Fortaleza is one of the most popular beach destinations in Brazil. The country’s fifth-largest city and capital of the state of Ceará has more than 13 miles (20 kilometers) of white-sand coastline. With surfing, Jet skiing, beach clubs and children’s playgrounds, Fortaleza offers plenty of reasons to spend long days by the sea. The beach isn’t Fortaleza’s only attraction; this lively city offers nightlife, museums and theaters.
Beach lovers have much to choose from. Praia do Futuro is a 4.5-mile (7-kilometer) stretch popular with swimmers and surfers. Try sand skiing down the dunes of Iguape Beach. Iracema Beach is a wide strip with the city’s largest concentration of beach bars and restaurants.
Behind the coastline is a city center of high-rise office blocks, apartments and shopping malls. Search for the remaining traces of Fortaleza’s early history. Visit the 17th-century Portuguese Forte de Nossa Senhora da Assunção after which the city took its name. Stop at the Museu do Ceará to inspect some of the thousands of artifacts that shed light on the area's history and anthropology.
Fortaleza’s nightlife is easy to find, either in the downtown area or along the beaches. Reserve seats for a play or concert at the Theatro José de Alencar. Sip on a designer cocktail at one of the open-air bars at Dragão do Mar cultural center in the Praia de Iracema area. Linger for dancing in one of the nightclubs or head back to the beach at Praia du Futuro to listen to late-night live music.
Fortaleza’s cultural and coastal attractions can be enjoyed year-round. The state of Ceará is a few degrees south of the equator and is almost always hot. To get to Fortaleza, fly into Aeroporto Internacional Pinto Martins, 4 miles (6 kilometers) south of the downtown area. Fortaleza can also be reached by bus and car from other major Brazilian cities but the distances are long. Rio de Janeiro is 1,615 miles (2,600 kilometers) south of the city.