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Fortaleza's Skyline is Impressive

Fortaleza, Brazil Information
Contributed by
Tom Ogg

Language and Currency
What is Fortaleza Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?

Fortaleza, Brazil Port Reviews

Language and Currency

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese and the currency is the Brazilian Real. However, U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Be sure to have an ample supply of small bills to make exact change.

What is Fortaleza like?

Fortaleza, City and Beach

With over 2 million residents, Fortaleza is a large city. It is blessed with excellent weather and fabulous beaches that go for miles in both directions. The city is designed to take advantage of its natural beaches and does an excellent job of it. However, once away from the beaches, the city is a pulsating mass of urban sprawl with traffic, noise and everything that goes with it.

What is the weather like?

Fortaleza enjoys tropical weather year around with temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees. It can be hot and sunny. Be sure to take lots of sunscreen and wear a hat and limit your time in the direct sun based on the amount of exposure that you have had prior to arriving in Fortaleza. Fortaleza receives some rain during their summer months (November through April) but can be very dry, as well.

Where does the ship dock?

Docked in Fortaleza

Cruise ships dock in the commercial port of Fortaleza. There are just limited taxis allowed into the port by the ship, so one must walk the 200 meters, or so out of the entrance to the port where the taxis are lined up. They are metered and very reasonably priced.

Where is the shopping?

The Souvenir Tables by the Ship

Right by the ship there are some souvenir tables set up with various items on them. However, don't stop here for a moment. Walk outside the port entrance, grab a taxi and tell them you want to go to Mercado Central. It will cost you about $8 to $10 US to get there.

Mercado Central

This is the main local shopping market and is an awesome experience.

What is there to buy?

Just a Few of the Shops in Mercado Central

You will find anything you are looking for in the market's five stories. Indigenous artwork, pottery, basketry, jewelry, beach items and clothes, purses, wood carvings, lace, items made from palm fronds, bamboo, vines, leather goods, embroidery, cashew nuts, really unique sand paintings in bottles (too bad they weight so much) you name it, it is here.

Looking for Some Weird Stuff?

What is there to do?

Just Some of the Mercado Central's Floors and Shops

Without question, you want to start your day by visiting the Central Market. It is simply overwhelming. I was shocked at how cool it was, especially after reading that it was nothing special.

Check Out the Diversity of Products

I am not much of a shopper and I still found the market fascinating. If you love to shop, you will probably spend your entire day here.

The Cathedral Behind the Central Market

The downtown area has some sights like the cathedral, the theater, some public buildings and such.

Downtown Fortaleza

But I found the experience less than rewarding.

Fortaleza Square

I did stumble onto one square that was somewhat interesting.

The Beach at Fortaleza

If I had it to do over again, I would visit the Central Market and then grab a taxi to Praia de Meireles.

Praia de Meireles

Praia de Meireles is in the heart of the upscale hotel district and offers wonderful beaches and beach restaurants.

Just One of the Restaurants on Praia de Meireles

There is a tiled walkway that runs the entire length of the beach from downtown all the way back to the port.

The Beach Walkway

I did just that and came to regret it because it is 11 km from the Central Market back to the ship the way that I went. It is a long and hot walk.

One of the Statutes Along the Way

However, you will be treated to some wonderful statutes along the way like this one.

Fresh Fish at the Fish Market

At the beach closest to the port there is an active fishing community and the stalls selling fresh fish were quite active.

Part of the Fortaleza Fish Market

There is a large fishing fleet that operates out of Fortaleza and they fish from unique sailing boats.

Fortaleza Fishermen (jangadeiros) on a Local Fishing Boat (jangadas)

Watching the local fisherman on their skimpy fishing boats come and go is a real treat. These fishermen go dozens of miles off shore in search of fish and stay out two or three days. They use hand lines and bring in some large fish, as you can see in the pictures of the fish market above.

Fortaleza's Lighthouse

Just outside the port entrance and to the left is the main lighthouse for Fortaleza. For an idea of how the other half lives, walk the streets that surround the lighthouse and adjacent beach.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?

Yes, I would give a visit to the Mercado Central a "don't miss" rating. It is interesting, stimulating and completely different from any other market you have ever visited.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?

Heading Out to Sea For Fish

While I didn't try one, I suspect that the little restaurants (one or two tables) that exist in the fish camps are spectacular. I saw one dish being served that was fresh Dorado (mahi-mahi) and it looked out of this world. You know it is fresh because the boats are right there and you can pick the fish you want. If you get to Fortaleza and dine at one, let us know how it was.

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