Charlie Mason shares his experiences from the beautiful beachside city of Fortaleza, in North East Brazil.
Fortaleza is the capital of the state Ceara, located in the northeast of Brazil. Known as the land of the sun (Terra do sol in Portuguese), it offers year-round sunshine for those looking to explore one of Brazils largest cities. Whether you are looking to enjoy a vibrant beachside city or looking to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax by a beautiful beach, Fortaleza has it all to offer, with a lot fewer international tourists than other large cities such as Rio and Sao Paulo. Another great thing about Fortaleza is how accessible it is due to regular International flights direct from Europe, making it a great place to begin or end your Brazilian adventure.
Fortaleza may be one of the largest cities in Brazil, however being on the coast means beaches are plentiful. The beaches in the downtown area are full of life during the day with various markets you can explore and a pier where locals flock to in order to watch the sunset. However, just south of the city you will find Praia do Futuro, which is where you will find all the locals basking in the sun. Whether you want to stay at a beach bar and enjoy a refreshing fresh coconut or try your hand at one of the many beach sports such as surfing and beach tennis, there is plenty to do (or don’t do as the case may be).
Ceara, in general, is a great family destination. There are many family-friendly resorts located just outside of Fortaleza. However, the largest destination for families or anyone for that matter (including me) has to be the Beach Park water park. Packed full of waterslides, swimming pools, bars and my personal favourite, a lazy river, there are attractions to keep everyone happy. Also for those big kids who really want an adrenaline rush, it also plays host to the worlds tallest waterslide (41 meters with speeds up to 65mph) which I had the pleasure of being peer pressured by my group on.
Fancy getting up off your sun lounger and going for an adventure? Then arrange a day trip and head south towards Morro Branco and marvel at its fantastic landscapes. Like most places in Ceara, you won’t be far from the sand as you will be driven via a dune buggy offroad until you arrive at the start of the dunes, where you will begin walking along these amazing red cliffs which form a natural labyrinth style adventure. Once you have been taught about these amazing formations, as all good days end, you will be taken to a local beach to relax and soak up the sun.
Fortaleza is a city that knows how to have a good time. There are plenty of amazing beach bars which you can enjoy a caipirinha (or three) whilst also feasting on a seafood dish (My favourite was the crab). And if you don’t want to go back to the hotel when the sun goes down you are in luck as there are bars aplenty. Brazilians are world renowned for their parties and Fortaleza epitomizes this, whether you want to go to small intimate bars, music shows or large nightclubs which host international acts, Fortaleza has it all.
Often overlooked, the town of Fortaleza is bursting with history and attractions, new and old. Dragao do Mar, the cultural centre, has many museums to discover and whilst there be sure to stop in one of many nice bars and restaurants. Another Icon of the city is the Metropolitan Cathedral, a neo-Gothic style church which is one of the largest of its kind in Brazil. Whilst there be sure to visit the central market in which you can find a whole array of Brazilian handcrafted goods and souvenirs.