Fortaleza is the capital of Ceara state and one of Brazil's biggest cities, with a population of 2.5 million. It's a popular seaside resort for Brazilians and is now attracting more international visitors. It is also known as one of Brazil's best party towns and has a buzzing music scene, as well as a renowned comedy circuit.
Fortaleza is famous for its urban beaches, Praia de Iracema and Praia Meireles, where you can enjoy swimming or simply lazing in the beachfront bars and people watching.
The city is known for its surfing and also kite and windsurfing. There are frequent surfing competitions, as well as schooner cruises for the less energetic.
Fortaleza has some lovely colonial architecture, with the best examples along the Praia de Iracema beachfront.
The city has some great restaurants, from beachfront shacks that will grill any food you bring, to great seafood and churrascaria meat restaurants. Head to Rua Fredrico for some of the best.
On any day of the week you will find a venue hosting a forro music and dance party. The area around Dragão do Mar is particularly lively.
Fortaleza is a year-round resort. The warm, dry months from July-November are especially good.
Pinto Martins International Airport has direct flight from Europe and North America, as well as many domestic and South American cities. The number 404 urban bus will take you into the city for R$3.50, while a taxi will cost from R$32.
Fortaleza has no passenger rail service to other Brazilian cities.
Fortaleza is easily reached from the south via route 116 and from the west by route 222. Highway 402 runs from the north.
The city is well connected by bus from other major Brazilian cities. The fare from Natal is from R$35.
Hotel Caxambu on Rua General Bezerril is close to the center and offers rooms from R$25. La Maison on Av. Des. Moreira has a convenient location and comfortable rooms from R$100.
Beira Mar - is the main tourist area on the seafront. You will find lots of hotels, bars and cafes and a good nightlife.
Varjota - is another lively area and a good place to go for the city's best restaurants.
Dragão do Mar - is also good for bars and has some of the prettiest colonial architecture in the city.
Fortaleza has an excellent bus network, with fares from R$2 and stops all across the city.
There are more than 4,000 Taxis in the city and all are metered. They charge an initial fare of R$3.62 and then around R$2.70 per mile.
Fortaleza has busy roads and driving in the city can be quite adventurous. Car rental will cost around R$60 per day.
Feirinha da Beira Mar hosts a daily market from 4pm until 10pm and is a good place to find local crafts and souvenirs. Mercado Central at the cathedral is another good market. Shopping Iguatemi is the largest mall in the city, with international fashion brands and a 24-hour supermarket.
A quart of milk in Fortaleza is priced at R$3.92, while a dozen eggs will cost R$7.83.
Maciel Lanches on Av. Monsenhor Tabosa offers basic local dishes of rice, beans and meat from around R$4. Alfredo do Peixe by the fish market has some of the best seafood in town, with mains from R$20.