Three weeks in Fortaleza, Brazil – Part 1

Fortaleza and the beach front.

My site has been a been a tad bit slow due to my recent trip to Ceará, Brazil. I spent over three weeks in Fortaleza and I made my arrival just before Christmas and my trip went through into the new year. Overall, it was a great trip and I was able to spend a lot of time with my fiance and I also was able to surf and do other fun things.

Since my site is mainly a surf site, I will explain more about the area and the surf breaks and why one should visit this area of Brazil. I will also explain a few of my observations on traveling to Brazil in general. Just a forewarning: Some of my pics may contain my fiance and I posing in front of one of the great places to visit but I will try to not include photos of us kissing on a beach. Ha ha ha! Well, if one or two make it in then I will accept full responsibility but remember it is for the enhancement of my story!

For starters, Ceará state is in the north-east corner and one of the largest cities is Fortaleza. How big is Fortaleza? Think New York City, so one has to be in the mind-set that they are visiting a large city. Fortaleza is in a bay and I like to think of the region as either being the city beaches or the country beaches. To better explain things, at first I will break down the overall state of Ceará, then move on to the city beaches and later talk about the towns in Ceará state outside of Fortaleza. The city breaks are decent but for foreigners, the surf spots in the towns outside of Fortaleza not only offer a mellower environment but they offer the better waves as well.

Ceará as I said is in the north-east corner of the state and for the most part, the swell seems to always have a predominantly easterly component. The coast has many headlands north of Fortaleza so the swell direction plays a big factor on the size. The tide is another factor as well. Ceará loves the high tide and the fluctuation is large like in Europe. I have arrived at a beach at dead low tide to see knee-high dribblers coming in and by the time the tide filled in, the waves jumped up to head high. The tide also fills over rocks at some breaks which can transform a closed out break into a rideable one. As for the weather, it is always very warm in Ceará and you only need trunks year around. The best time for waves is during the months such as December through April when the winds are really creating some good wind swell. Due to the constant wind patterns, Ceará is a favorite for kiteboarders as well.

Another note about the region: Ceará is a favorite with tourists but Americans are extremely uncommon. Due to this, finding a person who speaks English is difficult. It would be a great idea to know at least some basic Portuguese or to know a language such as Spanish or Italian in which you can hopefully use a few phrases that are somewhat close to Portuguese. To give you an idea of how many Americans visit, for example, my fiance and I visited a great hotel (pousada) in Canoa Quebrada called the Pousada 7 Mares (7 Seas Inn) and the owner who is from Rio told us that I was only the second American that had stayed at his place. But don’t worry, there is a huge push for the citizens to learn English and the interest is high. In fact, I visited a school that teaches English and spoke to a class. Down the road, I am sure the level of English speakers is going to rise dramatically.

Finally for this installment, I will talk about the other general things about this region of Brazil. At the time of writing, the dollar is doing pretty well against the real so hotels and food are not going to be expensive. Beyond buying cheap souvenirs, buying electronics and clothes is pretty much out of the question in Brazil. The items have had so many taxes and fees added on to the price that by the time it hits the shelves it is pretty much doubled over the shelf price in the United States which is pretty rough for the citizens of Brazil. If you do find a cheap name brand shirt from a company from the United States, then more than likely it is a knock off. As far as food goes, don’t worry about that at all. My fiance and I like to visit a restaurant by her house and we get so much food that a good portion goes home with us to be eaten later. At a lot of the beaches, they have barracas too. A barraca is a structure on the beach that offers seating, shade, and food. After a good surf session, it is nice to sit down and eat some crab or shrimp before heading out again to catch more waves.

Eating crabs at a barraca

A barraca at Praia do Futuro

Next up will be getting to Ceará and the city of Fortaleza itself. I will talk about the many surf spots in the city such as Titanzinho, Diario, and Ponte Metalica.


About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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