From the previous post, I went in-depth into several items of a general nature about Ceará and Fortaleza as well. So this episode will be about Fortaleza on the beach side and the following post will be about surfing in Fortaleza. There are quite a few things to do (and not to do!) and there is also a few different kinds of breaks to surf as well. From my many years of surfing, I normally hear people talk about their fear of surfing over rocks and I heard this mentioned a lot in Fortaleza. Even Diario, which is a little beach break, has an area of rocks in the corner which I will talk about in my future post as well.
Fortaleza In A Nutshell
As for Fortaleza, it is a big city so there is a lot of things to do to keep one self occupied. When you are looking for accommodations, I would find a place in the neighborhoods of Iracema or Beira Mar. Beira Mar is ground zero in tourist land and Iracema is one neighborhood north with the plus being that both are within walking distance from the beach and there are plenty of police about. Finding the surf spots that you would want to surf is going to be easy. There is a main road that runs along the beach called Avenue Beira Mar. If you keep going north on Avenue Beira Mar, you will eventually leave the tourist area and run into an industrial shipping area and that is a good thing because it will keep you away from what is around the corner and that is Titanzinho. So when you reach the end of Beira Mar-turn around!
What To Do in Beira Mar and Fortaleza
I have been in Fortaleza during several different times of the year and each time has its own personality. Most people automatically associate Brazil with Carnival but there is far more to do than visit during this time of the year. My last trip coincided with Christmas and New Years’ Eve and it was a magical time to be there. The celebration during New Years is something that one should not miss! Several weeks before the new year arrives, the construction of the concert area begins by the new jetty. By the time the big event happens, this area will be jammed with over a million people who arrive to see the spectacular fireworks and the free concert.
Another thing to do in Fortaleza is to visit the Center of Culture. The Center of Culture is not far from Iracema and one can walk there but taking a taxi is a far better idea. Once you get there, there are a few things to do. One can see a movie or visit the museum but one of the best things to do is to visit a the bar area. It is pretty relaxed and it is great to sit around the tables and drink a few drinks and eat some good food. One of the drinks to try is the mix of wine and beer…different, but really good!
In the Beira Mar area, there is also a lot going on besides the beach. Beira Mar has a lot of great restaurants and at night there is are many vendors selling clothes, art, and other items. During the day, there are several sight-seeing boats that venture out into the bay and give one a different perspective on the city.
Another place to visit is the Japanese Gardens which is across the street from the beach by the public sports area. It is a nice place to just stroll around in and to relax from the bustle of the city.
There are loads of great restaurants in the area but I am going to name off 3 due to the fact that the food is great and the price is low. The first is in Iracema and it is beachside. It is an Italian restaurant named Ai Sassi. The pizza and other Italian dishes are wonderful and you can dine with an open window so you can see the colorful people strolling by. This is great for a good laugh from time to time. Getting to Ai Sassi is simple. Coming from Beira Mar, there is an area in which the road curves off of Rua (street) Joao Cordeiro and then will become Avenida Beira Mar again. You will pass the statue and across from the new jetty is the restaurant. If you travel one block north and across the street, you will come to a street named Rua Xavier Castro. On the right side is La Massa. I can only say that if you plan to visit this restaurant, come hungry because the portions are very large. If you are looking for a nicer restaurant to eat at that will not break the bank, then Geppo’s is your place! It is in Beira Mar on the opposite side of the beach.
Next up will be all about the surf spots!