Beaches Outside the City
In this post, I am going to speak about the breaks outside of the city of Fortaleza. One is actually just a nice beach with little surf but it a must see for a relaxing part of a trip. The second is a beach with decent surf. Due to the amount of information, I am going to just speak about these two beaches and then I will talk about two beaches to the north of Fortaleza in the next installment.
South to Canoa Quebrada
Canoa Quebrada is a town in the south of the state of Ceará that in my opinion is a must go to spot if you are visiting the north of Brazil. The town itself is very artsy and is an eclectic mix of shops, bars, and restaurants. The main road that runs through the center of town is called Broadway.
Canoa Quebrada has some great restaurants. One of my favorites is called Costa Brava.
Of course if you visit Canoa Quebrada, one must visit the beach. The beach is within walking distance of any pousada you choose to stay at. As I stated in part 1 of my series on traveling to Fortaleza; I highly recommend staying at the Pousada 7 Mares (Seven Seas Inn). http://www.pousada7mares.com/7mares-english.html If you are at Broadway Street and you want to get to the beach, you simply just keep walking east and the town ends in a circle with the church. As you continue towards the beach, you will notice deep canyons that run through the red colored dirt that stand just beyond the shoreline. Keep an eye out and you will see the stair cases you have to take to gain access to the beach.
Once you are by the shore, the area is great for swimming but not so good for surfing. I did see one late afternoon that produced a decent wave but it is few and far between here.
Another activity to enjoy is to take a ride around the dunes in a dune buggy. Dune buggies seem to be the top mode of transportation in this area and if you are walking with a load of items, do not be surprised if someone driving by gives you a lift in their dune buggy.
To get to Canoa Quebrada from Fortaleza, there are two good methods. The first is to find a tour company at Beira Mar and they will drive you there. Personally, this method is on the lame side. It takes a few hours to get to Canoa Quebrada so your time will be greatly limited. For me, the best method to get to Canoa is by bus. After finding a taxi, have them take you to the bus station in Fortaleza. Inside the bus station, there are many companies offering routes throughout Brazil. If you catch the early bus, you can be in Canoa by 11:00 a.m. Beyond that, I would recommend staying overnight or even staying a few days. That way, you get to really experience all that Canoa Quebrada has to offer.
North to Icarai
Not far from Fortaleza is the town of Icarai. Icarai has some of the better waves in the area that is close to the city. In fact, many surfers moved out to this town just to live close to the waves that break here.
Icarai is a long stretch of beach but has three distinct sections. The south end is what I labeled the “point”. It is not a point break but the beach bends out to sea and this end is extremely rocky. Then there is the middle section which is the most popular. At the far north end is the upper section. The upper section has the barracas and it is a long stretch of beach break. Just a warning, I do not know what happened at this place but it appears that once there was some kind of disaster that destroyed the city and the city fell into the sea. Ok! Maybe I am exaggerating but it would be fair to say that although the point and the center area is a beach break, please treat the breaks as if you are surfing over a reef. The issue is that scattered randomly throughout the break, there are various rocks and chunks of concrete of various sizes. It is all to easy to just stroll around and stub your toes on something that is jutting out of the bottom.
As far as the waves go, Icarai can change at the drop of a hat and that is not a bad thing. With the large tidal fluctuation, I have surfed it around waist high and breaking far off the shore for part of the day and by the high tide, it was head high and breaking closer to shore and had more meaty sections. All in all, it is a fun wave to surf and I surf out here as much as I can when in Fortaleza.
One note about Icarai. There are a few local restaurants around and if you go for a bit of a walk towards the point on the main street, you will find a few surf shops. The price of wax is around the 10 reals mark so in U.S. currency that is a little over 5 dollars a bar. You will always use warm water wax in Ceará so stock up at home and bring it to Brazil as well as anything else you will need such as a rash guard and extra leashes. Thankfully you can now get the legendary FU Surfwax in the states so you do not need to buy it in a shop in Ceará.
Next up will be the beaches of Cumbuco, Taiba, and my favorite surf spot and that is Paracuru.