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Fortaleza

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===Splurge===
 
===Splurge===
  
* <sleep name="Vila Galé" alt="" address=" Av. Dioguinho 4189, Praia do Futuro" directions="" phone="(+55) 85 34 86 44 00" email=”[email protected]" fax"(+55) 85 34 86 44 30” url="http://www.vilagale.pt/pages/hoteis/?hotel=15" hours="" price="" geo="" tags=""> Located on the beach 15 minutes cab ride from Avenida Beira Mar. Online booking</sleep>
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* <sleep name="Vila Galé" alt="" address=" Av. Dioguinho 4189, Praia do Futuro" directions="" phone="(+55) 85 34 86 44 00" email=”[email protected]" fax="(+55) 85 34 86 44 30” url="http://www.vilagale.pt/pages/hoteis/?hotel=15" hours="" price="" geo="" tags=""> Located on the beach 15 minutes cab ride from Avenida Beira Mar. Online booking</sleep>
 +
* <sleep name="Hotel Marina Park" alt="" address=" Av. Presidente Castelo Branco 400, Praia de Iracema" directions="" phone="(+55) 40 06 95 95" email=”[email protected]" fax="(+55) 85 32 53 18 03” url="http://www.marinapark.com.br/" hours="" price="" geo="" tags=""> Online booking</sleep>
  
 
===Apartments===
 
===Apartments===

Revision as of 20:31, 23 January 2009

Fortaleza city

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

Understand

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[12]), 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[13] 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 (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. More direct options include:

Weekly charters to major European airports:

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.

Today's flights can be checked online[20].

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$ 29,60. Regular taxis offer just about the same comfort, and run on the meter, stopping at about R$ 25 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[21] has the most extensive network from here. Note that most lines within the state[22] of Ceara have their last coach leaving around 6-7 PM.

Taxi to Beira Mar is about R$ 15 and 10-15 minutes. The bus 078 Siqueira Mucuripe will take you the same place in around 30 minutes, -mind the direction!

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

Orientation

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, Avenida Beira Mar (until Rua Idelefonso Albano, where it's cut off by an artificial beach), Avenida Historiador Raimundo Girão, Avenida Beira Mar (from Avenida Rui Barbosa). This last section of Beira Mar (literally Sea Side), covering some three km, 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 [23]. Ticket price is R$ 1,60 (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 Caca e Pesca is comfy and air conditioned. It runs Beira Mar and all along Praia do Futuro. Returning it swaps Beira Mar for Abolicao. 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 - Dragao do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girao - Abolicao - Desembargador Moreira/Shopping Aldeota.
  • Grande Circular 1/2 - 24 hours!!! City Centre - Dragao do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girao - Abolicao - 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 - Abolicao - 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 [24], except the special cabs at the airport. Start price is R$2,96, then R$1,48 per km on rate 1 and R$ 2,22/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$ 14,80 per hour. Cab drivers in Fortaleza are fairly honest. The meter should always run unless yoy 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 [25], 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$ 140.

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 rather less than tempting for anyone that normally 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.

See

Fortaleza city
  • 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[26] 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, centre. Explains the history of the state of Ceara 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, [1]. 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.

Do

Urban Beaches

Advice: 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 Publico. 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 Monitoramente de Praia)[27]. 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):

  • Bebelu, in front of Holiday Inn. Great variety of sandwiches until wee hours.
  • Babagula, more sandwiches, playground for children.
  • Barraca da Mamma, where the Scandinavians drink.
  • 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. Windy, with rather strong current 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.

Surfing

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

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.

Deep sea game fishing

R$ 600 for a day.[28]

Cinemas

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

  • Shopping Aldeota [29] and Shopping Del Paseo[30] are walking distance from Beira Mar, along Av. Desembragador 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.

Festivals

  • Ceará Music[31] Brazilian rock, pop and techno during three days in October by the hotel Marina Park. About R$ 40 per night.
  • Fortal [32] 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 [33] A range of Brazilian music and other performances. January.
  • The Jazz and Blues Festival[34] is a continuation of the carnival in Guaramiranga, the weekend after.

Buy

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[35] (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.
  • 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.
  • Shopping Iguatemi[36] 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[37] On Praça Portugal, seven blocks from Beira Mar, with a cinema.
  • Shopping Del Passeo[38] 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!

Eat

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.
  • Cantinho do Faustino, Rua Delmiro Gouveia 1520, Varjota (Near Av. Santos Dumont), +55 85 3267 5348. Arguably the best in town, all dishes are house specialties, still quite informal. Most mains for two people at R$ 30-40.
  • 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.
  • Parque Recreio[39], 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.
  • Sal e Brasa, Av Abolição, [3]. All you can eat R$ 43.
  • Boi Preto, Av Beira Mar, [4]. Is it worth it? All you can eat R$ 59.

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..
  • 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.

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.
  • Barbarossa, Several tiny branches around town.

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.

Drink

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

In December 2008 the city council of Fortaleza followed a growing Brazilian trend by banning drinking in public, i.e. outside licensed premises. It remains to see how this will be enforced, if at all.

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 [40]. 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.
  • 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.
  • Dona Santa. Gay, transvestite and more.
  • Music Box. Gay
  • Havana Club. Salsa y Merengue
  • Chope do Bexiga. Famous for its Chope de Vinho (Is it wine or beer after all?)
  • Bueno Amici's. Informal, variety of styles, most famous for its Samba!! Entry R$ 8.

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, [5]. 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.

Prostitution

Like it or not, Fortaleza has grown into the Brazilian Gringo-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 women sitting alone at a table along Beira Mar is probably pro. Any drinking spot that attracts foreigners is bound to attract working girls, therefore some of them try to filter the entries, meaning that a foreign male can have trouble getting in with his Brazilian girl.

Sleep

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.

Budget

There are two youth hostels in Praia Iracema, both within 100 m from the church. They charge R$ 30-35 for a dorm bed, which is more expensive than the cheapest single rooms in the same area.

  • Backpackers Ceará, Avendia Dom Manuel 89, Praia Iracema (Up the road from Dragão do Mar), +55 85 3091 8997. R$ 25 per person.
  • Hotel Passeio, Rua Dr. João Moreira 221, centre. A bit run-down. Singles around R$25. Unsafe area at night.
  • Hotel Caxambu, Rua General Bezerril 22. Modern and well-equipped. Rooms with TV and A/C, singles R$ 25. Unsafe area at night.

Mid Range

  • La Maison[41], Av. Des. Moreira 201. Small, conveniently located hotel with nice rooms and friendly staff. Singles R$100.
  • Ibis[42] Just up from Holiday Inn at Historiador Raimundo Girao. Convenient for online booking and canceling. R$ 69 single, 99 double. Breakfast R$ 9.
  • 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), [6]. Doubles R$ 95.

Splurge

  • Vila Galé, Av. Dioguinho 4189, Praia do Futuro, (+55) 85 34 86 44 00 (, fax: "(+55)), [7]. Located on the beach 15 minutes cab ride from Avenida Beira Mar. Online booking
  • Hotel Marina Park, Av. Presidente Castelo Branco 400, Praia de Iracema, (+55) 40 06 95 95 (, fax: "(+55)), [8]. Online booking

Apartments

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), [9].
  • Flat Atlantico, Avenida Abolicao 2111, Meireles.

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.

Contact

  • 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.

Stay safe

  • 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 girls they take back to their rooms, the girls being apparent prostitutes or not. Reportedly they sometimes employ a drug to knock you out, otherwise they just rely on your voluntary 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 money/cell phone/camera, 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 busy commercial districts of the city, including the center and the tourist area around Beira Mar, are fairly safe, 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.

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 [44] 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.

Cope

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 mostly done at interbank rates, meaning that it's better value than most all cash advances on credit or debit cards. Many travel agencies exchange money, and there are 4 exchange bureaus on a string by McDonald´s at Av. Beira Mar, -a good place to compare rates.

  • For visa extensions and any other issue between a foreigner and the Polícia Federal, head to their office at the airport, open Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM. You should have your knees and shoulders covered to enter this office!
  • The joint British, Norwegian and Swedish consulate, Rua Rocha Lima 371, Joaquim Tavora, +55 85 3242 9222.

Get out

  • Museu da Cachaça, [10]. In neighboring Maranguape is the Cachaça Museum, hosted by Ypióca [11], one of the country's most widespread brands.
  • 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.

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 boat, Jangada, gives you a postcard view of the coastline, -R$ 10 per person, about 45 minutes. Buses from Av. 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 [45]from outside Praiano Palace Hotel in Fortaleza.
  • 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$ 35, many agencies), but is worth a night or two, 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 [46]. 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.


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!