Fortaleza, Brazil isn’t exactly hot on the average tourist’s radar.  It’s beaches aren’t nearly as pristine as those of Recife/Olinda to the south, its history isn’t nearly as rich as Salvador da Bahia, and there is nowhere near the tranquility of Jericoacoara, but there is something endearing about Fortaleza.  Beyond acting as a simple stopping off point for travellers between Recife and the mouth of the Amazon River Fortaleza has a wealth of nearby beaches, interesting markets and one particularly spectacular church.  A stop for a couple days in Fortaleza is well worth your time as you cruise the coast of Brazil.

Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza, Brazil

Things to do in Fortaleza

  • The Beach:  The beach in Fortaleza is fairly attractive and there are a number of places along it to get a drink or some food.  The nearest beach is called Praia do Meireles, however outside of town Praia do Futuro is the by far the nicer of the two.
  • The Church: Right across from the central market in town you will find this impressive church with a very gothic feel.  It is very photogenic and worth a couple minutes worth of exploration.
  • Buggies: If you head to Praia do Cumbuco there is the opportunity to drive out via dune buggies to Morro Bronco.
  • Museums: Although most people come to Fortaleza for the beaches, there are also some decent museums.  The Centro Cultural Dragao do Mar is worth a visit for its art galleries, and the Museu de Arte e Cultura is great if you’re interested in folk art.
  • Markets: The central market might not be what you expect.  It looks almost like a low class shopping center, but the shops are great to pick up things like cheap clothing and nice hammocks.

Where to Eat in Fortaleza

Fortaleza isn’t exactly a culinary epicenter.  The food is fairly basic and more expensive than you’d expect.  Along the main drag in Iracema you’ll find a number of places that sell burgers, sandwiches and pizza.  Inside the Centro Cultura Dragao do Mar you’ll find more typical sit down restaurants.

Where to Stay in Fortaleza

I personally stayed in the district of Iracema, and I wouldn’t really recommend staying anywhere else.  The hostel I stayed at was called Albergue Backpackers and was easily accessed by public transport from the main bus terminal.  The hostel is fairly basic, but has nice rooms and a nice atmosphere.  The staff is also very friendly.


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