Fortaleza: Wikis


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—  Municipality  —
The Municipality of Fortaleza
From upper left: Beach Park; Traditional fishing boats; Meireles Beach and Skyscrapers; Planetarium; Central Business District.


Nickname(s): Fortal
Motto: "Fortitudine"
Fortaleza is located in Brazil
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 3°46′25″S 38°34′29″W / 3.77361°S 38.57472°W / -3.77361; -38.57472
Country  Brazil
Region Northeast
State Bandeira Estado Ceara Brasil.svg Ceará
Founded April 13, 1726
 - Mayor Luizianne Lins (PT)
 - Municipality 313.8 km2 (121.1 sq mi)
Elevation 21 m (68.9 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Municipality 2,505,552 (5th)
 Density 7,587.68/km2 (19,611/sq mi)
 Metro 3,415,455 (93rd)
Time zone BST (UTC-3)
Postal Code 60000-000
Area code(s) +55 85
HDI (2000) 0.786  – medium
Website Fortaleza, Ceará

Fortaleza (lit. "Fortress", Portuguese pronunciation: [fohtaˈlezɐ]) is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population of over 2.5 million (metropolitan region over 3.4 million), Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. It has an area of 313 square kilometres (121 sq mi) and one of the highest demographic densities in the country(8,001 per km²). To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the cities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the county of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the city of Caucaia. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses.

The current mayor is Luizianne Lins a former academic at the local Federal University of Ceará and well known feminist. On Beira-mar Avenue, kiosks and restaurants offer regional seafood, Sushi, Brazilian dishes and many more varieties of food; there are also many bars which provide anything from beer to cocktails. At the handcraft fair (the feirinha), many stands show embroidery and leather work, as well as jewelry and regional food or artisinal cachaça. Of the urban beaches in Fortaleza, Praia do Futuro is the most frequented and is characterized by restaurants along the beach, each one with its own musical style and decoration.

The statue of Iracema refers to the legend of the Indian which was depicted in a novel by José de Alencar, a famous Brazilian author who originated from Fortaleza. Mucuripe Beach holds the Lighthouse Museum. Opened in 1846, the lighthouse was active for 111 years, until it was closed in 1957. Dragão do Mar Art and Culture Center holds the Cearense Culture Memorial, the Contemporary Art Museum and Rubens de Azevedo Planetarium, as well as movies and theaters. Besides this, many old warehouses were refurbished and became bars and restaurants surrounding the central area of town. There are cuisine and show options in the evening. It is most certainly one of the trendiest places to be seen.

Nightlife includes bars, nightclubs and restaurants, open every day in the week, besides the characteristic comedy shows that have introduced nationally famous artists. An off-season carnival, Fortal, happens in Fortaleza in July. With a remodeled structure in 2008, the event has parking lots, bleachers, stalls and food court. The event lasts 4 days and around 1.5 million people enjoy the nationally famous axé music bands. Fortaleza also stages music festivals in Brazil, such as Ceará Music. This yearly event includes local artists and international pop rock stars for 3 days. Around 25 thousand people enjoy the fun and several concerts, electronic music tents, and fashion shows.

The Pinto Martins International Airport connects Fortaleza with major Brazilian cities and also operates international flights. The city is home to the Federal University of Ceará.



Fortaleza in 1910.
Passeio Público in 1919.

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 when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fortim de São Tiago in the estuary of Ceará River in 1603. Later, the Dutch occupied the Brazilian Northeast and founded the Fort Schoonenborch. When they were expelled from Ceará, the Portuguese renamed it to Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. In 1726, the town of the fort was raised to the condition of village. In 1799, the Province of Ceará was separated from the Province of Pernambuco and Fortaleza was chosen as its capital.

During the 19th century, Fortaleza consolidated as an urban center in Ceará, supported by the sprouting of cotton growing. With the increase of the direct navigational communications with Europe the Customs of Fortaleza was created in 1812. In 1824, the city became agitated with the revolutionaries of Confederation of the Equator. Between the years of 1846 and 1877, the city goes through a period of enrichment and improvement of the economic activities and urban infrastructures including the exportation of the cotton and the development of diverse workmanships, such as the creation of the 2 secondary school of 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 decades of 1870 and 1880, a period referred to as abolitionism and republican movements culminated in the release of the slaves in the Ceará, on March 25, 1884. The literary movement Spiritual Bakery appeared in 1892 and pioneered the spreading of modern ideas in literature in Brazil. Other entities of the time included the Ceará Institute and Ceara's Academy of Letters established in 1887 and 1894 respectively.

Ferreira Square in 1920.

In the twentieth century, Fortaleza underwent through big urban changes, with improvements and the rural exodus, and grows mostly happening towards the end of the decade of 1910 and becoming the seventh city in population of Brazil. In 1954, the first university of the city was created, the UFC. Between 1950 and 1960, the city achieved an economic expansion in excess of 100% and outlying neighborhoods began to grow. Towards the end of the 1970s Fortaleza began it´s emergence as the future industrial center of the Northeast with the implementation of the Industrial District of Fortaleza. During the political opening after the Military Regime, the people elected the city's first woman mayor, Maria Luíza Fontenele, and had the first city hall commanded by a left-wing party. At the end of the century, the administration of the city hall and the city underwent diverse structural changes with the opening of several avenues, hospitals, cultural spaces and it became one of the main tourist destinations of the Northeast and of Brazil.

In August 2005, Fortaleza's central bank was the location of one of the world's largest burglaries.



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 and January are the warmest months, with a high of 31 °C (88 °F) and low of 25 °C (77 °F). Rainy season goes from February to May (locally called "winter" due to the rain, not the temperature). with average annual temperature of 27 °C (81 °F). The relative humidity in the air in Fortaleza is 77% with average annual rainfall of 1,378.3 millimetres (54.26 in).

View of the city.

Generally, Fortaleza is characterized by its hotness. The city is a very hot one, making it appropriate for tanning sessions at the beach. The breeze during hot days is refreshing because wind speed in the city is generally typical of sea-side cities. The wind direction is from the sea towards the land, or from west towards east. This wind direction accompanied by ideal wind speed makes different wind activities like surfing and kite flying ideal activities in Fortaleza.

Fortaleza weather is unique in that there is usually rain during the first six months of the year, or from January to June. Expect that during this period, relative humidity is high, making Fortaleza climate extremely uncomfortable during several periods of the day. Fortaleza climate is usually very dry like summer during the months of August to December, when it is winter in other parts of the world, especially those in the northern hemisphere.

Climate data for Fortaleza
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 38
Average high °C (°F) 31
Daily mean °C (°F) 28
Average low °C (°F) 25
Record low °C (°F) 21
Precipitation cm (inches) 10
Source: Weatherbase[1]


Fortaleza has a Tropical forest. Rainforests are characterized by high rainfall, with definitions setting minimum normal annual rainfall between 2,000 millimetres (79 in) and 1,700 millimetres (67 in). The soil can be poor because high rainfall tends to leach out soluble nutrients. There are several common characteristics of tropical rainforest trees. Tropical rainforest species frequently possess one or more attributes not commonly seen in trees of higher latitudes or trees in drier conditions on the same latitude.


Panoramic picture of Fortaleza from Cocó Park.


Cocó Park.
View of Fortaleza's seaside.
Engenheiro Santana Junior Avenue.
Melkite in Fortaleza.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 3,529,000 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza. The population density was 7,587.68 inhabitants per square kilometre (19,652.0 /sq mi) (in the urban area). The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following percentage: 2,163,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (61.30%), 1,194,000 White people (33.84%), 138,000 Black people (3.91%), 21,000 Asian people (0.60%), 9,000 Amerindian people (0.25%).[2]

One of the main causes of the city's population growth throughout history was the period of droughts in the hinterland and the consequent escape to the capital city, known as rural exodus, as well as the search for better conditions of job and income. The city's population in the times of Colonial Brazil was estimated in 200 inhabitants, when Fortaleza was only an administrative unit, a village. The first discrepant point of the population growth of Fortaleza happened between 1865 and 1872 when the construction of the Railroad of Baturité was initiated. As a result of the demand for labour force, the population of the city swelled along with the economy. In 1877 another period of droughts made a great amount of homeless people migrate to Fortaleza and its outskirts. Migrations happened again during the droughts of 1888, 1900, 1915, 1932 and 1942. In these three last periods, concentration camps were set up in the hinterland to prevent the arrival of retirantes in the capital, however some surrounding districts like Pirambu and others, most of which with high demographic rates, began having their population grown due to migrations of peasants seduced by the promises of modernity in the greatest city of Ceará.

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. Parangaba itself had more than 20,000 inhabitants, probably because a railroad station was built there before Fortaleza could have one, which made it receive a great number of retirantes from the dry hinterlands.

During the years of 1964–1985 several changes took place in Fortaleza which made the city a central region for industries. Governor Virgílio Távora (1963–1966) initiated the implantation of Industrial District of Fortaleza (DIF I). One decade later, the city already had about a million inhabitants, Metropolitan areas were created Brazil (1973), making the city one of them. 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 1,308,919 inhabitants. Throughout the last decades of the 20th century the city "swelled" increasingly until its population exceeded two million inhabitants (in 2000). With a current population estimated in 2,458,545 inhabitants, Fortaleza is the 5th most populated city in Brazil, after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Brasília.


Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 79.0% 1,691,487
Protestant 12.58% 269,469
No religion 5.99% 128,190
Kardecist 0.83% 17,780
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.64% 13,758
Other religions 0.7% 15,923

Source: IBGE 2000.[3]


Cocó Park.

The Fortaleza's GDP is R$ 19 billion, arising from its diversified commerce and tourism. Downtown Fortaleza, or the Centro, is where most commercial activities happen. Avenida Monsenhor Tabosa, near Iracema Beach, is another commercial district. Among the largest shopping malls are Iguatemi, North Shopping, Aldeota, and Del Paseo. The manufacturing industry produces footwear, textiles, leather-derived items, and the extraction of minerals enhances the local economy.

Presently, Fortaleza offers wide and diversified options of spaces, which allows different kinds of events to be promoted, ranging from small business meetings to national and international congresses and fairs that receive thousands of people. The biggest and best equipped space for events available in the State of Ceará is the Convention Center in Fortaleza. Besides this one, many hotels, business centers and other establishments also offer adequate spaces for different types of gatherings. TAF Airlines has its headquarters in Fortaleza.[4]

The GDP for the city was R$ 22,537,716,000 (2006).[5]

The per capita income for the city was R$ 9,325 (2006).[6]


UECE campus.

Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.

Educational institutions

Higher education in Fortaleza is provided by a vast number of public and private institutions. Fortaleza is home to some of the most important universities and research centres in northeast Brazil.

  • Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), (public, federal, free of charge);
  • Universidade Estadual do Ceará (UECE), (public, state-owned, free of charge);
  • Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica do Ceará (CEFET-CE), (public, federal, free of charge);
  • Universidade de Fortaleza (UNIFOR), (main private university);
  • Universidade do Vale do Acaraú (Uva), (private);
  • Universidade Regional do Cariri (URCA);
  • Faculdade Farias Brito (FFB);
  • Faculdade Integrada do Ceará (FIC);
  • Faculdade 7 de Setembro (FA7);
  • Faculdades do Nordeste (FANOR);
  • Faculdade Latino-Americana de Educação (FLATED);
  • Faculdade Ateneu (FATE);
  • and many others.


João Felipe Station in Fortaleza.
Ancuri Music School in Fortaleza.

Since the end of the 19th century, the city has been home to various cultural institutions. The Instituto do Ceará (Ceará Institute) was established in 1887, and conducts research in history, geography and anthropology. The Academia Cearense de Letras (Cearense Academy of Letters) was the first institution of the sort in the country, established on August 15, 1894. In 1892, Fortaleza was the site of a cultural movement of literary expression called "Spiritual Bakery". There are many other cultural centers, such as the Banco do Nordeste Cultural Centre and the Dragão do Mar Center of Art and Culture. The folklore of Fortaleza is rich and diverse, and has roots in a mixture of beliefs originating from white colonisers and native groups. Minor, but also considered important, are Syrian-Lebanese and African traditions.

Some of the cultural manifestations are:

  • Bumba-meu-boi or Boi-Ceará: songs and dances of a religious cult to the ox, with Portuguese roots.
  • Torém: dance originated by the tremembés.
  • Violeiros, cantadores and emboladores: musical manifestations expressing social criticism, has typical northeast origins.
  • Maracatu: Dance and music, the Fortaleza maractu is of the Baque Virado or Nação lines and is celebrated during carnivals.
  • Dança do coco: originated by Afro-Brazilians. On the beach it is just for men and in the hinterland it is danced in pairs.


The Fortaleza Carnival season is famous the world over for its spectacle and display of acrobatic dance and arts performance. Through the streets of Fortaleza, the Carnaval brings the samba together with festivities as a celebration of Fortaleza's past and diverse culture. It is particularly notable for its unique style of maracatu known as maracatu cearense.

Throughout the streets of the city during the carnival season, tourists can see dancing and singing, accompanied by processions of brass bands. There are also displays and shows placed on open trucks as part of a parade travelling across the city. In areas like Avenida Beira-mar, the residents organize sessions of dancing in the streets.


View of Fortaleza's Mucuripe lighthouse.

Fortaleza is the home of numerous landmarks. They include:

  • Teatro José de Alencar;
  • Farol do Mucuripe;
  • Fortaleza's Cathedral;
  • Estátua de Iracema;
  • Forte Nan de Praire Statue;
  • Forte de Nossa Senhora da Assunção;
  • Palácio da Luz;
  • Castelão football stadium (to be remodeled for the World Cup 2014).


Feijoada is a typical food in Fortaleza and Brazil.

Brazilian cuisine includes feijoada, churrasco, rice and beans. There are some dishes that are typical of the Northeast of Brazil, such as macaxeira, tapioca, carne de sol. The best restaurants in Fortaleza in 2005, as ranked by Veja magazine, were:[7]

  • Best restaurant in Fortaleza: Alimenta Bistrô;
  • Best Regional Food: Colher de Pau;
  • Best Italian restaurant: Pulcinella;
  • Best French restaurant: Lautrec;
  • Best Japanese restaurant: Kingyo;
  • Best Pizza: Vignoli;
  • Best Beef: Santa Grelha;
  • Best Fish and Seafood: Milmar;
  • Best Feijoada: Mucuripe Grill.

Tourism and recreation

Iracema Statue in Messejana lagoon.
Beach Park near Fortaleza.

The warm climate, warm ocean waters and the sandy beaches attract tourists. In recent years, many of the old hotels have been replaced by European-owned international resorts. Nightlife is full of festivities with bars, restaurants and shows as the primary attraction. The city is known for having the "wildest Monday nights in the world"[8]. Some of the best bars and clubs are found near Dragão do Mar Center of Art and Culture. The Praia de Iracema (Iracema's beach), the first urban nuclei of the city, is home to many bars and restaurants. It includes the Ponte dos Ingleses (Bridge of the Englishmen) which is an ideal location for watching the sunset and spotting dolphins.

Fortaleza's urban beaches have warm waters. The scenery is complemented by the jangadas (small rafts used by many of Ceará's fishermen) for catching seafood for the Ceará cuisine. The Praia do Futuro (Beach of the Future) is a popular location with many beachside restaurants, built in the local style using carnauba straw and called "Barracas de Praia" (Beach Huts).

Urban beaches in Fortaleza

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. "Meireles" is where locals and tourists go to stroll, and is also the area with the highest number of hotels in Fortaleza. "Mucuripe" is the place of jangadas. 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. Also, the boat trips leave from this area. "Praia do Futuro" is about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long, and is the preferred one for bathing and surfing. Praia do Futuro was made famous by its barracas (rustic restaurants built on the beach sand).


International Airport

The passenger terminal at Fortaleza International Airport is totally air conditioned and has four levels. The basement level has parking for 1,000 cars along with automatic teller machines and a stop for regular city buses serving the airport. The ground level has 31 check-in counters, airline offices, car rental agencies, special tourist information, a juvenile court bureau to facilitate travel of minors, a Civil Aviation Department (DAC) office, information counter, passenger arrival area and access to two taxi stops. The second level contains shops, the food court and domestic and international boarding lounges. The top floor has a beer garden and panoramic deck overlooking the maneuvering apron and with a view of the Fortaleza skyline.

The apron has 152,857 square meters and can accommodate 14 aircraft at once in pre-established positions ("boxes"). The scheduled airlines operating out of Fortaleza are Cabo Verde Airlines (code-sharing with TAP), TAM, Varig, Gol, Azul Airlines, Webjet, Air Italy, Livingston, OceanAir, TAP and Delta Airlines. The airport also frequently receives domestic and international charter flights. The passenger terminal, opened in 1998, was designed to have a useful life of 50 years. The former terminal, called the General Aviation Terminal, is now used for general aviation and the fire brigade. The control tower is located alongside. Construction of a cargo terminal is the next big step planned by Infraero. The new terminal will have roughly 8,000 square meters, boosting the cargo storage and handling capacity fourfold. Plans then call for this terminal to be integrated with highway and railroad links, making it a truly intermodal system.


View of Fortaleza's BR116 entrance.

Fortaleza's road traffic is monitored and controlled by a system of intelligent semaphores, traffic cameras, and Led Light Message Boards. This system is known by the acronym CTAFOR which stands for "Controle de Tráfego em Área de Fortaleza" (Portuguese for Traffic Control of the Fortaleza Area). Streets in Fortaleza have poor pavement in many areas. One should drive carefully in order to avoid Fortaleza's many potholes.


Urban Train

Map of the Fortaleza metro.

The city's railroad system is part of the Brazilian Company of Urban Trains (CBTU) and links Fortaleza to three other cities. It is used mainly by people from distant metropolitan areas (e.g., Maracanaú), since it is rather old and poorly maintained, and does not meet the demands of inner city commuters. Therefore, a new underground system known as MetroFor has been engineered by the state government, which is expected to begin operation in 2010.


The Port of Fortaleza is an artificial port located in the Mucuripe inlet. The quay is 1,054 metres (3,458 ft) wide. It contains an exclusive-mooring platform for oil-producing. Its warehouse area is 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) wide and offers more than 100,000 square metres (1,100,000 sq ft) for container placing. It also contains two wheat mills and is interconnected to the railway system by an extensive maneuver area.

Port of Fortaleza.


Regions and Neighborhoods of Fortaleza.
Neighborhoods of Fortaleza.
Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza.
Castelo Branco Museum.
Náutico Beach.
José Alencar's House in Fortaleza.
Fortaleza in the morning.
Santos Dumont Avenue.
Sunset in Fortaleza.
Tree in Passeio Público de Fortaleza.
Atlantic Ocean and Fortaleza.
Seminário da Prainha.
Dom Luís Avenue at night.
Meireles Neighborhood.

List of neighborhoods in Fortaleza:

  • Aerolândia
  • Aeroporto
  • Alagadiço
  • Alagadiço Novo
  • Aldeota
  • Alto da Balança
  • Álvaro Weyne
  • Amadeu Furtado
  • Ancuri
  • Antônio Bezerra
  • Autran Nunes
  • Barra do Ceará
  • Barroso
  • Bela Vista
  • Benfica
  • Bom Futuro
  • Bom Jardim
  • Bom Sucesso
  • Cais do Porto
  • Cajazeiras
  • Cambeba
  • Canindezinho
  • Carlito Pamplona
  • Castelão
  • Centro
  • Cidade 2000
  • Cidade dos Funcionários
  • Coaçu
  • Cocó
  • Conjunto Ceará
  • Conjunto Cearazinho
  • Conjunto Esperança
  • Conjunto Palmeiras
  • Couto Fernandes
  • Cristo Redentor
  • Curió
  • Damas
  • Demócrito Rocha
  • Dendê
  • Dionísio Torres
  • Dias Macedo
  • Dom Lustosa
  • Dunas
  • Édson Queiroz
  • Eng Luciano Cavalcante
  • Farias Brito
  • Fátima
  • Floresta
  • Genibaú
  • Granja Lisboa
  • Granja Portugal
  • Guajeru
  • Guararapes
  • Henrique Jorge
  • Itaoca
  • Itaperi
  • Jacarecanga
  • Jangurussu
  • Jardim América
  • Jardim Cearense
  • Jardim das Oliveiras
  • Jardim Guanabara
  • Jardim Iracema
  • João XXIII
  • Joaquim Távora
  • Jóquei Clube
  • José Bonifácio
  • Lagoa Redonda
  • Manuel Sátiro
  • Maraponga
  • Mata Galinha
  • Meireles
  • Messejana
  • Mondubim
  • Monte Castelo
  • Montese
  • Moura Brasil
  • Mucuripe
  • Padre Andrade
  • Panamericano (Fortaleza)
  • Papicu
  • Parangaba
  • Parque Araxá
  • Parque Dois Irmãos
  • Parque Iracema
  • Parque Manibaú
  • Parquelândia
  • Parreão
  • Passaré
  • Paupina
  • Pedras
  • Pici
  • Pirambu
  • Praia de Iracema
  • Praia do Futuro
  • Prefeito José Válter
  • Presidente Kennedy
  • Presidente Vargas
  • Quintino Cunha
  • Rodolfo Teófilo
  • Sabiaguaba
  • Salinas
  • Santa Rosa
  • São Gerardo
  • São João do Tauapé
  • São José
  • Sapiranga
  • Serrinha
  • Siqueira
  • Varjota
  • Vicente Pinzón
  • Vila Elery
  • Vila Pery
  • Vila União
  • Vila Velha


The most popular sport in Fortaleza, like the rest of Brazil, is football (soccer). The main games of the Ceará State Championship are played in Fortaleza. There are several association football (soccer) clubs in Fortaleza. The most important ones are Ceará SC, Fortaleza EC and Ferroviário AC. Ceará Club and Fortaleza Club belong to Brazilian Football Championship's second league, while Ferroviário plays no national league this season. Fortaleza is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the host nation.

Beside Soccer, Fortaleza is also home to nautical sports. Strong winds make Praia do Futuro beach an excellent place for this kind of practice. Fortaleza commonly hosts world competitions of surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Additionally, Fortaleza is a natural brewer of high-level athletes in combat sports, as evidenced by several Fortalezans' recent success in mixed martial arts.[9] Only a 30 minutes drive from Fortaleza there is the center of Kitesurfing, Cumbuco. Great wind from June till February.[10]

Castelão Stadium in Fortaleza.

Notable people

Fortaleza Cathedral.

Sister cities

Fortaleza's sister cities are:



  1. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Fortaleza". 
  2. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) Síntese de Indicadores Sociais 2008. Fortaleza, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  3. ^ Sistema IBGE de Recuperação Automática - SIDRA
  4. ^ "TAF prepara sua expansão nacional." Gazeta Mercantil. October 7, 2007. Retrieved on November 21, 2009.
  5. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) GDP. Fortaleza, Brazil: IBGE. 2006. p. 21. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  6. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) per capita income. Fortaleza, Brazil: IBGE. 2006. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  7. ^ Best restaurants in Fortaleza
  8. ^ "Pirata and the souled-out dancers". Trace (magazine). Retrieved 2000-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Move Over Rio, Make Room for Fortaleza". MMAPredictions. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  10. ^ the largest english portal for Cumbuco
  11. ^ "Pragmatismo marca gestão de Luizianne em Fortaleza". Clipping do Ministério do Planejamento. 17 de abril de 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  12. ^ "Sister City of Miami Beach — City Commission Meeting" (PDF). City of Miami Beach. 26 de maio de 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  13. ^ "La Força Expedicionária Brasileira — F.E.B". MUSEO STORICO DI MONTESE. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  14. ^ "Lei 9083 Considera Cidade Irmã de Fortaleza a cidade de Natal" (PDF). Diário Oficial do Município de Fortaleza. 1 de junho de 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  15. ^ "Praia gemina-se com Fortaleza no seu 150º aniversário". Embaixador de Cabo Verde em Brasília. 29 de abril de 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  16. ^ "Sister Cities International". Sister Cities International. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  17. ^ "O 1º Intercâmbio Econômico e Cultural Afro-Brasileiro possibilita negócios entre Senegal e Ceará". APRECE. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 

External links

Official websites

Coordinates: 3°46′25″S 38°34′29″W / 3.7737°S 38.5748°W / -3.7737; -38.5748

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

One of Fortaleza's many monuments to Iracema, here at the very Praia de Iracema
One of Fortaleza's many monuments to Iracema, here at the very Praia de Iracema

Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Ceará state.


Fortaleza is one of the largest cities in Brazil and certainly one of the most vibrant. Temperatures range from 23-31 C with rare exceptions. July - November has virtually no rain. February - May can have its share, but mostly at night. Fairly safe for a Brazilian city this size (about 2,5 million [1]), but stay alert when wandering away from Beira Mar, especially after dark. Although quite a party town, Fortaleza itself hibernates during carnival, when any party-animal who can afford to goes to some outlying beach.

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 also known for its crop of comedians and the forró music and dance, all gaining popularity countrywide. The city is perhaps the most popular domestic package tour destination, and Europeans are following suit. Sadly, the latter comes with its share of holiday prostitution.

Several municipal tourist information [2] offices around, the most convenient being at the airport, the Central Market and Beira Mar(Half way between McDonald's and the fish market).

Get in

By air

The modern international airport Pinto Martins[3] (Telephone +55 85 3392 1200) was opened in 1998. Services here include federal police, post office, health authorities, internet cafe, tourist information and travel agencies. Airlines fly to almost every major city in Brazil and also other capitals of South America, mostly via São Paulo. Today's flights can be checked online[4].

Flights to Europe:

Other international flights:

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.

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). Going to the urban beaches can either be done this way, or by crossing the parking lot and the highway (keep slightly to the right, not recommended at night) and catch the 027 Siqueira Papicu/Aeroporto, which will take you pretty straight to Praça Portugal/Shopping Aldeota. From here you can either walk some 7 blocks along Avenida Desembargador Moreira to the beach of Meireles, or you can wait for Circular 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 2). 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.

By bus

The main bus station (Telephone +55 85 3230 1111) has buses to most all of the country, often via connections. Expresso Guanabara[12] has the most extensive network from here. Note that most lines within the state [13] of Ceara have their last coach leaving around 6-7 PM. Buses to neighbouring towns, within some 100 km, often leave from the train station in the centre.

  • To Natal 8 times daily (3 of these stopping in Mossoró) by Nordeste[14]. R$ 35-150, 6-8 hours.

Taxi to Beira Mar is about R$ 15 and 10-15 minutes. The bus 099 Siqueira - Mucuripe / Barão de Studart will take you the same place in around 25 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.

A second, much smaller bus station is in the western suburb of Antonio Bezerra. Most all lines here are en route to/from the main bus station. And a third bus station is planned in the southern suburb of Messejana.

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), 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. From the fish market, where the Avenida Beira Mar with its broad pavement stops, 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.

By subway

Many years in the planning, and quite some time under construction, always halted but budget quarrels, Metrofor promises to take you there and back in no time. Whenever it will be operational.

By bus

As any major Brazilian city, Fortaleza can be done almost entirely by bus [15]. Ticket price is R$ 1,80 (rare exceptions), and if you get off at a terminal you can change lines without paying again. 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 5-10 minutes daytime weekdays, frequencies perhaps halved nightime 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 - 24 hours!!! City center - Mercado Central - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão - Abolicão - Desembargador Moreira/Shopping Aldeota.
  • Grande Circular 1/2 - 24 hours!!! City Centre - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão - Abolição - Praia do Futuro - Terminal Papicu - Shopping Iguatemi.
  • Centro Iguatemi - R$ 2,50. 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.

By taxi

All 4000-odd taxis in town run on the same meter system [16], except the special cabs at the airport. Start price is R$3,24, then R$1,62 per km on rate 1 and R$ 2,43/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$ 16,20 per hour.

By early 2010 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 [17], but it can often prove easier to negotiate if you hail one off the street.

Average bargained prices to out-of-town-destinations:

  • Cumbuco R$ 80 return same day.
  • Canoa Quebrada R$ 150.

By moto taxi

Depending on the traffic flow, this can be a rather scary experience. In general about half the price of a cab, starting at R$ 3 for runs up to ten blocks or so.

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. 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.

Colonial façades at Dragão do Mar
Colonial façades at Dragão do Mar

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 Ferreira is steadily improving and worth a walk.

  • Praça do Ferreira is the main city square, with stores, restaurants, a movie theater and plenty of benches.
  • Praça José de Alencar has plenty of greenery and is the place to catch the city's best street performers.
  • Theatro José de Alencar[18] on the south side of the above square. The architectural landmark of the city, finished in 1912, has performances almost every evening. Visits every hour on the hour, except noon. R$ 4, 30 minutes.
  • The relatively new Dragão do Mar culture center has an art museum, a library, a cinema and surrounding nightlife.
  • Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, Rua Senador Pompeu 350, centre. 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.
  • The sunset, either from Ponte Metalica, Praia Iracema, or the beach by the fish market, Mucuripe.
  • Parque Ecologico do Cocó, the city's largest green area, near the Iguatemi-mall. No lawns, but a nice walk in the woods.
  • Cathedral, city centre. The closer you get, the worse it looks, with a parking lot and all. But it still has nice mosaics. Note the span between the initial works and the inaugural mass, above the main entrance.
  • Museu do Ceará, Rua Sao Paulo 51, one block north of Pr. do Ferreira, centre. In a late 19th-century seat of state government. Explains the history of the state of Ceará and its capital. Free entry.
  • Museu do Automóvel (Veteran Car Club do Brasil), Rua Desembargador Manuel Sales Andrade 70 (Walk some 7 blocks up Av. Cel. Miguel Dias from Shopping Iguatemi's main entrance, then turn right.), +55 85 3273 3129, [19]. 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.  edit
  • Estoril, Rua 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.  edit
  • Mercado dos Pinhões, Praça 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.  edit


The monthly listing Olheiro can befound in he receptions of most large hotels, or downloaded as .pdf[20].

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: 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 (Click Serviços On-line, then Monitoramento de Praia)[21]. The whole stretch from the Ponte Metalica (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!
  • Beira Mar Grill, decent food.
  • Volta da Jurema, near Othon Palace. Cheap, nice sunset.

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. Dozens of beach shacks, here a selection from north (closest to Beira Mar) to south, with their special features:

  • 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 and cannabis.
  • 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!
  • Côco Beach and Boa Vida. Mainly foreigners and their crew, live forro.

At the very end of Praia do Futuro its name changes to Caça e Pesca. Freshwater swimming in a strong current where the river Cocò meets the ocean.


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 (), [22]. is a surf school working at Meireles Wednesday - Sunday afternoons, R$ 10-20 an hour, including board rent.  edit

Kite and Wind Surfing

Good conditions most of the year, with winds up to 40 knots.

  • Windzen, Praia do Futuro (Next to Vira Verao), [23]. Equipment (Naish dealer) and classes. Helpful with info about out-of-town spots.  edit

Schooner cruises

A couple of motorized schooners and a catamaran do similar 2 hour cruises along the city beaches at R$ 25 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 time is better, as you get the sunset. Bring swim-gear. Minimum of ten people required- 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 5 PM. R$ 130.


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

  • Shopping Aldeota [24] and Shopping Del Paseo[25] 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 there's a more alternative selection.
  • Ceará Music[26] Brazilian rock, pop and techno during three days in October by the hotel Marina Park. About R$ 40 per night.
  • Fortal [27] Fortaleza´s Salvador-style out-of-seasonal carnival happens in a purpose-built area near Praia do Futuro on the last weekend of July.
  • Vida e Arte [28] A range of Brazilian music and other performances. January.


There are a few private lesson on offer for foreigners who want to learn Portuguese. These typically cost around R$ 20 per hour.

  • Easy to Learn language school. Rua Frei Mansueto, 1018, Meireles, Phone 3267 1622 - Portuguese private classes for foreigners are around R$ 40


Job opportunities for travellers are scarce.


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.

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 4 PM - 10 PM) and the Mercado Central[29] (Near the cathedral). These places have a large number of stalls and shops, and competition drives prices down.

  • There is a very convenient Pão de Açucar 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 8 PM.
  • 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 Geraldo, Rua 24 de Maio 950, Centro (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.  edit
  • Shopping Iguatemi[30] 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.
  • Shopping Aldeota[31] On Praça Portugal, seven blocks from Beira Mar, with a cinema.
  • Shopping Del Passeo[32] Near Shopping Aldeota, with a cinema.
  • Beco da Poeira, Praca José de Alencar, centre. This is where the street vendors stock up, and also where you can buy back your lost cell phone. "Dusty Alley" can get very crammed, -hold on to your belongings!
  • At the Passeio Público (officially Praça dos Mártires, centre) there is a Saturdays open air antiques market, 9 AM to 4 PM. Enjoy the crowds and the surrounding architecture!!


The best concentration of restaurants in town is found in the Varjota neighbourhood. Follow Rua Frei Mansueto some five blocks inland from Beira Mar.

Thursday is crab day in Fortaleza, especially in the many shacks at Praia do Futuro.

  • For a cheap and good lunch, try the place with no name at Monsenhor Tabosa 1010, in front of Amazon Rent a Car, from 1045 to 1345 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$ 3,50 it includes a softdrink. Also has a few a la carte options and fresh juices.
  • Naturalmente Jeri, (In Windzen Naish kitesurf and windsurf store - Praia do Futuro near Barraca Vira Verão), +55 85 3262 0632, [33]. Lunch and Dinner. Specialties are crepes and Açaí, also sandwiches, fruit juices, and salads. Hang out for local windsurfers and kitesurfers, especially after beach. Crepes from R$9.  edit
  • Faustino, Avenida Beira Mar (Near Rua Frei Mansueto), +55 85 3267 5348. Arguably the best in town, all dishes are house specialties. Most mains for two people at R$ 30-40.  edit
  • La France, Rua 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.  edit
  • Parque Recreio[34], Av. Rui Barbosa 2727. Open air restaurant with grilled meats, sea food and more.

Three options for a rodizio (grilled meats en masse, watch out for expensive drinks and desserts):

  • Churrascaria Gheller, Av. Monsenhor Tabosa 825, corner of Antonio Augusto, Praia Iracema, +55 85 3219 3599. 13:00-late. This is arguably the best value rodizio 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.  edit
  • Sal e Brasa, Av Abolição, [35]. All you can eat R$ 43.  edit
  • Boi Preto, Av Beira Mar, [36]. Is it worth it? All you can eat R$ 59.  edit

The state of Ceará is renowned for its seafood. Near the fish market are several restaurants:

  • Peixada do Meio. Many dishes for two at around R$ 30, also meat..  edit
  • Hong Kong 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.

If you are a bit more courageous, buy your shrimp, lobster, squid, whatever straight from the stalls, and hit one of the nearby shacks to fry it for you. One kilo of mid-sized shrimps about R$ 15, R$ 3 for frying, -then plenty of beers!

  • X da Chica, Avenida Antônio Justa (4 blocks from Pão de Açucar). Daily 4 PM till early morning. Arguably the best burgers in town. Another branch at Iguatemi Burgers R$ 4-10.  edit

There is bad, watery, plastic flavoured ice cream galore in Fortaleza, as elsewhere in Brazil. Try these for the real stuff:

  • Sorveteria 50 Sabores, Several branches: At the fish market; At Nautico. R$ 4 for two scoops.  edit
  • Barbarossa, Several tiny branches around town.  edit

If your accommodation has bad or no breakfast, most large hotels let you take part in theirs for about R$ 10-12. Tulip Inn, Av. Abolição 3340, runs its buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM! R$ 12.


Grab a chilled coconut from a stall at Beira Mar, possibly less than R$ 1!

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, see the Beaches-section.

  • Chico do Caranguejo one of many beach shacks at Praia do Futuro.
  • Mucuripe, Travessa Maranguape, 108. tel +55 85 3254 3020 [37]. 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 Pirata 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$ 30. Most large hotels have discounted tickets for their guest (and occasionally others), -ask in the reception.

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 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 Clara, Excellent coffee, good bites, and extreme air-conditioning in a pleasant setting. Slow service, though.
  • Armazem. 23-04. Good on Wednesdays, often hosts famous forró-bands. Attracts its share of working girls. Entry R$ 15.  edit
  • Órbita. 23-03. Brazilian and international rock and pop cover bands. Later electronica DJs. Packed Thursdays and Sundays(from 9 PM) good. Entry R$ 15.  edit
  • Dona Santa. Gay, transvestite and more.  edit
  • Music Box. Gay  edit
  • Havana Club. Salsa y Merengue  edit
  • Chope do Bexiga. Famous for its Chope de Vinho (Is it wine or beer after all?)  edit
  • Bueno Amici's. Informal, variety of styles, most famous for its Samba!! Entry R$ 8.  edit
  • Acervo Imaginário, Rua José Avelino. Live music on weekends, dancing student crowd. Entry R$ 10, small beer R$ 4.  edit

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

  • Biruta, Mostly electronica on Fridays.

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 Égua, Rua Delmiro Gouveia 420, Varjota, [38]. Tuesdays and Fridays from about 8 PM 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.  edit


Like it or not, Fortaleza has grown into the Brazilian prostitution capital. (At least by repuatation. 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 prostitutes. Any drinking spot that attracts foreigners, is bound to attract prostitutes, therefore some of them try to filter the entries, meaning that a foreign man can have trouble getting in with his Brazilian girl.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R$50
Mid-range R$ 50-150
Splurge Over R$150

Reservations are essential in January, when Brazilian holidaymakers pack in. September-November and March-May have room for bargaining at most posted prices. Many hotels will immediately give you 30% off.

Most hotels are on the strip Praia Iracema - Meireles - Mucuripe, parallel to Avenida Beira Mar, and up to about 4 blocks inland. Categories are spread about, but Praia Iracema has most budget options. Many cheap deals can be struck at Praia do Futuro, but be aware transport costs and lack of security at night.



Charging up to R$ 35 for a dorm bed, hostels are sometimes outpriced by cheap single rooms in the same area.

  • Albergue da Juventude Praia de Iracema, Avenida Almirante Barroso 998 (Next to the church), [39].  edit
  • Atalaia Hostel, Avenida Beira Mar 814, Praia de Iracema, +55 85 3219 1755.  edit
  • Hostel Terra da Luz, Rua Rodrigues Júnior 278 (Three blocks inland from Dragao do Mar), [40]. Also triples. Dorm bed R$ 25, single R$ 30, double R$ 50.  edit
  • Backpackers Ceará, Avendia Dom Manuel 89, Praia Iracema (Up the road from Dragão do Mar), +55 85 3091 8997. R$ 25 per person.  edit


A number of cheap options in the city centre, but the area goes seedy and unsafe at night. Unless you have a car, and can stay at Praia do Futuro, your best cost/benefit is probably along Avenida Dom Manuel, between Av. Monsenhor Tabosa and Av. Santos Dumont -just inland from Dragão do Mar. Stick to the main street after dark!

  • Hotel Passeio, Rua Dr. João Moreira 221, centre. A bit run-down. Singles around R$25.
  • Hotel Caxambu, Rua General Bezerril 22. Modern and well-equipped. Rooms with TV and A/C, singles R$ 25.
  • La Maison[41], Av. Des. Moreira 201. Small, conveniently located hotel with nice rooms and friendly staff. Singles R$100.
  • Ibis [42] Just up from Holiday Inn at Historiador Raimundo Girao. Convenient for online booking and cancelling. R$ 85 single, 109 double. Breakfast R$ 10. Wi-Fi R$ 12/day.
  • Hotel Porto Futuro[43] R$ 90 double. Av. Zeze Diogo, 7260 - Praia do futuro. tel +55 85 3265 3365 / 3263 1441, Large rooms.
  • Pousada Villa Marina, Rua Monsenhor Bruno 104, Praia de Iracema (Next to Ideal Clube), [44]. Doubles R$ 95.  edit
  • Vila Galé, Av. Dioguinho 4189, Praia do Futuro, (+55) 85 34 86 44 00, [45]. Located on the beach 15 minutes cab ride from Avenida Beira Mar. Online booking  edit
  • Hotel Marina Park, Av. Presidente Castelo Branco 400, Praia de Iracema, (+55) 40 06 95 95, [46]. Online booking  edit


A typical modern two bedroom 65 m2 flat, fully furnished and equipped 2 blocks from Beira Mar will cost around R$ 70 a day in low season, double in high. Monthly rates are about R$ 1000 low season, R$ 2000 or more peak. Mostly you have to pay electricity on top of this. Be aware that an air conditioner can set you back R$ 20 a day if you leave it running. Dozens of agencies.

Many hotels put "flat" or "residence" in their name. This mostly means that you can buy an apartment there, -typically 40-50 m2 with one bedroom and a tiny kitchen. Many of the owners will rent these out for a price substantially less than the one posted in the reception, particularly for longer terms. Monthly deals can come close to the R$ 1000 mark in low season, including linen change and cleaning. Ask the receptionsts for owners' phone numbers:

  • Praia Mansa, Avenida Abolicao 2480, Meireles (One block from McDonald's), [47].  edit
  • Flat Atlantico, Avenida Abolicao 2111, Meireles.  edit

If you go for a furnished room with a bathroom (often no fridge or a/c), referred to as a kitchenette (often spelled "Kitnet", or anything in between), you will typically be charged R$ 3-400 a month in high season. Praia Iracema has most of these.

  • 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 Pao de Acucar supermarket at Avenida Abolicao.
  • Several post offices near Beira Mar: Around the corner from the Praia Iracema grocery store; between Ideal Clube and Habib´s; a small booth almost in the sand in front of Clube Nautico; on Beira Mar near the fish market.
  • Helpful tourist police "Delegacia do Turista" at Avenida Almirante Barroso, just by Hotel Othon, Praia Iracema. Some English spoken.
  • There are countless stories of single foreign men being robbed by prostitutes, apparent or not, they take back to their rooms. Reportedly they sometimes employ a drug to knock victims out, otherwise they just rely on your voluntarily exagerrated alcohol/drug consumption. Be aware that most 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 be aware beggars that keep touching you.
  • Praia do Futuro is bordered by one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in town, the Serviluz slum. Under no circumstances walk through deserted areas of this beach, even if moving between two crowded places. Bus stops are notoriously robbery-ridden after sunset -even if it's only 5:45 PM.
  • There has been a number of cases where foreigner have been detained at the airport with large amounts of drugs, particularly cocaine, on their way out of the country. The federel police is working hard: Don't even think about it!!!

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 [48] 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 at Avenida Antonio Justa, one block from Pão de Açucar, weekdays 7 AM to 4:30 PM, free of charge.


There are plenty of laundries around. Those which charge per kg (mostly R$ 6-10) are somewhat cheaper than those which charge per garment. Your clothes are normally ready next day. There is one single self-service laundry:

  • Lav e Lev at Avenida Abolição just by the corner of Avendida Desembaragador Moreira. R$ 9,50 to wash a big load, then typically R$ 19 to dry it. Turns out cheaper, plus you have it all ready in less than 2 hours. Add R$ 1,50 per garment for ironing. Monday - Friday until 7 PM, Saturday until 2.
  • Laundromat at the corner of Av. Abolição and Rua Paulo Barros washes and dries a small load for R$ 17, ready within 24 hours, often much sooner.
  • 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.
  • For visa extensions and any other issue between a foreigner and the Polícia Federal, head to their office at Rua Paula Rodrigues 304, Bairro de Fátima, near the main bus station. Open Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 6 PM. Bus 099 Siqueira - Mucuripe / Barão de Studart to/from Avenida Abolição.
  • The joint Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish consulate, Rua Rocha Lima 371, Joaquim Tavora (Three blocks off Av. Dom Manoel), +55 85 3242 9222. At the premises of Emitrade   editBus 077 Parangaba Mucuripe to/from Avenida Abolição.
  • Museu da Cachaça, [49]. In neighboring Maranguape is the Cachaça Museum, hosted by Ypióca [50], one of the country's most widespread brands.  edit
  • Museu Senzala Negro Liberato, +55 85 3332 1116. Daily 8 AM - 5 PM. A monument of slavery and liberation, with a nearby cachaça-destillery. On the main highway just outside Redenção, some 60 km from Fortaleza R$ 2.  edit
  • The Jazz and Blues Festival[51] is a continuation of the carnival in Guaramiranga, the weekend after.

Out-of-town Beaches

Any tour agency, and a number of pushers along Beira Mar, can offer you daytrips, and longer packages, to outlying beaches. The one thing they have in common is the price, -it's fixed in between them, and it's far too expensive. If you are a group of 3-4 persons, a taxi can mostly be negotiated for less.

  • Cumbuco is a small fishing village, grown into a kite-surfers' paradise. Fresh water lakes with swimming nearby. Dune buggy tours. Horseback riding along the beach. A traditional fishing raft, Jangada, gives you a postcard view of the coastline. Buses from Avenida Abolição R$ 4,50.
  • Jericoacoara is among Brazil's finest, and hence makes its way into any global listing. Buses (changing to trucks in Jijoca)twice daily [52]from outside Praiano Palace Hotel at Beira Mar.
  • Canoa Quebrada used to be quite rustic, attracting mostly hippies. Now it's slowly growing into a resort town. Can be done as a day trip (R$ 40, many agencies), but is worth a longer stay, particularly for its weekend nightlife.
  • Some 16 km outside Fortaleza, at the beach of Porto das Dunas, is a huge water park with slides and other wet interactive fun, Beach Park [53]. Stiffly priced at R$ 90 for a day. Out of season they typically close once or twice a week, although rarely on weekends. The beach right outside the park is very nice, and although you pay nothing to walk in the sand, food and drink are 2-3 times city prices.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FORTALEZA (usually called Ceara by foreigners), a city and port of Brazil and the capital of the state of Ceara, on a crescent-shaped indentation of the coast-line immediately W. of Cape Mucuripe or Mocoripe, 72 m. from the mouth of the Ceara river, in lat. 3° 42' S., long. 38° 30' W. Pop. (1890) of the municipality, including a large rural district, 40,902. The city stands on an open sandy plain overlooking the sea, and is regularly laid out, with broad, well-paved, gas-lighted streets and numerous squares. Owing to the aridity of the climate the vegetation is less luxuriant than in most Brazilian cities. The temperature is usually high, but it is modified by the strong sea winds. Fortaleza has suffered much from epidemics of yellow-fever, small-pox and beri-beri, but the climate is considered to be healthy. A small branch of the Ceara river, called the Pajehu, traverses the city and divides it into two parts, that on its right bank being locally known as Outeiro. Fortaleza is the see of a bishopric, created in 1854, but it has no cathedral, one of its ten churches being used for that purpose. Its public buildings include the government house, legislative chambers, bishop's palace, an episcopal seminary, a lyceum (high school), Misericordia hospital, and asylums for mendicants and the insane. The custom-house stands nearer the seashore, 14 m. from the railway station in the city, with which it is connected by rail. The port is the principal outlet for the products of the state, but its anchorage is an open roadstead, one of the most dangerous on the northern coast of Brazil, and all ships are compelled to anchor well out from shore and discharge into lighters. Port improvements designed by the eminent engineer Sir John Hawkshaw have been under construction for many years, but have made very slow progress. The Baturite railway, built by the national government partly to give employment to starving refugees in times of long-continued droughts, connects the city and its port with fertile regions to the S.W., and extends to Senador Pompeu, 178 m. distant. The exports include sugar, coffee, rubber, cotton, rum, rice, beans, fruits, hides and skins.

Fortaleza had its origin in a small village adjoining a fort established at this point in early colonial times. In 1654 it took the name of Villa do Forte da Assumpcao, but it was generally spoken of as Fortaleza. In 1810 it became the capital of Ceara, and in 1823 it was raised to the dignity of a city under the title of Fortaleza da Nova Braganca.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also fortaleza



Proper noun




  1. State capital of Ceará (Brazil).


Proper noun


  1. Fortaleza

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