Iracema beach.

Scuba diving is possible in the area of Pedra da Risca do Meio State Marine Park, a marine protected area located about 10 nautical miles from the shoreline of Fortaleza.

Urban beaches

Fortaleza has about 25 kilometres (16 mi) of urban beaches. From North to South, the urban beaches of Fortaleza are Iracema, Meireles, Mucuripe and Praia do Futuro. Each beach has its own peculiarities:

  • Iracema is the Bohemian beach, with bars and nightclubs;
  • Mucuripe is the place where jangadas can be found. Still used by fishermen to go into high seas, jangadas can be seen along the way during the afternoon and evenings, and returning from the sea in the morning; part of the catch of the day is sold in an old style fish market.

Tourist office

Several municipal tourist information offices around, the most convenient being at the airport, the Central Market and Beira Mar (halfway between McDonald's and the fish market).


Fortaleza's history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe's cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación. Because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, the discovery was never officially sanctioned. Colonisation began in 1603, when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement of Nova Lisboa(New Lisbon). After a victory over the French in 1612, Martins Soares Moreno expanded the Fort of São Tiago and changed its name to Forte de São Sebastião.

In 1630 the Dutch invaded the Brazilian Northeast and in 1637 they took the Fort of São Sebastião and ruled over Ceará. In battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed. Under captain Matthias Beck the Dutch West Indies Company built a new fortress by the banks of river Pajeú. FortSchoonenborch ("graceful stronghold") officially opened on August 19, 1649. After the capitulation of Pernambuco in 1654, the Dutch handed over this fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção ("Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption"), after which the city of Fortaleza takes its name.

Fortaleza was officially founded as a village 1726, becoming the capital of Ceará state in 1799.

During the 19th century, Fortaleza was consolidated as an urban centre in Ceará, supported by the cotton industry. In 1824, the city was targeted by the revolutionaries of Confederation of the Equator. Between the years 1846 and 1877, the city went through a period of enrichment, economic and infrastructural improvement. This included the export of cotton and the development of diverse workmanships, such as the creation of the 2 secondary schools, the Ceará and Mucuripe Lighthouse in 1845, Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Fortaleza in 1861, Prainha Seminary in 1864, Public Library in 1867 and the Public transportation network in 1870, which began with the construction of Railroad of Baturité.

In the twentieth century, Fortaleza underwent significant urban changes, with improvements and the rural exodus to the city, with growth mostly towards the end of the decade of 1910, this made the city the seventh most populated city in Brazil. In 1922, Fortaleza reached its first hundred thousand inhabitants with the annexation of the cities of Messejana and Parangaba, now important districts of the city. In 1954, the first university in the city was created, the Universidade Federal do Ceará(UFC).

In 1983 DIF I started to integrate the territory of the new city of Maracanaú, which, just some years ago, was made again part of the Greater Fortaleza (the city's Metropolitan area). In the 1980s, Fortaleza exceeded Recife in population terms, becoming the second most populous city in Northeastern Brazil, with 2,571,896 inhabitants.

During the political awakening that followed the military regime, the people elected the city's first woman mayor, Maria Luíza Fontenele of the Brazilian Workers' Party, which meant that the city administration was controlled by a party of the centre-left. At the end of the twentieth century, the administration of the city hall and the city underwent a range of structural changes with the opening of several avenues, hospitals, cultural spaces and it became one of the main tourist destinations in the Northeast and in Brazil.


Fortaleza has a typical tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with high temperatures and high relative humidity throughout the year. However, these conditions are usually relieved by pleasant winds blowing from the ocean. Average temperatures are not much different throughout the year. December is the warmest month, with a high of 30.7 °C (87.3 °F) and low of 24.6 °C (76.3 °F). The rainy season spans from February to May, with rainfall particularly prodigious in March and April. The average annual temperature is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). The relative humidity in Fortaleza is 79%, with average annual rainfall of 1,608.4 millimetres (63.32 in).

Fortaleza weather is unique in that there is usually rain during the first seven months of the year from January to July. During this period, relative humidity is high. Fortaleza's climate is usually very dry from August to December, with very little rainfall.

Climate data for Fortaleza

Record high °C (°F)37.7
Average high °C (°F)30.5
Daily mean °C (°F)27.1
Average low °C (°F)24.4
Record low °C (°F)20
Source: Brazilian National Institute of Meteorology (INMET).


Fortaleza's GDP is R$42 billion, arising from its diversified commerce, industry and tourism. Downtown Fortaleza, orCentro, is where most commercial activities happen. Monsenhor Tabosa Avenue, near Iracema Beach and Aldeota neighborhood are significant commercial districts as well. Fortaleza has two of the ten biggest malls in the country, Shopping Iguatemi and RioMar Shopping, the seventh and the eighth largest, respectively. Fortaleza is home to several other malls, the most significant being RioMar Norte, Shopping Del Paseo, North Shopping Jóquei, Parangaba Shopping, Via Sul, Varanda Mall and Jardins Open Mall.

The manufacturing industry produces footwear, textiles, leather-derived items, and processed food and beverages. Presently, Fortaleza offers a wide variety of event spaces, allowing different kinds of events to be promoted, ranging from small business meetings to national and international conventions and fairs that receive thousands of people. The biggest and best-equipped event venue available in the Northeast of Brazil is the Event Center of Ceará (CEC) in Fortaleza, opened in 2012. Additionally, many hotels, business centres and other venues also offer adequate spaces for different types of gatherings. Now-defunct TAF Airlines used to have its headquarters in Fortaleza.

The GDP for the city was R$42,010,111,000 (2011). The per capita income for the city was R$16,962.89 (2011).


These districts are probably the most interesting for visitors:

  • Centro — downtown and its Praça do Ferreira is full of shops and restaurants
  • Praia de Iracema — just northeast of downtown. Popular among travelers, this district features affordable accommodation and lively nightlife
  • Praia de Meireles — a little further east along the beach, with some major hotels.
  • Praia do Futuro — Far east (8 km) of downtown, it's the best beach in Fortaleza. On the downside the sea can be rough here and the water is often polluted by oil
  • Mucuripe — The commercial port of Fortaleza

Internet, Comunication
  • Fortaleza and all neighbouring municipalities share a telephone area code: 85
  • Internet is everywhere, with greatly varying comfort, hardware and bandwidth. R$ 3-4 an hour is an OK price in tourist areas—any more is too much. If you go inland you can get down to R$1/h.
  • There is a free Wi-Fi zone in the café of the 24-hour Pão de Açúcar supermarket at Avenida Abolição.
  • Several post offices along or near Beira Mar: Right in front of the Praia Iracema church; on Av. Monsenhor Tabosa just down from Ideal Clube; a small booth almost in the sand in front of Clube Nautico; in the mall of Scala Residence.

Prices in Fortaleza



Milk1 liter$0.95
Tomatoes1 kg$1.70
Cheese0.5 kg$3.50
Apples1 kg$2.00
Oranges1 kg$1.25
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.15
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$8.60
Coca-Cola2 liters$
Bread1 piece$
Water1.5 l$0.77



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$10.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$21.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$
Water0.33 l$0.58
Cappuccino1 cup$1.60
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$3.10
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.60
Coca-Cola0.33 l$0.95
Coctail drink1 drink$



Cinema2 tickets$15.00
Gym1 month$28.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$
Theatar2 tickets$
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.40
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$2.20



Antibiotics1 pack$
Tampons32 pieces$
Deodorant50 ml.$
Shampoo400 ml.$
Toilet paper4 rolls$
Toothpaste1 tube$



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)$
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$
Leather shoes1$



Gasoline1 liter$1.22
Taxi1 km$0.70
Local Transport1 ticket$0.85

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  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel


[ultimate_pricing design_style="design06" color_scheme="custom" color_bg_main="#08748c" color_txt_main="#ffffff" color_bg_highlight="#75cdde" color_txt_highlight="#ffffff" package_heading="Tourist (business/regular)" package_price="101 $" package_unit="Per day" features_font_family="font_family:Cinzel|font_call:Cinzel|variant:700" features_font_style="font-weight:700;"]estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel


Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Fortaleza is served by Pinto Martins International Airport (Telephone +55 85 3392-1234). The current terminal was opened in 1998 and extended in 2014 for the FIFA World Cup. Services here include federal police, post office, health authorities, Internet cafe, tourist information and travel agencies. The airport is located in the Serrinha district, just 7km from downtown Fortaleza.

There are flights from almost every major city in Brazil and internationally from Bogotá (Avianca Brasil), Buenos Aires (Gol), Frankfurt (Condor), Lisbon (TAP), Miami (TAM), Milan (Meridiana) and Praia (TACV). Statuses of flights can be checked online.

Allow at least an hour for immigration control if you fly in from abroad. Double it if there is another international flight shortly before yours.

From the airport to the city

There is an urban bus 404 Aeroporto/Benfica which runs frequently between the airport and the center, where you can find buses to virtually anywhere in Fortaleza (Not recommended at night). This bus also stops at the main bus station. Going to the urban beaches can either be done this way, or by crossing the parking lot(keep slightly to the right) and the highway (somewhat on your left) and catch the 027 Siqueira Papicu/Aeroporto, which will take you pretty straight toPraça Portugal/Shopping Aldeota in 25 minutes, traffic allowing. (Not recommended at night) From here you can either walk some 7 blocks alongAvenida Desembargador Moreira to the beach of Meireles, or you can wait forCircular 1 which passes within a block of most hotels in Meireles and Praia Iracema. Reverse this process (Start with Circular 2) to get to the airport, which is slightly easier as the bus then stops right in front of the terminal, and not on the highway.

There are two types of taxis, follow the signs: Airport taxis are more expensive, and have fixed prices. Most tourist areas fall within the most expensive zone, charging R$ 32,40 (R$ 48,60 on rate). Regular taxis offer just about the same comfort, and run on the meter, stopping at about R$ 25 (R$ 40 rate 2) to Praia de Iracema or Meireles. Bargaining is tough out here, but fairly easy in the opposite direction.


Transportation - Get In

By Bus

The main bus station Rodoviária João Tomé (Telephone +55 85 3230-1111) has buses to most all of the country, often via connections. Expresso Guanabara has the most extensive network from here, and also sells tickets near Beira Mar: Loc Autos, Av. Abolição 1840 and Bem Estar Tur, Rua Tabajaras 580. Note that most lines within the state of Ceará have their last coach leaving around 6-7PM. Buses to neighbouring towns, within some 100 km, often leave from the train station in the centre. Tucked into a corner of the terminal are the booths of the "cooperativas alternativas", which operate vans to many nearby destinations, including Canoa Quebrada. They may be slightly faster and cheaper than the regular buses, but also less spacious and no advance bookings accepted.

  • To Natal 8 times daily (3 of these stopping in Mossoró) by Nordeste and Guanabara R$ 35-150, 6–8 hours.
  • To Salvador daily at 7PM by Itapemirim. R$ 190. 22 hours.

Taxi to Beira Mar is about R$ 15 and 15–20 minutes. The bus 099 Siqueira - Mucuripe / Barão de Studart (on Sundays this line is substituted by 078 Siqueira - Mucuripe, bus stop around the corner) will take you the same place in around 30 minutes,right from the doorstep of the bus station! If you are heading for Praia de Iracema (or anywhere else west of Av. Barão de Studart), take two lefts from the bus station's main entrance, then cross the street, and take the bus 073 Siqueira - Praia de Iracema. The bus 404 Aeroporto - Benfica takes you to the airport in less than 15 minutes.

A second, smaller bus station Rodoviária Antônio Bezerra is in the western suburb of Antonio Bezerra(1,2 km down the road from the urban bus terminal with the same name). Most all lines here are en route between the main bus station and western Ceará (such as Jeri or Sobral. Access from Av. Desembargador Moreira by bus 076 Conjunto Ceará / Aldeota in about 40 minutes.

A third bus station, Rodoviária de Messejena is in the southern suburb of Messejana (next to the urban bus terminal with the same name), and has lines by the companies São Benedito (for Canoa), Fretcar and Expresso Guanabaramostly en route between the main bus terminal and the southern and eastern parts of Ceará.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Fortaleza is connected to the rest of Brazil by Federal Highways BR-116, BR-222, BR-020 and BR-304 plus State Highways CE-040 and CE-085. Driving in Fortaleza itself is not recommended, as the streets are mostly in a very bad shape.

Transportation - Get Around

Most tourists will not go more than 5 blocks from the sea, except for the airport and bus station, and perhaps a shopping mall. The following main streets will take you from the city centre to the fish market, by way of Dragão do Mar and the beaches Iracema and Meireles, totalling some 6 km: Avenida Almirante Barroso,Av. Beira Mar (until Rua Ildefonso Albano, where it's cut off by an artificial beach -the aterro.), Av. Historiador Raimundo Girão, Av. Beira Mar (from Av. Rui Barbosa). This last three km section of Beira Mar (literally Sea Side) is by far the most attractive part of the city, with police stands and patrols making it fairly safe around the clock, although rather deserted from midnight to dawn. The Avenida Beira Mar with its broad pavement stops at the fish market. From here to the beach of Praia do Futuro is the port area, backed by a refinery and slums. Walking here at daytime can be risky; at night, it's asking for trouble.

Transportation - Get Around

By subway

The Metrofor network consists as of January 2015 of two operational lines; the South line and the West line. Three other lines are in construction or planning. A single ticket costs R$1, for students half the price.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Like any major Brazilian city, Fortaleza can be done almost entirely by bus. Ticket price is R$ 2,40 (Sundays and a few holidays R$ 1,80), and if you get off at a terminal (there are nine such bus terminals in Fortaleza) you can change lines without paying again. But if you change buses somewhere else, you will need to buy a new ticket. Most lines run 7 days a week 0500-2300, give or take. The lines listed here, deemed most useful for tourists, will run roughly every 10 minutes daytime weekdays, frequencies perhaps halved nighttime and weekends, and down to once an hour after midnight. Only the most useful parts of the routes are described. Some lines have the number 1 or 2 after their names, only to indicate direction, others don't. I.e. the very same bus with the same number and name could be running either from A to B, or from B to A. Ask!

  • Centro/Beira Mar Caça e Pesca is comfy and air conditioned. It runs Beira Mar and all along Praia do Futuro. Returning it swaps Beira Mar for Abolição. This bus can get very packed from Praia do Futuro before sunset. Risk of muggings at Praia do Futuro bus stops after dark.
  • Circular 1/2 - runs 24 hours a day Downtown - Mercado Central - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão - Abolicão - Desembargador Moreira/Shopping Aldeota.
  • Grande Circular 1/2 - runs 24 hours a day. Downtown - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão - Abolição - Praia do Futuro - Terminal Papicu - Shopping Iguatemi.
  • Centro Iguatemi - R$ 3,00. Last bus leaves Iguatemi at 2200, does not run on Sundays. Comfy and air conditioned. City centre - Monsenhor Tabosa - Abolição - Desembargador Moreira (Shopping Aldeota), leaves you inside the Iguatemi shopping mall.

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

All 4000-odd taxis in town run on the same meter system, except the special cabs at the airport. Start price is R$ 4, then R$ 2 per km on rate 1 and R$ 3/km on rate 2. The latter is charged every day from 20:00 to 06:00, Saturdays also from 13:00 to 20:00 and all Sunday, public holidays, and the whole month of December. Waiting is charged R$ 20 per hour.

It is mandatory for taxis to display the fare system on one of the rear side windows. Do not take a cab without such a posting.

Cab drivers in Fortaleza are fairly honest, although a few will put the meter on rate 2 too often. The meter should always run unless you have fixed a price before getting into the car. Most trips that would exceed R$ 10 on the meter are negotiable, and when you pass R$ 30 on the meter a discount of up to 50% could be obtained if you bargain well. Taxi stands are abundant, but it can often prove easier to negotiate the fare if you hail one off the street.

Taxi companies

  • Cooperativa,   +55 85 3261-4181.
  • Fortaleza,   +55 85 3254-5744.

Transportation - Get Around

By moto taxi

Moto taxis, ie. motorcycles that function as taxis, can be picked up at their own stands, ask locals if you cannot find one. Depending on the traffic flow, this can be a rather scary experience. In general about half the price of a cab, starting at R$ 4 for runs up to ten blocks or so. Fares depend on company and distance.

Moto taxi companies

  • Ágil Moto e Táxi,  +55 85 3252-5555
  • Ande Cooper Moto Táxi,  +55 85 3256-1795.

Transportation - Get Around

By Rental car

Brazilian city traffic makes this option a bit frustrating for anyone who honks less than once a minute while driving back home. The city is best covered by bus and cab, but a car can make many daytrips to outlying beaches. Rental shops are virtually everywhere, and they have motorcycles for rent too. Despite huge signs claiming low prices, you will hardly end up paying less than R$ 60 for the most basic car, plus fuel. Beach buggies start at R$ 100.







Beach Worries

Don't buy anything from beach (or street) vendors. Their food is a potential hazard to your health, and most anything they sell can be had from the beach shacks at a similar price. Souvenirs and clothing is cheaper and more varied at the Feirinha or Mercado Central. Many of them will distract you and steal your belongings. And, please, don't feel sorry for the kids: The more money they can make on the street/beach, the more colleagues they will attract, and their income goes either straight to their parents or to drug dealers. The city of Fortaleza provides food and shelter for homeless kids: note the people with the high-visibility vests strolling Beira Mar. If you are sitting at a table, and really need something from a vendor — say, cigarettes — ask the waiter to do the shopping on the pavement. This will be appreciated by everyone around you.

There are a couple of locals (although they will sometimes tell you otherwise) that speak some English who approach tourists on the beaches being very helpful. In the end they are not. They want your money. Watch out!

There are two nice city beaches, Praia de Iracema and Meireles. Some people discourage bathing here, although they are mostly rated green by authorities. Iracema is often the place for large events and gatherings, in particular the new years celebrations. The whole stretch from the Ponte Metálica (aka Ponte Inglesa) pier to the fish market is paralleled by the Avenida Beira Mar, very nice for an evening stroll. A string of shacks line the beachfront, mostly good for drinking and people watching. Some of these, particularly when serving in the sand, have up to three different menus with varying prices. Sunbeds can be charged up to R$ 30 a day, although the real price is R$ 3-5. Unless otherwise stated, cross the street for food. The busiest strip (with the most expensive beer), including the bulk of beggars, prostitutes and vendors, is right in front of McDonald's, to avoid these go east of the market. A selection listed from west (Praia de Iracema) to east (Fish market):

  • Babagula, more sandwiches, playground for children. Subway is cohabiting.
  • Satéhut, Dutch run with some Indonesian on the menu. Clean toilet!
  • Veraneio, the hedges protect you!
  • Joca, Gay.
  • Beira Mar Grill, decent food.
  • Volta da Jurema, near Othon Palace. Nice sunset.
  • G2, a notch cheaper than the rest.

The most attractive urban beach is Praia do Futuro, about 5 km (unsafe to walk) from Meireles. Windy, with rather strong currents and undertows, swimming can be a challenge, but for a dip it's fine. Some 150(!) beach shacks, here a selection from north (closest to Beira Mar) to south, with their special features:

  • Marulhos. Reggae music and good food. Try the escondidinho.
  • Croco Beach. Plenty gringos. "After Beach" with live music on Sundays, sunset to eightish, no forro! Taxi drivers get a R$ 2 commission for each head they land here,get a discount on the fare!
  • Sorriso do Sol. Reggae.
  • Vira Verão. Young Brazilian crowd. If you're lucky, you'll get a table.
  • Vila Galé. Belongs to the hotel. Perhaps the neatest appearance, definitely the most expensive!
  • Chico do Carangueijo. Clean, popular, good food, specializing in crab, sometimes live music.
  • Côco Beach and Boa Vida. Mainly foreigners and their crew, live forró.

Be aware, that the slums (favelas) of the city are located next to Praia do Futuro, and that the beach may not be safe even in daytime. Nevertheless, as tourism business has grown bigger at the beach, also police presence has increased. At the very end of Praia do Futuro its name changes to Caça e Pesca. Freshwater swimming in a strong current where the river Cocó meets the ocean.


The state of Ceará has a large textile industry, and arguably the cheapest clothing in Brazil. Also the capital of hammocks, varieties of which can be found ranging from less than R$ 10 to more than R$ 100. Best place to buy is the range of small shops opposite the cathedral, city centre.

Changing cash EUR or USD into BRL is done close to interbank rates, meaning that it's better value than cash advances on credit or debit cards. Many travel agencies exchange money,you mostly get slightly better rates moving away from Beira Mar.

  • Pão de Açúcar. There is a very convenient Pão de Açúcar round-the-clock supermarket by the intersection of Av. Abolição and Av. Desembargador Moreira. Although more expensive than most other shops, it has a good selection of groceries, including many imports, and also some fresh foods. Fresh sandwiches and pizzas until 8PM.
  • Mercado São Sebastião. For a true abundance of fruits and vegetables, in addition to meat, fish and whatever else you could think of for your kitchen, visit Mercado São Sebastião, at the east end of Av. Bezerra de Menezes, 4 blocks south and 5 west of Praça José de Alencar in the centre. The earlier you arrive, the greater the variety.
  • Sebo O GeraldoRua 24 de Maio 950 (Three blocks south from Praça José de Alencar),  +55 85 3226-2557. Behind a modest façade there is a vast selection of used books, including hundreds of titles in English (although much outdated) and a little something in many other languages.About R$ 5 for a paperback.

Shopping centers

  • Shopping AldeotaAv. Dom Luiz, 500 (Praça Portugal, seven blocks from Beira Mar),  +55 85 3458-1212. 220 stores on five floors, specializing in brand clothing. Also has a cinema, a food court and covered parking.
  • Shopping Del PasseoAv. Santos Dumont, 3131 – Aldeota(near Shopping Aldeota),  +55 85 3456-5500. 85 stores, mostly domestic chains. Has a cinema.
  • Shopping Iguatemi, Av. Washington Soares, 85 - Água Fria,+55 85 3477-3560. The largest mall in Fortaleza and one of the best. Everything from C&A, to Zoompe and Lacoste. A huge 24-hour supermarket, large food court and the biggest cinema in town.
  • Via Sul ShoppingAvenida Washington Soares, 4335,  +55 85 3404-4000. Six floors of all kinds of stores from fashion, food and sports equipment to different services and entertainment.
  • North ShoppingAvenida Bezerra de Menezes, 2450 - Bairro São Gerardo+55 85 3404-3000. In the west of the city, in addition to the stores also features a cinema multiplex including one 3D auditorium.

Handicraft and markets

There are handicraft shops all around the city, but the best places to go are the Feirinha da Beira Mar (Beach front fair, daily about 4PM - 10PM) and the Mercado Central (near the cathedral). These places have a large number of stalls and shops, and competition drives prices down. On Monsenhor Tabosa street there's a street market with all kinds of goods, however beware that pirated stuff is pretty common here.

  • Centro Cultural de Artesanato do Ceará (CEART), Santos Dumont 1589,  +55 85 3131-6531. Mo-Sa 9-20. Local handicrafts cultural center
  • Centro de Turismo (CETUR), Rua Senador Pompeu, 350,  +55 85 3231-3566. Mo-Sa 7-18, Su 7-12
  • Mercado Central (Central Market), Avenida Alberto Nepomuceno, 199+55 85 3454-8586. Mo-Fr 7-18, Sa 8-16, Su 8-13. Artesanal center with over 500 vendors. Clothing, food products, books and other art are products you can find at the "Central Market".


A popular vacation destination, there is a wide variety of restaurants from steak houses (churrascarias) to pizzerias and fast food restaurants. The best concentration of restaurants in town is found in the Varjota neighbourhood, especially along Rua Frederico Borgesand its side streets, starting some five blocks inland from Beira Mar.

Fortaleza is a fishing port, so fresh seafood is readily available in the restaurants. If you are a bit more courageous, buy your shrimp/lobster/squid/whatever, straight from the fish market stalls, and hit one of the nearby shacks to fry it for you. One kilo of mid-sized shrimps is about R$ 15; R$ 3 for frying; then plenty of beers! Thursday is crab day in Fortaleza, especially in the many shacks at Praia do Futuro. If you prefer beef, there are options for a rodízio (grilled meats en masse with a big buffet of salads and side dishes; but watch out for expensive drinks and desserts in these establishments).

Northeast (Brazil) present some regional and national specialties worth trying. In addition to this, as you're in the topics it's easy to find:

  • Fresh fruits: the variety is indescribable and the prices are low. Every self respecting grocer will have at least four different types of bananas for sale. Dozens of tropical delicacies (jabuticaba, sapoti, siriguela, murici, umbu, cajarana, carambola etc. etc. etc.) are unavailable anywhere else. Go to a supermarket and check them out.
  • Suco: juice made of fresh fruits or frozen pulps. Check the stalls to have a notion of what`s best in the season.

If your accommodation has bad or no breakfast, most large hotels let you take part in theirs for about R$ 10-12.


  • Trilhos BarAvenida Bezerra de Menezes, 516. A bar also serving seafood, shrimps and crab in particular. There are occasionally also live music performances in this bar.
  • Bebelu. A local (Ceara state) fast food chain — locations all around the city. Brazilian-style sandwiches and salads.
  • Cantinho do FrangoRua Torres Câmara, 71. A place for informal dining, featuring retro decor and specializing in chicken dishes. Large servings, attentive service, air-conditioned and they also make dishes to go.
  • Carneiro do OrdonesRua Azevedo Bolão, 571 (in the Parque Araxá district). Local dishes from seafood to lamb at an affordable price. The service is reportedly fast as well.
  • BarChá da ÉguaAv. Professor Gomes de Matos, 302. A bar in the Montese district also serving food. Typical Brazilian cuisine with a large selection of beers.
  • VilanyRua Olga Barroso, 331,  +55 85 3263-5056. A simple restaurant but with fresh and delicious seafood and fish.
  • SatéhutIlha 01 Modulo 05. Located right on the beach, this restaurant is Dutch-run. It features typical Dutch and Indonesian cuisine.
  • Maciel LanchesAv. Monsenhor Tabosa 1010 (near the corner of Rua Ildefonso Albano). 10:45-13:45. For a cheap and good lunch, try Maciel Lanches. The normal mix of rice, beans, farofa and vegetables comes with some four different options, like chicken, fried or boiled beef, all fresh. At R$ 4 it includes a softdrink. Also has a few à la carte options and fresh juices.
  • Mucuripe GrillAvenida Beira Mar, 3980. Local (Cearán) cuisine. Has good feijoada.


There is bad, watery, plastic flavoured ice cream galore in Fortaleza, as elsewhere in Brazil. Try these for some good sorbet — sorvete in Portuguese:

  • Sorveteria 50 SaboresSeveral branches: At the fish market; At Nautico. Regional sorvetes, flavors like tapioca and caipirinha. R$5 for one scoop.
  • BarbarescoSeveral tiny branches around town. A sorveteria that has generally received good reviews. Also offers other snacks such as coffee and sandwiches.
  • Sorveteria Juarezav. Barão de Studart, 2023,  +55 85 3244-3848. Reportedly the best sorveteria in town.


  • Colher de PauRua Ana Bilhar 1178,  +55 85 3267-3773. A wide selection of local specialties, especially seafood. Open every day and busy during the weekend. A good place for a dinner with your special one.
  • PulcinellaRua Osvaldo Cruz, 640 - Aldeota,  +55 85 3261 3411. Mo-Th 12-15 and 18-0:30, Fr-Su 12-2. Italian restaurant with typical dishes like carpaccio, pizzas, pastas and risottos, that surprisingly also offers a selection of sushi. This restaurant has a particularly good wine selection, the staff is attentive and the ambience is nice. On the downside, some dishes are pricey.
  • Ryori Sushi LoungeAvenida Dom Luís, 1113. Japanese restaurant in the Bougainville mall. Wonderful Japanese cuisine with a range of warm and could (sushi, sashimi) dishes.
  • Churrascaria GhellerAv. Monsenhor Tabosa 825 (corner of Antonio Augusto, Praia Iracema),  +55 85 3219-3599. 13:00-late. This is arguably the best value Brazilian barbecue restaurant in the tourist area. If you are not too hungry, you can also pay R$ 22 per kilo. Tuesdays and Saturdays there's a stand-up comedian at 21:00, adding R$ 10 per person to your bill.All you can eat R$ 20.
  • Parque Recreio, Av. Rui Barbosa 2727. Brazilian-style barbecue. Open air restaurant with grilled meats and sea food. When the restaurant gets crowded, the service reportedly is very slow.
  • Hong Kong RestauranteAvenida Beira Mar, 4550. Arguably the best Sushi in Fortaleza. Also fried fish with stir fried vegetables, etc. Try the Barca - a 'boat' of fish with up to 50 pieces of your choice served on a bed of salad.
  • Bella ItaliaAvenida Almirante Barroso, 812. Italian restaurant with Italian cooks, regarded as a piece of Italy in Fortaleza. Online reviews reveal they make great pizzas. They make dishes to go as well.


  • Coco Bambu - Beira Mar (also known as Camarões), Av. Beira Mar, 3698 (Located at the waterfront.),  +55 85 3198 6000. Open for lunch and dinner every day.. Shrimp and other seafood and fish in all variations — including large dishes to share. They also have hundreds of wines to choose from.
  • Sal e BrasaAv Abolição 3500. A churrascaria, ie. a restaurant specializing in Brazilian barbecue, though they have other Brazilian specialties too, like feijoada. Both a buffet and à la carte. All you can eat R$ 49.
  • Boi PretoAv Beira Mar 2500. Part of a small chain with restaurants in some other large Brazilian cities, they offer fine dining Brazilian barbecue, also some Japanese dishes. They boast 25 kinds of meat (including some exotic choices) and a large wine sortiment. If you want to celebrate a special occasion, they have a VIP lounge too. All you can eat R$ 59.
  • Alfredo O Rei da PeixadaAvenida Beira Mar, 4616. One of the oldest restaurants in Fortaleza, specializing in traditional Cearán fish dishes. Opinions on online reviews of this restaurant are mixed — both when it comes to the food and to the service. Many dishes for two at around R$ 40, also meat.
  • La FranceRua Silva Jatahy 982, Meireles (Just off Av Desembargador Moreira, two blocks from Beira Mar),  +55 85 3242-5095. Perhaps not authentic French, but a varied menu, including escargots, and a selection of wines. Dishes for 2 at R$ 40-60.

Sights & Landmarks

Quite an effort has been put into restoring colonial architecture over the last years. Still there is no area that is completely "clean", but the stretch from the beachfront of Praia de Iracema, via Dragão do Mar and to Praça do Ferreirais steadily improving and worth a walk.

One thing worth seeing is the sunset, either from Ponte Metalica, Praia Iracema, or the beach by the fish market, Mucuripe.

Architecture and statues

Several architectural styles are represented in Fortaleza contemporary (Centro Cultural Dragão do Mar), modern (Mausoleum of Castelo Branco), classical (Museu do Ceará), neo-classical (central railway station), art deco (Cine São Luis), art noveau (Theatro José de Alencar) and neo Gothic (cathedral).

  • Theatro José de AlencarPraça José de Alencar. A theater on the south side of the eponymous square. The architectural landmark of the city, and also declared a National Historic Landmark. Finished in 1912, there are performances almost every evening. Visits every hour on the hour, except noon. R$ 4, 30 minutes.
  • Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza (Igreja da Sé), Rua Sobral 1+55 85 3231-4196. Its sooty façade gives the cathedral a somewhat brutal look. But it still has nice mosaics, and the 75m high towers and its size (its capacity is 5000 persons) are impressive. The main western façade has large windows and the sun lights up the church during the evening mass. French architect George Mounier allegedly was inspired by the Cologne cathedral. Note the 40 year span between the initial works and the inaugural mass, above the main entrance. Masses daily except Mondays.
  • EstorilRua dos Tabajaras 397, Praia de Iracema (Near Pirata Bar). This mansion, built in 1925 as Vila Morena, and later used as a casino, a restaurant(when its current name was applied) and a rather political bar, is of peculiar architecture. It was virtually rebuilt in the 90's, and is undergoing another refurbishment to be used for public cultural arrangements.
  • Mercado dos PinhõesPraça Visconde de Pelotas, Praia de Iracema(Two blocks inland from the shops at Rua Monsenhor Tabosa). This former meat market was imported piece by piece from Europe and set up in 1897. Refurbished and now used as a handicrafts fair with a variety of cultural events five days a week from Afro-Brazilian culture and art to contemporary dance and the local forró music style.
  • Ponte dos Ingleses (Metálica)Rua dos Cariris (Praia de Iracema). Construction of this pier started in 1923, but it has never functioned as a port as intended. Its sunset view is reputedly the best in the city.
  • Iracema Statue (Estátua de Iracema) (Praia de Iracema). Also known as the Guardian of Iracema, this statue was constructed to honor the author José de Alencar. The statue depicts the protagonist in his novel Iracema. Another one stands in Messejena Lake in the south of the city.
  • Seminário da Prainha. A catholic seminary with a neoclassical church from the 19th century. If you're interested in the city's local religious history or want to do some genealogical studies, this is the right place to visit.
  • Fortaleza railway station (Estação João Felipe). An all too common sight in South America; Fortaleza has a beautiful railway station... but traffic ended in 1975.

Squares and parks

  • Dragão do Mar. The square at Rua Dragão do Mar is culturally a very lively place. Several artisans are selling their work there, musicians are performing and there are several bars and restaurants with international cuisine as well as night clubs of different styles. Then there's also the cultural center, described below.
  • Praça do Ferreira (Between the streets of Floriano Peixoto, Guilherme Rocha, Major Facundo and Pedro Borges, downtown). The main city square named after the pharmacist Antônio Rodrigues Ferreira and is surrounded by stores, restaurants, a movie theater and plenty of benches. Inaugurated in 1829, it has been rebuilt several times and is surrounded by many buildings of historical importance. The square of today features a time column and a small garden, just like the original version.
  • Praça José de Alencar. Plenty of greenery and the place to catch the city's best street performers. The square, which formerly functioned as a bus station is today frequented by small market stalls and food carts. On the southern side of this square is the eponymous theater building.
  • Praça Portugal. Six blocks from Beira-Mar, this square is lined by elegant restaurants and shopping. Major public events are often held here; for instance during the FIFA World Cup 2014 Praça Portugal was one of the venues for the FIFA Fan Fest. In the Christmas season, you will find a huge Christmas tree in the middle of this square.
  • Parque Ecologico do Cocó. The Cocó Ecological Park is the city's largest green area, near the Iguatemi-mall. One of the largest urban parks in South America, it's a piece of jungle in the middle of Fortaleza and is the most important showpiece of Fortaleza's ecological heritage. The park is popular for recreation among the locals and the place for seeing some local flora and fauna without leaving the city.

Museums & Galleries

  • Museu de Arte e Cultura PopularRua Senador Pompeu 350,  +55 85 3488-7411. Located in an old prison, now the Centro de Turismo, along with a handicraft market and a tourist information. Displays many fine examples of folk art as well as boats and other cultural relics.
  • Museu do CearáRua São Paulo 51 (one block north of Pr. do Ferreira). In a late 19th-century seat of state government. Explains the history of the state of Ceará and its capital. Free.
  • Museu do Automóvel(Veteran Car Club do Brasil), Avenida Chanceler Edson Queiroz 70 (Walk some 7 blocks up Av. Cel. Miguel Dias from Shopping Iguatemi's main entrance, then turn right.),  +55 85 3273-3129. 9-12, 14-17, closed Mondays and Sunday afternoons.. Some 60 cars on display, mostly of US make, ranging from 1917 to 1995(!). Notably two funeral cars from the 30's.R$ 7.
  • Mini Siará (Museu de Miniaturas), Rua José Avelino 250 (Right off Dragão do Mar). Tue - Sat 2PM - 5PM. More cute than really interesting, this tiny museum has about 25 scale models of Fortaleza's colonial buildings, and also a couple of scale landscapes. R$ 5.
  • Dragão do Mar Cultural CenterRua Dragão do Mar 81,  +55 85 3488-8600. Opened in 1999, the center has 30,000 m2 of attractions including an art museum, a library, a cinema, a planetarium, an amphitheater, art workshops and the Culture Memorial of Ceara. The surrounding offers some of the highlights of Fortaleza's nightlife.
  • Museu da EscritaRua Dr. Walder Studart, 56,  +55 85 3244 7729. The Museum of Writing was reopened in 2012. As the name suggests, you can see typewriters from different eras, pens, feathers, cartridges and books including a collections of Bibles.

Things to do

On water

  • There is good surfing on the beaches, and frequent competitions at Praia do Futuro.
  • Chandler Surf, 411 Rua 24 de Maio,  +55 85 8803-4487, e-mail: . A surf school working at MeirelesWednesday - Sunday afternoons. R$ 17-35 an hour, including board rent.
  • Aldeia Surf School,  +55 85 9444-7496, +55 85 8610-4092, e-mail: . Offers surf lessons and surf trips every day of the week. Based at Hotel Vila Galé.
  • Kite and windsurfing are very popular in Ceará. If you aren't familiar with the sports, there are several schools on the beaches. Good conditions most of the year, with winds up to 40 knots.
  • WindzenPraia do Futuro (Next to Vira Verao). Equipment (Naish dealer) and classes. Helpful with info about out-of-town spots.
  • A couple of motorized schooners and a catamaran do 2 hour cruises along the city beaches at R$ 30 per person, setting out daily at 10:00 and 16:00 from near the Iracema-statue, where they also have their ticket booths. The latter departure is better, as you get the sunset. Bring swim-gear. Minimum of ten people required and thus it's often cancelled in the low season. Another schooner takes you all the way to Cumbuco at 09:00, lands you for lunch and has buses you back to Fortaleza before 5PM. R$ 130.
  • In addition it's possible to rent a boat with a skipper for sightseeing or fishing at your own pace.

On land

  • Beach Park (13km southeast of Fortaleza). South America's biggest water park with the world's biggest toboggan. The park also features a hotel and a concert stage.
  • The nearest golf club is in neighbouring Iguape, some 30 minutes by car from Beira Mar.


Oba has the full programme for the city's cinemas.

  • Shopping Aldeota and Shopping Del Paseo are walking distance from Beira Mar, along Av. Desembargador Moreira.
  • The largest complex is at the Iguatemi-mall, with some 12 showrooms mostly displaying the latest fare from Hollywood.
  • At Dragão do Mar rooms, you will find mostly alternative films (art, cult, history), either foreign or national [www] .

Festivals and events

Every Sunday tents are built up in Parque de Cocó offering entertainment and activities from gymnastics courses to ziplining. Ziplining is particularly popular so you should be standing in line already at 7AM. These activities and events are free of charge.

  • Ceará Music. Brazilian rock, pop and techno during three days in October by the hotel Marina Park. About R$ 40 per night.
  • Fortal. Fortaleza´s Salvador-style out-of-season carnival (allegedly the largest in Brazil) kicks off in a purpose-built area near Praia do Futuro. Direct buses from the Papicu terminal. Thursday - Saturday from dusk till dawn. End of July.
  • Vida e Arte. A range of Brazilian music and other performances. January.
  • Carnival. Although carnival here is rather dull, the city's pré-carnaval is a major happening, all the way from New Year until the real thing starts in February or March. Several venues, the most accessible at Dragão do MarSaturdays from 3PM. There's also another carnival the last week of July.
  • Gay parade. The local Gay Parade, officially named Parada pela Diversidade Sexual de Fortaleza, happens along Beira Mar on the last Sunday of June, in memory of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.


Fortaleza is a forró-stronghold. Virtually any day of the week you can find a party with live music and this traditional dance, sometimes in quite modern variations (often referred to as forró universitário). On weekends you can choose from literally dozens of places. For a more genuine, tourist-free happening, you must move towards the outskirts of the city, paying up to R$ 30 by cab.

Traditionally, Fortaleza nightspots have their dedicated day of the week, like Pirata (below) on Mondays. So, when asking around for a place to go, always be specific on when.

For daytime drinking, which can be quite a party, specially on weekends. For a non-alcoholic refreshment; grab a chilled coconut from a stall at Beira Mar, starting at R$ 2,00!


The downtown (Centro) area is surprisingly scarce on waterholes, which would be more than welcome after a hot afternoon's walking. An even more surprising exception is found in the recently (2010) refurbished park Passeio Público(officially Praça dos Mártires): A small kiosk with outdoor seating serving lunch and cold drinks. Daily until 5PM.

  • InternacionalAvenida Beira Mar 4456 (200 m from the fish market). Daily until midnight. With Belgian and Dutch owners Filip and Marco, has grown into a kind of ex-pats hangout, good food. Free WiFi. Occasional live music.
  • MucuripeTravessa Maranguape, 108,  +55 85 3254-3020. Fanciest club in town, best on Fridays. Ticket normally R$ 25-30 (everyone pays "half-price", don´t be fooled by vendors on the street that claim that its R$ 50 inside.) Be aware that foreigners with Brazilian girlfriends often are turned back at the entrance. Enter separately.
  • Forró do PirataRua dos Tabajaras, 325 (in Pirata Bar). on Mondays (in high season also on Fridays) in Praia de Iracema. A crowd of happy tourists (many domestic) dances to forró and axé music. Overpriced at R$ 35. Most large hotels have discounted tickets for their guest (and occasionally others), ask in the reception.

Praia de Iracema

The largest concentration of watering holes, very practical if you want to hit and miss and don't have a car, is at Dragão do Mar, Praia de Iracema. This area features refurbished colonial buildings, loads of open air seating, live music (sometimes charged), and happy hour beer. Fridays and Saturdays the party is everywhere:

  • Café Santa ClaraAvenida Santos Dumont, 3131. Tue-Sun 3-10PM. Excellent coffee, some extremely sweet varieties, good bites, and extreme air-conditioning in a pleasant, old-worldly setting. Slow service, though.
  • ArmazemAvenida Almirante Barroso, 444. 23-04. The biggest party in town on Wednesdays, when it attracts mostly foreign men and a fair share of working girls. Also opens on Saturdays with a more mixed crowd. Live forro on a big stage and a separate eurotechno-lounge. Entry R$ 20.
  • Órbita BarRua Dragão do Mar, 207. 20-04. Brazilian and international rock and pop cover bands. Later electronica DJs. Thursdays and Sundays(packs from 9PM) good. Mostly well off students. Entry R$ 18-23 small beer R$ 4.
  • Donna SantaRua Dragão do Mar, 308. Gay, transvestite and more.
  • Music BoxRua José Avelino, 387. Gay
  • Chope do BexigaRua Dragão do Mar, 108. Famous for its Chope de Vinho — is it wine or beer after all?
  • Bueno Amici'sRua Dragão do Mar, 80. Informal, variety of styles, most famous for its Samba! Entry R$ 10, small beer R$ 4.
  • Acervo ImaginárioRua Pessoa Anta, 194. Live music on weekends, dancing student crowd. Entry R$ 10, small beer R$ 4.

A smaller version of this can be found along Rua Norvinda Pires, and the neighbouring part of Rua Desembargador Leite Albuquerque, centering on the rock-bar Maria Bonita, pagode-neighbour Bebedouro and the more mixed style Fafi, plus a few more. Cobblestones calls for flat shoes! Thursday to Sunday.

Another area of interest is Varjota, inland from Mucuripe. Plenty of bars and restaurants. Take Rua Frei Mansueto from Beira Mar, 5-10 blocks.

  • Arre ÉguaRua Delmiro Gouveia 420, Varjota. Tuesdays and Fridays from about 8PM till late. Thoroughly decorated as a Ceará countryside joint, although the prices are nothing of the kind. Live classic forro. Good spot on Tuesdays. Mainly age 30+. Next door restaurant. Entry R$ 30.

Praia do Futuro

Many of the shacks at Praia do Futuro host parties nighttime Thursday - Sunday.

  • BirutaAvenida Zeze Diogo, 4111. Mostly electronica on Fridays.


The surroundings of the university in the south of Fortaleza hosts some popular bars:

  • Bar do PedrinhoRua Joaquim Magalhães, 182. Mo-Sa 16-. Located in the "red" district of Benfica, this is a watering hole for members of political organizations, but also university teachers, University Theater students and locals in general. They also serve food like barbecue, green beans and gizzard. Good music and clean bathroom.
  • Bar do Seu AssisRua Adolfo Herbster, 190+55 85 3283-8674. Mo-Sa 17-. Barbecue, beer and outdoor seating. The service is often slow, but on the other hand people come here to relax, not to stress. It's one of the most popular bars in the Benfica district.
  • Cantinho AcadêmicoAvenida 13 de Maio 2370 (next to the humanities faculty of the university). Mo-Sa 16-. Fairly quick service and a wide variety of snacks and meals. On the downside it's slightly more expensive than other bars in the area. On the weekend there are live music and occasionally even full-scale concerts.
  • Casa das ArtesRua Barão do Rio Branco, 2926 (near av. 13 de maio). Th-Sa 19-. Located in the Jose Bonifacio district, in this bar and lounge you have the opportunity to get behind the microphone yourself together with local artists.
  • Suvaco de CobraAvenida Gomes de Matos, 406. A small place, so go early. Beer, drinks, good food and a rustic northeast Brazilian decor. The service is unfortunately slow.

Things to know


The author José de Alencar is so important for the identity of the city of Fortaleza (and also the state), that its inhabitants are nicknamed Alencarinos. He eagerly discussed the origins of the people, languages and geographical names of the region. Most important in this context is the novel Iracema, with its renowned main character lending her name to several neighborhoods and inspiring statues around town.

In Brazil, Fortaleza is famous for the forró music and dance, and its crop of comedians. Cearenses (people born in Ceará) are also famous for their ease and fondness for a good verbal joke, from which derives a colorful and hilarious local vocabulary (e. g. a very ugly person is "a dog sucking mangoes"). Travellers with any degree of fluency in Portuguese are likely to be amazed.

Traditional folklore, a fusion of European, African and native traditions, is manifested through dances and songs unique to this region:

  • Bumba-meu-boi or Boi-Ceará - songs and dances with Luso-Iberican influence dedicated to the religious cult of the ox
  • Dança do coco - of African origin, this is a dance danced by males on the beach but elsewhere it's danced by couples
  • Torém - an indigenous dance originating among the Tremembé people
  • Maracatu - a dancing procession of African origin originally danced to honor kings
  • Violeiros, Cantadores e Emboladores - a musical manifestation, often used as a way to express social criticism
  • Reisado - an event held every Epiphany, where people go from house to house singing and dancing and receiving gifts

Safety in Fortaleza

Stay Safe

Stay safe

Even though the police are working hard to make Fortaleza safer and the city is less dangerous than it used to be, you're still in Brazil. Avoid showing valuable items in public, carrying huge bags (a plastic bag from a local supermarket can be a good substitute) and showing that you're a tourist. The tourist zone around Beira Mar is relatively safe, thanks to a constant police presence.

  • Helpful tourist police "Delegacia do Turista" at Avenida Historiador Raimundo Girao 805, phone 31012488, just byHotel Travel Iracema (formerly Othon), Praia Iracema. Some English spoken.
  • There are countless stories of single foreign men being robbed by prostitutes, apparent or not, who they take back to their rooms. Reportedly they sometimes employ a drug to knock victims out; otherwise, they just rely on your voluntarily exaggerated alcohol/drug consumption. Be aware that virtually all hotels and apartment buildings will register visitors, particularly late-night ones. As soon as you are aware of missing valuables, get the reception to pass you the data of the suspect and go straight to see the police, above. The sooner you act, the greater the chance of getting your stuff back. Money mostly evaporates instantly, though.
  • Although most commercial districts of the city are fairly safe, including the center and the tourist area around Beira Mar, pickpocketing, bag-snatching and other non-violent robberies are always a possibility. Never flash valuables and beware of beggars that keep touching you.
  • Praia do Futuro is bordered by one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in town, the Serviluz slum. Do not under any circumstances walk through deserted areas of this beach, even if you are going through them between two crowded places. Bus stops are notoriously robbery-ridden after sunset — even if it's only 5:45PM.
  • There have been a number of cases when foreigners have been detained at the airport with large amounts of drugs, particularly cocaine, on their way out of the country. The Brazilian Federal Police have been working hard: Don't even think about it!


Like it or not, Fortaleza has grown into the Brazilian gringo prostitution capital. (At least by reputation. Rio arguably wins in absolute figures.) Many foreigners, especially Europeans, fly in on charters with this as the main attraction. Unfortunately, this affects other travelers, particularly single men. Many Brazilians, including otherwise sympathetic girls, will assume you are there for "business". The main concentration is at "Happy Street" (Rua dos Tremembés), Praia de Iracema, where the clubs Forró Mambo (R$ 20), Café del Mar (R$ 15) and their immediate neighbors serve overpriced drinks. A small group of young females sitting alone at a table along Beira Mar are more than likely to be pros. Any drinking spot that attracts foreigners is bound to attract working girls; therefore, some of them try to filter the entrants, meaning that a foreign man can have trouble getting in with his Brazilian girl.

Stay healthy

If you travel west from Fortaleza, into the states of Maranhão, Pará or further, Brazilian authorities recommend that you get a yellow fever vaccination. An International Certificate of Vaccination can be issued if you have the shot taken at the airport or in the city center. If you already have your booklet, and only need a new shot and the corresponding entry, this is best done at the medical center atAvenida Antônio Justa, one block from Pão de Açúcar, weekdays 7AM to 4:30PM, free of charge.